2016 was a great year because it allowed me to discover more about myself and the world around me. 2016 was a terrible year because it allowed me to discover more about myself and the world around me.
Sometimes I catch myself and realize that I’m falling into a cycle. A bad one.
I didn’t really want to add to the all the post-election noise. Everyone has an opinion and everyone’s opinion matters and no one has been silent about how they feel. Okay regardless of whether or not I actually believe that everyone’s opinion matters, I have finally calmed down enough to organize my thoughts about this whole thing.
Why are so many of the mainstream examples of black women negative ones?Why don’t we have reality shows that exhibit the women as they embark on new career paths or attend college?We are constantly bombarded with casts full of women people describe as “ratchet”,”ghetto”, or a number of other derogatory words. It’s disappointing, it’s demeaning and I hate that this is a central part of pop culture.
So I think I’ve been in denial about how much time I waste using technology. Okay, when I phrase it that way, it sounds as if I’m a techie creating an app or something but no, no I just mean I have an unhealthy addiction to my phone. It’s with me all day, every single day and while I can argue that “I might need it for emergencies!” or something else, in the entire span of 7 years since I got my first phone and the problem officially started, I’ve only had actual emergencies a couple of times. So it’s clear that this excuse is just being used to justify a problem.
I’ve spent a lot of time recently comparing my life and my interests to the other interests and forms of expression that are ‘accepted’ within the black community. Over the years, I’ve been bombarded with comments on ‘blackness’ and I’m left trying to decipher what that really means.
As the fourth of July holiday week came to a close, we were unfortunately gifted with the latest round of unjust police shootings. It’s no longer news when we hear about another unarmed black man being murdered by a police officer.In fact, it happens so often that we fall into a cyclical pattern each time we hear of a new victim. Hashtags, outrage,protests,silence,repeat. Despite the steps that are taken to incite change and reform, we are never given the results we desire, thus continuing on the pattern we are forced to relive every few months or so. However, this time, things feel different. Something about these events and the public’s reaction has sparked something that we, or at least I,haven’t seen before. It’s exciting and almost indescribable.
Stereotypes are so heavily ingrained in our society that it is almost impossible to escape them and often even harder to avoid perpetuating them. Some of us unconsciously promote negative opinions or feelings towards the people with different genders,sexual orientations, or other races without attempting to actively do so. Most stereotypes were created as a way to dehumanize or humiliate certain aspects about specific groups of people, and while we are able to realize the error in this, somehow we have still allowed these negative depictions to live and thrive throughout several generations.
You sit in history class patiently waiting for the teacher to begin the lesson, feeling carefree with a small glimmer of anticipation because you love learning new things. Your teacher walks to the front of the room and says something along the lines of “Let’s talk about slavery”. You feel the hair on your arms and the back of your neck slowly begin to rise, one’syour heart gives off a nervous flutter and your eyes remain trained on the wall, the floor or the ceiling. Anything except the eyes of the twenty white faces that have all turned to you, now patiently waiting for a reaction from you.
If you’ve ever been the only black kid in class ones for you.
In my AP Lang class, we were given the option to pick any topic we wanted and prepare a speech/presentation centered on it. TED Talk style, and if you don’t know what a TED talk is, think of it as an opportunity for people of different backgrounds and professions to give information about subjects important to them. There’s more to it than that, but just bear with me.