Ghetto. Loud. Angry. Attitude problem. Welfare Queen. Black B#tch! Ignorant.
The list goes on and quite frankly, we've been called much worse. No one wants to be called any of these names, especially not by a white person. However, what's not cool is to alter who you are to keep from being judged.
I had my locs for a few months at the time. They were already budding and almost loc'd. Wigs were no longer a preference for me. Braids were making my head itch too much. I thought long and hard about how to style my hair so that it didn't look 'inappropriate'. I was in the military and locks were not allowed so I got creative and put my hair in two strand twists so that it looked like I just had my natural hair twisted. I went on about my day and was immediately stopped in the passageway by an African American female chief. I knew who she was so I already knew where that conversation was going to lead. So I quickly said okay, okay, because quite frankly, I didn't want to hear it. She told me as she touched my hair, "Do something to your hair. I know these are dreads, take them out!" I said okay so she'd get out my face but what the hell did I look like combing out my new born locs? What startled me even more is that this black woman- a black woman had the audacity to call me out on my hair, touch my hair and tell me it was inappropriate and that I needed to do something with it.
Way too often black women are forced to compromise themselves for the sake of the white man. Children are bullied, shamed and humiliated for having naturally coily hair. I recall as a child I even got picked on for having curves. We code-switch around non-black people. The regulations of black people begins as early as grade school with our hair, continues throughout college and eventually in the work place as well. When it comes to the way we speak, wear our hair, and dress, black people are forbid from expressing any degree of personal expression. We must compromise and reduce ourselves to fit in with whatever the standard is in that environment. Which more often than not is the standard of white people.
Imagine being white, working or going to school in a predominantly African American environment, and being forced to alter the natural texture of your hair so you could blend in with every one else. Being pressured in to changing your natural hair so that you don't stand out and bring along any unwanted attention. So that you don't look ghetto or represent your culture. Unimaginable right(white)? Well, that's what its like growing up black. We are pressured from childhood to dilute the very characteristics that represent our culture. The very culture that is often times replicated by our non-black counterparts. Oh The Irony!
Quit being ashamed of who you are and stop apologizing for our culture.
put in or restrict to an isolated or segregated area or group.
Yes, many of us did grow up in the ghetto and some of our parents may have been on welfare. However, look at the definition of ghetto. We almost didn't have a choice. Don't let Kanye fool you. Slavery was not a choice. Limitations have been put in place to keep black people isolated and 'with their own kind'. No one ever said you have to stay there.
Nevertheless growing up in the ghetto is nothing to be ashamed of. Honestly, I'm proud to say I grew up in the hood because my past does not define where I am going. Growing up in the ghetto can be rough but when you manage to get out it's honorable to say "Started from the bottom now I'm here". Living in the ghetto teaches you a lot. You learn manners. If I had to count how many times 'my bad' has gotten me out of harms way, I'd be a millionaire. How often has a white person walked past you, damn near bumped you and said excuse me.
Related Link: The Hood Taught Me How To Hustle
You learn to appreciate the little you do have. White people have this sense of entitlement that quite frankly does not grant them the amount of hustle we have. They believe everything is owed to them and should be handed to them. Lastly but definitely not least, you learn the whole concept behind poker; which is how to play the hands you're dealt. Never apologize for not allowing your past to hold you back and get ahead in the world.
According to the Urban Dictionary an angry black woman is defined as an African American female who has been exposed to many players, liars, manipulators and cheats that her original gentle loving caring, nurturing, spirit has been diminished to a blackened heart, hard exterior and bitter disposition at times to the point of no recovery.
Angry Black Woman or Mad Black Woman References:
Tyler Perry Movie - Diary of a Mad Black Woman
Now, although black women despise being called this, especially by our white counterparts. I don't exactly believe that we should get angry about it because that only keeps the pot stirring. However, realize that us as black women do have a lot to be angry about. We have justifiable and compound emotions that we are entitled to feel.
Related link: The Culture of Degrading Black Women
We aren't difficult, we just don't settle for any one's bullshit. We aren't mad, you're just disrespectful and sometimes should feel my wrath. Calling us angry is just another sad attempt to undermine our strength. Don't fall for it! Either say thank you and keep it moving or if the situation calls for it, yell if need be, neck-roll, pop your gum and let them have it. Truth is, regardless of whether you speak 'ghetto' or inteligently, if they do not agree with what you are saying, you're still angry. Never let anyone dismiss your feelings or your opinion.
Many of us don't realize that by simply altering the way we speak, the way we dress, wear our hair or present ourselves we are agreeing with anyone that says it is inappropriate. However, if someone were to ask you if something was wrong with your hair you would more than likely state that your hair is perfectly fine. So I ask, if that is the case, why change it simply because you are in the presence of those that think otherwise? You might as well go ahead and bleach your skin too. Adapting the nature of those around us is human nature; however, when you modify yourself to keep from being judged you are refuting all of the hard work of those that have come before us. Now we don't want our great ancestors to roll over in their graves now do we?
Here is the Number 1 way to Stop Apologizing For Being Black:
DO IT ANYWAY
Wear your natural hair. Do not code-switch. Express yourself through your fashion. Give your opinion. Stand up for yourself and don't hold back. This is very important for the future of our youth. By doing it anyway, we create a path for little black girls after us to not undergo the same struggles we have encountered. We grant them safe passage and real freedom of self-expression. They won't have to compromise themselves or their values. Compromising isn't easy. It requires entirely too much work and sometimes too much money. It requires nonstop self-awareness. It's like another job that ultimately doesn't benefit us or our culture.
You shouldn't have to hide who you are. No one should. Amerikkka refuses to accept Black Americans and therefore we must do something to change that. This never required changing who we are. By compromising yourself you are simply apologizing to these marginalized groups for being your authentic self. This doesn't help you to become understood nor respected. You may feel as though you will lose opportunities. Consider if every black person was authentic and represented themselves in their purest forms. We would have to be accepted. There are diversity laws put in place so that people are protected against discrimination. Yes, it happens anyway. However, the only way to change it is to change the atmosphere.
So I dare you! I challenge you to represent yourself and all of us in your truest, purest, most authentic form. I challenge you to live and love yourself out loud. Naturally, this will cause a domino effect and very soon either you will be sitting at the table or you will have your own table without compromised values. Moral of the story:
DON'T APOLOGIZE FOR BEING BLACK
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