Check out another one of my Sigma sorors, Felicia Williams, response to how she makes herself visible as a Womon/Black.
In order to be visible to others, I must first be visible to myself. Figuring out who I am is an ongoing journey, a journey that will forever impact my visibility to others.
I must accept who I am, then love who I am, so I can be who I am.
I am a black woman born to a white woman and black man. Growing up I often felt different and out of place. Dare I say I felt without a place? Just a thought.
I often found that I did not have enough color for some black people, yet I had too much color for some white people. I just was…
My mom did the best she could, but the reality is she was a white woman raising black girls in a predominantly white city. She did not, however, use that as an excuse to help us identify as black women. So she did what she could. We went to predominantly black churches, we participated in activities at the community center near our house, and we had more black “family members” than white family members. She did what she could to help us establish our identity as black women, even at the expense of a relationship with her own family.
My desire to be visible started in elementary. I liked recognition, so I worked to be recognized in school. Color was an issue but not a huge one in my opinion even though there were less than a handful of black students at my elementary school. Grades were something I could work for and attain. I determined whether or not I got an A, B, or C. It wasn’t my skin color that made the grade; it was me.
All through junior high I worked to be visible in academics, but it was in high school that I started to find my visibility as a black woman. It wasn’t always easy. As I stated, there were those black people who didn’t like or accept me because of the shade of my skin, but there were more, in my opinion, who didn’t accept me because many said I “acted white.” Now, to be clear, “acting white” was defined by many as speaking or acting a certain way and some even saw getting good grades as a way to “act white.” What they failed to realize, however, is that I worked for those grades and spoke that way because of who I was not because of the color of my skin. My skin color did not dictate how I spoke nor did it determine my grades. I learned that in order to view myself as a black woman, I had to accept who I was for me and no one else. I was not going to change who I was in order to gain acceptance from someone else. I had to live the life given to me, and they could live the life given to them.
As I said, in order to be visible to others, I must first be visible to myself. Figuring out who I am is may have started back in elementary and picked up speed in high school and college, but in the end the quest for visibility is an ongoing journey.