Black is back and better than ever | Teen Ink

Black is back and better than ever

September 14, 2023
By Ramyah26 GOLD, Louisville, Kentucky
Ramyah26 GOLD, Louisville, Kentucky
12 articles 2 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
The person who falls of the bike and gets back on is stronger than the person who never falls -Unknown

         79% of African Americans say they have experienced discrimination in their lifetime. I am unfortunately part of that statistic. Anything from getting followed around stores to getting weird stares and comments like “Oh my god, can I touch your hair”. It’s Non-stop overbearing fascination or discrimination. The stereotypes that engulf my life are simply not fair. The pity stories and the blatant racism. Most of the time it’s because of others’ ignorance, but navigating the life of being Black is rough.

          I would say, like most cliché’s, I remember the first time I experienced racism. Except I don’t. I have been dealing with nasty comments and crude digs all my life. However, me telling this story is not asking for pity. This isn’t some sob story that I want someone to read and think I’m just some sad Black kid. My whole point is that that concept is stupid. We always read books about Black people being sad and growing up in a ghetto neighborhood, or even constantly hear in the media about another Black person getting killed. We never talk about Black success.

          The media comes in many different forms, I’d like to talk about my freshman summer reading book, Piecing me Together, by Renee Watson. The writing was good, and the pace was excellent, but I absolutely hated that book. It was the same Black girl pity story I have heard over and over again. The ‘African American girl goes to white school’ or ‘Black kid lives in the ghetto and has no dad’ trope gets so old. I hated this book and many others because these books never mention the many Black people who are doing great things. I want a story about a Black kid who’s just a kid. A kid whose parents are still together, or whose parents have good jobs. I love the awareness some of these books share, like teaching us about racism or single mothers, but that is not all we are. It is so much harder being Black and being portrayed like this everyday

          “I’m not racist or anything”. Another phrase I hear too often in my day-to-day life. I hear people constantly try to excuse their discrimination with a small ‘no offense’. I once had a girl come up to me and start a conversation with this. She was telling me some girls tried to call her racist for culturally appropriating. All I could think was ‘Seriously?’. She came to me, a Black person, to tell me some girls called her racist for being racist. Maybe she wanted me to tell her she wasn’t being racist, or they were wrong. Cultural appropriation is something I see on a daily basis. It makes me angry to see people steal the culture we fought so hard to have. We for years have been oppressed and shut out for our culture, and now all of a sudden, it’s the latest fashion trend! It is so difficult to sit back and watch people who are not Black get things like braids and locs. They hated it for so long, called it ‘nappy’ and ‘unprofessional’. Now people are trying to take it as their own

          Another thing many other black people hear every day, constantly even are microaggressions. People saying things like “your pretty for a Black girl” or “Is your hair real?”. Look, microaggressions make me want to be aggressive. A microaggression is any verbal, behavioral, or environmental slight that targets a bias towards a marginalized group. Now, someone who isn’t Black may not understand why someone saying certain things is offensive. News flash! Asking anyone if their hair is real, is rude! Before asking to someone’s hair, think about what is actually being said. One shouldn’t ask people things they wouldn’t say to someone else just because they are Black. Don’t even get me started on the phrase “I don’t see color”. They do see color, they’re just too ignorant to think about the fact that color matters.

          Pulling back into the topic of Black success. Why is it that the media never lets Black people be happy, and successful? I don’t mean people like Beyoncé or Obama. I mean stories about single dads striving to be a good father, or African American surgeons. There’s is Black success everywhere. We just have to look for it, and if were looking, we will find it. Think of all the people in this world who are doing so many great things. Black inventors, Black owned businesses. My own Grandmother is the most successful Black woman I know. She has started several businesses, mentored many people, and is still a mother to many people. She is so grand, and no one will see that if they are too busy worrying about the wrong things.

          I say all of this to prove my point. That most of the time it’s because of others’ ignorance, but navigating the life of being Black is rough. I did not say this to get pity or empty apologies. I say all of this to prove several points. Black people aren’t some freak show, we aren’t slow or dumb, and most definitely are very accomplished. I am Black. I am successful. I have gotten published; I have started a business and I have many goals I am going to achieve. Me being Black will not dull my achievements down in the slightest. It too took me a while to learn but I am an example of Black success and that’s something no one can take away from me.

The author's comments:

This essay stemmed from an English personal essay assignment. I just know that my voice is my biggest power. So if I can use it in my writing, I'm going to.

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