Narratives can illuminate how, in an individual life, different dominant ideologies and power relations in society are maintained, reproduced, or subverted. When we examine society through the lens of the individual, we can better understand society and our ability to improve it!
So I think I felt like being Black made me invisible, and that’s what their definition was. That my problems were not problems…it kind of made me invisible.
Somebody should have fought for me…
I’m supposed to be able to come to school and figure out who I am and maybe teach somebody who they are experientially, but it’s not my job to sit up here and be the living, breathing African American studies curriculum.
Where am I? What am I supposed to be doing? What am I supposed to be wearing? And if one more person tells me how well I speak, I’m going to lose my mind.
You don’t completely fit in to your urban area anymore, because then you’re – I guess you’re different to your friends back home…Yeah. So you’re kind of like out there in the middle.
It’s a funny economy at XX in terms of negotiating your self worth, because there were some kids whose self worth was completely predicated on their parents’ wealth. There are other kids whose self worth was completely predicated on athletic ability. So you had several forms of currency being traded, and I didn’t have any. I’m broke. I didn’t really have anything of apparent value in those markets.
It is important to realize that you’re not a victim and not being a victim empowers us to make demands and to feel our power in a place, as opposed to feeling like a victim. You can’t make it through that without some kind of belief in who I am and what I can do. It may take you a while to realize it, to have the awareness and the presence of mind to articulate it, but it’s in there; otherwise, you’re squashed.
Rough. It was rough. It was rough, rough, rough, rough because there was a part of me that wanted to fit in. And lot of it was reactionary because I didn’t. So it was like, “Well, I don’t fit in, I’m not going to fit in. You don’t want to be my friend? Fine, but you’re going to see me.” It’s hard enough growing up in a Black neighborhood as a Black woman and growing into your body and appreciating your hair and not considering yourself ugly and growing up with a color complex. It’s exponentially harder, I think, to do that in an environment where nobody looks like you.