Black and Proud

In honor of black history month I wanted to do something different. For those of you who don’t know I am Nigerian American. Thus, I am a black woman. I want to talk about what it means to be a black woman. Being a black woman in this society can sometimes be quite difficult. Though as a nation we are far from the days of segregation and high racial intensity. Nonetheless, racism still exists in this country. The racial discrepancies of this nation are just much more subdued. For example, I live in the south and the racial tension that I have experienced is quite evident. I have been accused of theft at a local Walgreens. Teachers have asked me why can’t my name “Abisola”, can’t be more normal. (It is a traditional Nigerian name) I have been asked and talked negatively about for my natural hair texture. (I have been “natural” for a couple of years now) There are so many more little scenarios that I have experienced in which bring about racial slurs. Being black can be challenging in a society that emphasizes eurocentric style of living. However, I am black and proud. There are so many accomplishments that black people have won over the years. Our very president is a black man. That was a major feat for us as a nation. I will definitely miss president Obama after this year’s election. Apart from the current day black people have contributed so many things to this nation historically. So many inventions that we use today are made from black individuals. Continually black people have established so many things when it comes to pop culture. Despite this, black people are still underestimated. In the Oscars this year there is literally little to none representation of black people. It is quite sad. Black Hollywood is so limited. In fact, the roles for black people continually are reserved for “the best friend role” or “the sassy coworker”. When will we get to the point in society where there is more diversity and prestige for black individuals in the film industry? For me, being black is reflected through a combination of my Nigerian culture and American culture. I am literally African American. My Nigerian culture is represented in the food that I eat. It is reflected in my language. (I speak a Nigerian dialect called Yoruba) It is also displayed in my mannerisms and view of my life. My culture is so important to me. That is why I am so against the appropriation of black culture. This seems to be a trend nowadays. This trend is sickening. Women are getting lip and butt injections. “Black hairstyles” are being replicated amongst people of other races. “Black culture” in itself is being infiltrated, changed, and mocked. Even twerking which is traditional amongst many African cultural dances, has been exploited. I don’t mind the flattery, but the mass exploitation is just not something that can fly. Its important for black people to embrace who they are. Colorism is still an issue prevalent today. As mentioned before we live in a eurocentric world. This means that the standards of beauty are often based on European principles. For black people, especially women this translates to light skinned blacks being more appealing than dark skinned blacks in society. Even amongst other black people this is quite prominent. Certain black men say that they only favor light skinned girls. Light skinned girls are often the only black representation in media. As a dark skinned woman, I know that despite these tendencies that I should love my black. People like Lupita Nyongo have definitely paved the way for the dark skinned woman in media. Every shade of black is beautiful. The last thing that I will discuss is the prevalence of racial prejudice crime. From Travon Martin, to Mike Brown, to Tamir Rice, it seems like race related crimes is the new trend. Its pretty scary to think that I might have a black son one day that is judged for being black. While there are protests against these hate crimes, all we can really do is hope. All we can do is hope and pray that a change will come. Its also important to educate others on racism and black culture in general. When people become more open and are not ignorant to black culture, they will respect it and there will be less hate crimes. Well that’s all that I have for today. Thanks for reading.

Sincerely,
Abisola