I knew that my life would be forever changed once I became a mother, but I had no idea of how deep it would be. Being a parent has changed me and expanded my whole perspective on life due to this new role. I am black and race is a part of my everyday life whether it is by my state of being me or stemming from someone else bringing my blackness to the forefront. I knew that I would have to address race, ethnicity and class with my son throughout his life but I did not foresee new issues arising for myself. Yes, I guess it was short-sighted to think that I would have seen the majority of significant racial conflicts that would have crossed my path after 35 years of living but I have experienced a lot.
I am black. I am a woman. I am a black woman. Those are three different things. Truly. Plus they are all things that you can see on sight. They bring different responsibilities and varied challenges. I’m okay with that. Well of course it’s permanent, but I am still really okay with that.
I do not speak for all black women, I do not speak for all black people or all women, athletes, Brooklynites, those under 5’6″, right-handers, etc.
It’s tiring to always represent your race or gender, but I have been successful at it and am happy to do it well, which I hope is most of the time.
Sometimes, I am the first black woman that someone has interacted with, dated or developed a friendship with. At times, I am that “one” that surprised you. And there are times where it doesn’t matter who or what I am, because you knew who I was the instant you saw me.
I love me for all that I have experienced. I wanted to be as tough and strong as my dad and show that I was cut from the same cloth. I wanted to show some that I can do as much as they can and surpass them (I am competitive — very). I wanted to suffocate the hate and doubt that I saw in people’s eyes by my performance and fair conduct with others. I wanted the hateful doubters to either learn from me or be vexed.