Being A Black Woman In America
Written By Zaina Cummins
Black History Month is an annual observance originating in the United States, where it is also known as African-American History Month. It has received official recognition from governments in the United States and Canada, and more recently has been observed in Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
As a young African-American woman, I have grown up succeeding against all odds. I’ve had many people tell me I wouldn’t be anything, I had many people tell my mother that I would not be anything.
Just imagine being a five-year-old little black girl whose main focus is to play with barbie dolls and make mud cakes, and her mother is preparing her to take the world by storm at the same time.
And I did just that.
In America, white people have a habit of telling black people what they are going to be and how they should live their life. Everything we do gets observed. The way we eat, look, how we wear our hair, walk, sound, drive; everything we do is being paid attention to one way or another.
Out of all my 22 years of living, every racial slur that has been directed towards me will never be forgotten. The face, the tone, the name, the eyes that even said it, replay in my head almost every day.
I know you’re probably thinking, ‘Zaina why would you want to remember any of those things?’
Remembering is just as important as forgetting. Every time I accomplish something, big or small, I replay those slurs and faces in my head to constantly remind myself that I am not who people say I am; I am what I say I am. I am what God says I am.
You must work twice as hard being a black woman in America. Whether that’s being more cautious of the things you do or say, being more aware of your surroundings, or even fixing your hair and making your tone a certain way to get the job, the moment you step foot out the door is when your 9 to 5 begins.
The world does not shift without black creativity. The world does not shift without black women. This doesn’t mean to say that my race is more important than others, but this does mean that we are not any less important than Hispanics, Asians or white people.
We are all the same.
Black History Month means the world to me. It is the month that I can finally exhale. A month that allows me to embrace my culture, my beauty, my ancestors and my fellow brothers and sisters who have lost their lives to police brutality and other wrongfully committed acts done against them without having to look over my shoulder.
February is the month that I can be UNAPOLOGETICALLY BLACK.
We black people often find ourselves saying ‘sorry’ for being who we are. But why? No other race does it so why should we?
I am a proud black woman who believes in equality. For as long as I live, I will continue to fight for justice amongst my people and I will never apologize for the color of my skin.
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