Trying to Fit
What do you do when you feel like you just don’t fit in with the society you live in? Since the beginning of time blacks women, have been recognized as women who don’t fit the traditional ideal of beauty. A woman of color comes in all different shades of skin tones Caramel, Golden bronze, Cocoa brown and Dark brown. Their hair comes in a quite few different textures, from tight as a thick rubber band, to curls about thick as your pinky finger. Most people describe black women natural afro textured hair as kinky, spiraled, fizzy or nappy. During the slavery-era to the early 1900’s black women in America, went from cornrows, braids and other natural styles. Some reasons for this as I grow up getting perms known as straight hair was a sign of class and Nappy hair was a sign that you were poor. With segregation no longer being an issue, blacks were now free to work their way up in American society, but they still faced white racism. Whites’ people saw black people skin features as a sign that one is given to being sexual active, violence and lacking in intelligence. Many blacks lightened their skin and straightened their hair to appear more acceptable to whites in order to get ahead. When it comes to black women television shows, show how society should be in the eyes of T.V. and its monkey see monkey do from there.
Black women have been villianized on television. They are portrayed as home wreakers and baby momma with several different dads or the lowest standard. If you ever see a successful man on television he is not allowed to be portrayed with a black woman. If you watch a music video, the star of the video will not be shown with a black woman with clothes covering her body. The media would not like to high light the qualities of black women because the executives behind the scenes aren’t black men. The goal is to make white women appear to be the best and highest quality of woman that Barbie. For this reason you will see interracial relationships between every celebrity athlete and the not a black woman of their choice. At this point a white woman on your arm represents she is super smart and very successful.
Some people won’t fall absolutely for the trap and be with a white woman, but they still won’t marry a black woman. Black woman is demanding a new set of female definitions and a recognition of herself of a citizen, companion and confidant, not a matriarchal villian or a step stool baby-maker. Role integration advocates the complementary recognition of man and woman, not the competitive recognition of same.(duke.edu)
The strangest thing about this stereotype situation is that many white women go to tanning booths often to get a caramel complexion of an African descent skin. Who created the monster of discrimination and Why? A question we will never know. Discrimination based on skin color, or colorism, is a form of prejudice or discrimination in which human beings are treated differently based on the social meanings attached to skin color. (Wikipedia.com)
The “Welcome Table” is a story that is filled with religious symbolism. Religion is the theme of this story. This story is enduring in the sense that it shows the strength and
belief an old black woman had to face during her trials and tribulations. “What it’s like to Be a Black Girl” is a poem that gives the reader an inside view into a young black girl’s transition into black woman-hood at a time where being a black girl and being a black woman was not as welcomed. In these two literary works, although the similarities aren’t quite the same they still have the same concept. In the short story The Welcome table you have a narrator’s point of view and ‘What It’s Like To Be A Black Girl’, you have the actual author of the poem giving her point of view from experiencing how things where . Although there is a cultural difference it still involves race and how it affects a one individual’s way of feeling and the outlook from someone else’s appearance. “The Welcome Table” was a short story whom was written by Alice Walker. She was born on February 9, 1944, in Eatonton, Georgia. Alice Walker is one of the most admired African American writers working today. She studied at Spelman College, Atlanta, and Sarah Lawrence College, New York, then worked as a social worker, teacher, and lecturer. She has taught gender studies courses at Wellesley College and began one of the first gender Studies programs in the United States. Her publications include poems, short stories, and novels. She continues to write, exploring life situations through the eyes of African American women and advocating ways to approach challenges of sexism, racism, and poverty in American life. She took a brief break from her writing in the 1960s to live in Mississippi and work in the civil rights movement, returning to New York to write for Ms. Magazine. Alice Walker won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her 1982 novel, The Color Purple, and is also an acclaimed poet and essayist. This short
story had a very compelling plot which is described in our text book as “ A dynamic element in fiction, sequence of interrelated conflicting actions and event typically build to a climax and bring a resolution.” (Clugston, 2010) The first part The Welcome Table is told in the third person and shifts the point of view from which the story is told. The beginning of the story is told from the white people’s perspectives as they see an old black woman. The author goes on to describe the look of the old spiritual woman who eyes were blue –brown in color and where nearly blind. The old woman’s Sunday clothes high polished shoes, rusty mildew dress, and an elegant silk scarf stained with grease from her pig-tails. (Clugston, 2010) She walked many miles, alone in freezing cold until she came upon a church all sweaty and clammy. It was a church only for white people. She stopped on the steps of the church to rest before going inside. When she went into the church, the reverend stopped her by saying “Auntie, you know this is not your church?” The white people are at a loss when they see her near the entrance of the church and do not know what to do. Some would have taken her in from the cold. But other judge her appearance makes some of the white people think of black workers, maids, cooks; others think of black mistresses or jungle orgies. Still others think that she is a foreshadow of what is to come – black people invading the one place that it still considered the white person’s sanctuary, their private church.
As the old lady sat down on the church prewe chairs the old lady was sing in her head. The white women inside the church, who take it as a personal insult and feel the most threatened about the old black lady being at their church, they rouse their husbands to throw the old lady out. Still sing in her head now a sad song, the old lady looked down the road and seen Jesus and died on the side of the road. (Clugston, 2010) Visualize anything other than that of an old poor lady being mistreated by racism. After reading and experience feelings of compassion when the author describes the unnamed old woman’s appearance and hygiene as she tried to enter the church. From the depiction expressed throughout the narration of this story, one could sense that this short story was created from the personal experiences or from seeing others who went through. The strangest part of the story is when the pastor call her auntie, either she was the nanny child who grow up with the pastor’s mother or father? Who they must had consider her as family without people knowing.
“What it like to be a black girl” is a poem that was written by Patricia Smith. She was born in Chicago in 1955 currently lives in Howell, NJ. She is a four-time individual National Poetry Slam champion and appeared in the 1996 documentary SlamNation. an American poet, former journalist , playwright, author, writing teacher, and spoken-word performer. She has published poems in literary magazines and journals including TriQuarterly, Poetry, The Paris Review, Tin House, and in anthologies including American Voices and The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry. She is on the faculties of the Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing and the Low-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Sierra Nevada College.(Wikipedia.com)
In this poem the author is telling this story in third person omniscient the poem tells the story of a young black girl exploring and experiencing the changes to of her body. Now starting to develop in many areas to become a black woman she feels like something is
wrong with the way she looks. The author uses jagged sentence structure and strong language to also show the reader the importance of this poem. The writer gives the audience an insider’s view into a young black girl world who is feeling like she is one of the most ugliest person on earth. “It’s dropping food coloring in your eyes to make them blue and suffering their burn in silence. (Clugston, 2010) This poem speaks of the young girl changing her image by placing blue contacts in her eyes. It’s popping a bleached white mophead over the kinks of your hair. The writer is speaking of the young girl putting a perm on her hair to straight out her hair. I respect the author’s reflection of the nine years old girl feeling and trying to fix everything about herself that the world tells her is wrong. The straightening out her hair because being black left you with kinky, curly, frizzy hair., the contacts you wear, the things you do to make yourself look more like the beautiful, blonde-haired, blue-eyed “white girl.” the television have protrude as beauty. When you’re nine, you shouldn’t feel these things are necessary because you haven’t fully developed yet. “Primping in front of the mirrors that deny your reflection” (Clugston, 2010) Is something many poor women did, but for the black woman in the 1950s it was about using press combs and making outfits to fit in and not being some “negro woman,” drawing attention to herself. I feel for the author wrote this poem in seeking acceptance from others.
In my conclusion, the main character in each of the stories is a protagonist black female who both struggle with trying to be accepted in society due to the color of their skin. Being different is all about how you handle the situation. When one thinks their better
than one race that’s when being different is a problem. Comparing these two stories there is racism and discrimination they had to face. Both stories express the determination of one woman and one young girl who survive through all adversity. The authors speak of the hardship one woman and one young girl had to face and suffer. Understanding the fear, struggle and those women of color went through during this time and now. Being different is what god made us. No one person is exactly the same even if the world was one color.
1. Clugston, 2010
5. wordwoman. Ws
7. Literary Cavalcade;Feb2003, Vol. 55 Issue 5, p32