Tuesday, September 20, 2011

When In Rome do as the Romans do?

As an African American woman in this country I find the struggle between growing up poor and "keeping it real" transformed into education and advancement with financial stability an insult to some or even most in my community. I have been told that because I speak with "big words" I think I'm better than someone and I walk around like a white girl. How in the world did this happen? I think that people have a ton of preconceived notions and expectations of what it means to be black and when you challenge that and say I'm going to continue to be black that's the only way I could ever be , but I'm also going to add a few degree's to my belt, refuse to raise my children in the neighborhoods I was raised, share my journey so the next generation might make a different choice and  this makes people uncomfortable. It even makes people so uncomfortable they want to test you and see if you can still "get urban" as my favorite professor,  Professor Woods would say. You could choose when in Rome do as the Romans do, play small and limit your verbiage, intelligence and professional persona, or you could do what feels right. What is that? For me it had a lot to do with listening to the negativity and the perceived problem because with in them lie the solution. Each day is a new lesson to be learned and as soon as you think you have learned them all in comes a new one.
I even went as far as to feel sorry for myself because I wasn't all things to all people and I wasn't liked by everyone nor was I spreading the bliss I'd so strived for. For me I learned not to force solutions on issues and sometimes they will resolve themselves.Other times you have to look in the mirror. Ask questions you might not want to know the answer to. If perception is reality, how am I being perceived? Am I in some way coming across as condescending or boastful. Do my stories in some way offend or ensue regret in others for less than best choices they've made in the past? How can I be a mover and a shaker in a manner that doesn't step on anyone's toes? Most importantly if I am this example of the new African American standard how can I continue to flourish without alienating my own kind or any kind for that matter? I'm working on the answers but the best part is I'm more aware of these possibility and I'm also more accepting of different personality types.So here's to being the change you want to see.
God Bless You
Thank You For Reading

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