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My Thoughts: The Balancing Act of being black in white rooms

I am not angry. I am tired.

I had a tough day the other day. I read this fantastic essay on The Everygirl and it stuck with me. I chased the authored down and thanked her for writing such a real piece that anybody black I feel could connect with. It made me happy to see a piece like that was featured on site I frequent daily, but it also had me thinking about the sad fact that black girls everywhere deal with the same thing, having our blackness magnified for no other reason than being black.

Some women get it because of their name, some because of their hair, others possibly due to their bodies, but I know more than enough who experience this, usually unwanted, attention the comes simply from being. That hurt my mind to think that is the reality we are subjected to.
I know more than enough who experience this, usually unwanted, attention the comes simply from being.
The context of SaDiedrah's article is navigating corporate america with a black sounding name. My name being Sydney eliminates me from the conversation, but her ask for us to, "Imagine having to always think that you will be scrutinized in the workplace, not just because you a Black, but because you are a Black woman in a white, male-dominated environment." made me do a mental slow clap. 

Fun fact: I am one of four black employees at my job. It doesn't bother me much because I work with nice people who have been very kind to me, but as a progressive, I take notice. I'm also one of the handful of women, so I feel it as not only being black, but as a black woman. And the "it" I'm referring to is simply the underlying motion that you are a minority who is being observed and possibly measured up to your counterparts.

My womanhood isn't magnified as much as my blackness is. I've truthfully haven't felt anyone look at me or question anything related to my femininity, but the same can't be said for how I carry my blackness. I am mindful of what I wear because I have curves, I use a "work voice" because the setting is different, and I second-guess some decisions like my nails and hair because I know questions or comments will come. 

I'm aware that when being around someone new, curiosity will arise, especially if that new person is completely different from you. But I can't help but hate that so many girls - black girls - have to deal with this on a daily. At work, at school, even at simple places like the grocery store. It's a lot to handle when you think about what its like to grow up in modern day America, where a wall is already built (shade) against you due to your skin tone, and you still have to navigate life going after all you deserve because you still deserve no matter what anyone thinks. The fight isn't fair, but it is necessary. 

When things bother me, I have to talk them out, so I did with my parents. They both understood my frustration and my dad in particular challenged me to be me. I'm going to do that regardless, but it was just upsetting to know the reality. To see the reality first hand and to actually go through the things you read about and think,"Oh that'll never happen to me". It's tiring to know this is the narrative thats found its way into so many young women's lives.  
The fight isn't fair, but it is necessary. 
I'm at a dead end with a good idea of how to combat things aside from being yourself. You literally have to decide to show up as the best version of you every single day, answering questions with pride and honesty, because you stand behind your decisions. Accepting yourself as you are wholly because you know this is how you were made and the things you embrace from your culture make you proud. And if you need a little motivation from "Daddio and the City", check one of his messages below. 


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