March Book Review+ Women Race and Class

I decided to read Angela Y. Davis’ Women Race and Class because I wanted to celebrate her as an inspirational black woman. Do believe this is her first book. Surprisingly, I’ve never read it. I need some knowledge and inspiration this month. I guess you could call it a quarter life crisis or just my depression creeping back up but either way I’m trying to pull myself out of a hole of self-loathing.

I think the tough thing for me is remembering that everyone has a different life path. Last year I went through something really traumatic. I was abused everyday and had to live in a domestic violence shelter. I had a conversation with my therapist about how I feel left behind because my friends are growing in their careers. It’s silly because I’m doing awesome things as well. I won a fellowship for a writer’s residency. My therapist made the point that is having a degree a big deal? I’m doing great things already without one. But my mind always goes back to black excellence. Doesn’t having a degree equal black excellence in the black community? Am I really doing my community any good? Am I setting a good example?

I’m still trying to figure things out and maybe things will just fall into place. All I know is that I love being a writer and right now that’s the only thing I can hold onto right now.

Cultural Appropriation+My Thoughts

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Not only am I black, but I am also Puerto Rican, and on top of that my family is Cherokee. I am made up of a lot of minorities. So I know discrimination very well. My hair is curly, but I straighten it, dye it, braid it, and cut it. I do this because I like to switch up my style. If anyone has anything to say about my naturally curly hair they can take a trip to the moon, because I’ll wear my hair anyway I choose.

African Americans have contributed to this country in many ways. Before we were forced into slavery we used our hairstyles to show who we were, where we belonged. We braided our hair, with freedom. But that was stolen away from us when we were forced to move to a foreign country and be treated like animals. Our culture was stripped from us, we were told we weren’t equal, we were told that we were wrong. But we fought back and we embraced our culture. Unfortunately, we are still told that we are wrong, and ironically the people who are telling us these lies, are the people who take our  culture and claim it to be their own. They call it exotic, original, edgy, and we’re made fun of for what we are born with.

Now here’s my opinion on hair. I don’t care if a white girl wears cornrows. I care that she doesn’t give credit wear credit belongs. We live in 2015 and due to social media we are exposed to a lot. We know when an unarmed black man is shot and killed. We know when blacks are being racially profiled. We all know about these things. Ignorance, or age is not an excuse for me. I believe that women have the right to wear whatever hairstyle they choose regardless of their culture. However, I do believe that we should know the history of the culture we are taking from. I wouldn’t go to Japan and take a style and claim it as my own because I think it’s cute. I would learn the importance of it and respect it without mocking it.

Black people , especially black women are made fun of everyday because our lips are fuller, some of us are curvy, and we like to embrace are curly hair that differs between us. How can you take our culture and mock us? If you’re a young white woman and have knowledge about the black community why can’t you embrace us and not just our style? We get treated unfairly everyday because of our culture, yet that is ignored and our style is ripped from us and used to make a profit.

I’m not asking you not to braid your hair, or inject your lips, it’s your body you can do what you want. I would never tell another woman how she should wear her hair. So PLEASE do not to it to me. If you like my culture’s style, awesome! But know that we’re not just cornrows and full lips. We still need help from you all in supporting our quest to freedom and equality.

You can’t pick and choose from our culture. You can’t disrespect us and then take credit for our styles and traditions.