Dear Sista Friend,
Ahead of you contains a white population who is unconsciously unaware of your world. They are unfamiliar with the day to day issues that you face, as your issues do not pertain to them. Sadly, some will remain oblivious to your existence. They will persist on being ill-informed about every aspect of your life. We are different, and we will remain an outcast in their society.
As their culture consists of privilege and opportunity, they assume that they have acquired this right to manipulate who we are as Black women. Therefore, they will attempt to silence you. Your competency will be challenged. You will go unseen, and at any given moment you could just be another black face that they needed to meet a quota.
Before you know it you will begin to question yourself. You will wonder if you are doing something wrong and maybe even feel like there is need to alter who you are. Through the attempt to shift your character, you will realize that there is no way to whitewash your blackness. Straightening your hair will not suffice, applying more makeup to lighten your skin will not be enough, and changing the passion in your voice will not exempt you from being another Black “girl” who does not know her place.
You may question your existence and your purpose. Mentally, you may shut down. Physically, you may feel like you just cannot even get out of bed because the isolation is worse than you anticipated. Your new lifestyle may be more of a culture shock than you bargained for, and the community that you hoped to be home is just a place that you lay your head at night. The lack of diversity may sicken your stomach because the failure to enforce inclusivity is just too overwhelming. Know that I speak from experience.
As it may feel like it is the end of the world know that it is not. So if need be, cry. Allow your beautiful tears, which do hold substance, to be shed. Sit in your room and analyze what is taking place. Pout, scream, shout. Do whatever you need to do to become your full self again because exercising your emotions is needed. However, know that because you are a Black woman you have been designed to get past this; the unjust behaviors and the blatant acts of disregard that don’t make much sense.
You are a Queen who is powerful beyond measure, because the melanin that flows so graciously through your veins has prompted you to be destined for greatness. You are intelligent, so never give weight to any other perception about who you are. You are fierce, so never allow anyone to dismantle the poise in your walk. Queen, you are BOLD! Child of God, you are BEAUTIFUL! Woman of grace, you are worthy! You are deserving, so do not conform who you are. He has already made you in an image that is significant of Him.
Thus, regardless of the actions of others, always know who you are. As you hold true to your character, one day they will hold it to be true too. So take your seat in the front because they need to know who you are. Speak up because they need to know that your words are and have always been well articulated, more effectively than their “ummm” and their “like”.
Embrace your skin. Love your hair. It is your culture. It is your heritage. They need to know where the foundation of the characteristics that they desire to assimilate comes from. They need to know that your skin is not just a tan. It is your armor of strength. Your skin is an emblem of greatness that cannot be washed away. They need to know that your fro comes from more than just a YouTube video. It is more than just a trend. Your fro is power! It is dominance! It is your history. Not theirs. Love who you are because their “love” is just lust and a way to reclaim your existence into their ideal society.
Black woman at a PWI, live for yourself, and not a system that tokenizes your contribution to diversity. Live because you are ready to influence without the influence of others. Forget the politics of respectability. Speak up. Your voice holds volume. Your voice is valuable.
A woman who has endured.