When I look in the mirror I see a Black woman, when I walk down the street I am seen as a Black woman. My skin is evidently brown, but realistically I didn’t always feel Black enough. Was this because I had a sprinkle of sazon and sofrito, that played a role in some of my insecurities in my identity. I truly believe within the Black community and outside the community, there is only one version of what encompasses a Black woman and it is always stereotypical.
It is always centered around the angry Black woman, or the loud, bitter and sassy. This has become highly popularized in American culture this is what society only sees us as. In my mind. There are different levels of Blackness, as we exist worldwide. It took a long time for me to instill in my own head that you are Black enough.
You do not have to internalize the stereotype the world has created for you. You do not have to check yourself into your own box. Because of this false narrative, I feel this has bridged the gap between Black women universally.
Growing up in New York and attending schools there was clearly a separation between African Americans and Africans. It made it very difficult because even though we came from the same place, many of our lifestyles and cultures differed in many ways. There were many Afro-Americans growing up who were in denial of acceptance of their African roots they often looked down upon the culture or made jokes.
Fast forward to the present day I have seen tremendous growth not only with paying homage to the motherland but more importantly I see more Black Americans embodying and respecting the African Diaspora. If this is something we saw more growing up, this would have played a significant role in unifying Black women no matter where we hailed from. This wasn’t something that could have happened overnight, but over time breaking the generational divide between African Americans and Africans.
As an Afro-Latina I did sometimes feel conflicted because as many others can relate it always felt like a complex division between Latinx and the Black community. Being Black from Latin America and being Black from the United States was a completely different culture shock.
For myself, I am thankful I had a great balance of understanding of my Afro-American culture and my Afro-Latinidad. I struggled many times because I felt like I neglected one or embraced the other more than the next. I wanted to feel like my Black Womanhood was enough, even if my experience was different from my sisters from the United Kingdom or from Ghana.
I came to a place in my life where I understood my Blackness and it didn’t matter if no one else didn’t. I was the awkward Black girl, matter of fact I still am. Colonization separated us and we all have our own individualism on what it means to be Black but I don’t want to continue to see the division of Black women. It is really up to us to break those barriers, we don’t have to continue to separate ourselves we already went through that. I want to see future generations of Black women unified, not battling with their own selves because they don’t fit into what society views us as.
Black girl, you are Black enough and have always been!
Let’s create a space for our future sisters, with love and gratitude.