Black Women Writers @ Southwestern University

An English / Feminist Studies / Race & Ethnicity Studies Course Blog

Thoughts eating away at me

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A reoccurring theme in classes so far this semester have been the idea of trying to find identity in a place where others make that journey difficult. We first saw it in this class listening to June Jordan’s poem, Poem About My Rights, when she says, “Do You Follow Me: We are the wrong people of/the wrong skin on the wrong continent and what/in the hell is everybody being reasonable about…” I really connected with this because I connected it to another classes I am taking where we discussed what life was like for the people of the Americas before the Europeans colonized. That had me wondering, where am I from, and where am I suppose to be? If the Europeans hadn’t come into land that was not theirs, and destroy cultures, where would I be? And because of the fact that I am here, where I am, am I on the right continent? Do I have a right to be here? Maybe I think I do, but others around me do not think the same. Maybe I have a misguided sense of authority, and really I need a reality check. My whole life I have made good grades, been a good girl in order to “succeed”, but now I am seeing, succeed on whose standards? And, is it even possible for me to succeed in the way I have always wanted? I do not believe so, I do not believe that the world can work that way for me. I suppose I really started thinking about all of this when my family was coming from Harlingen, and we stopped at a check point for getting into the States. Between the tanks, big dogs, and the men with guns, I have never been so aware of my skin color. I asked myself who they were looking, and I realized, they were looking for me. For someone out of place, for someone who did not belong, for someone who had no right to be here.

I suppose what I am really trying to ask is, how do we create an identity based on a false hope to live in a world that we have already considered fair? How do you look from the outside in a not create an identity based on that oppression? How do we create an identity based on strength of who we are?

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