I am a Black Woman, first.
Never in my lifetime did I think I’d be fighting the same battle as my great-grandparents, grandparents and parents.
My mom grew up in Richmond, Indiana a town where a lot of her relatives could pass as white. Her mother, my grandmother also told me she was the only colored baby in the neighborhood.
When I was in 2nd grade, I brought a picture of my grandmother in to show the class for a project. One of my white classmates said, “At least someone in your family is White!” No one said anything. Not even my teacher. I was a 2nd grader, I had to defend that my grandmother was BLACK.
This wasn’t the first time and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.
In college, at Miami University I took a journalism class. We had a group assignment to make up a character and describe their education, appearance, etc. One of the groups character name was “Jemima Jones” she was an illiterate woman. I was FURIOUS. “Jemima” is a long time figure depicting Blacks as stupid, low-class and degrading. The teacher said NOTHING. There were 2 Black students in the class including myself and guy. I didn’t want to address it in class or I’d be viewed as the “angry Black woman”.
After class, I emailed my professor the historical context of “Jemima” and how I was deeply disturbed. She wrote back with an apology saying she had no idea. You are a JOURNALISM Professor at a Public Ivy School and you had no idea!?
The next class we addressed it. Most of the class look annoyed of it being discussed, I asked if the other Black student had any thoughts and he said, “It didn’t bother me.” I was FURIOUS again. The only person in the room with compassion was a white student who started to cry. She told me she came from a rural town with no minorities and had no idea. I saw hope.
In times of protest, struggle and uncertainty. I just want to share with my audience to continue to look for hope. Continue to look for ally’s but also severe ties to those who don’t SEE YOU. I am a Black Woman. I come from generations of strong Black Women. I’m reminded everyday of who I am - and I wouldn’t change anything about it. I’m not the one who needs changing.
6/3/2020 04:20:22 pm
Thank you for sharing your narratives.
6/3/2020 04:35:19 pm
Thank you for sharing Morgan! That was a very powerful narrative and I could feel your strength and compassion as I read this!
6/7/2020 02:48:23 pm
Thank you sharing Morgan. It is disgraceful how things like what happened at your school can be overlooked and to think about how long they may have been teaching that material with or without minority students in your class. When I was in the military, I’d been there for about 2 weeks and I heard the “n” word coming from behind me. I knew that I’d only been walking with Caucasian people so I tried to convince myself that I was hearing things but I heard it again. To make a very long story short, I was told by a black man from Georgia to calm down and that it was just a word. Furious wasn’t the word. I am so saddened that we are still fighting this fight in 2020.
6/7/2020 04:21:44 pm
Thank you so much for sharing. I can relate, I grew up in a rural town and I was always the only black person in my classes.
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Morgan Angelique Owens is the author of "Finding My Sparkle" and Founder & CEO of the MAO Brand, Professional Pretty, and Curvy Cardio, LLC.
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