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.
Morgan Angelique Owens is the author of "Finding My Sparkle" and Founder & CEO of the MAO Brand, Professional Pretty, and Curvy Cardio, LLC.
Let's Work Together!