I am the token black girl

photoChinna Ford,
Vallejo, CA.

It’s hard work being the token. You must learn to lighten the mood with an acceptable race joke every so often. When slavery is mentioned in classrooms you must ignore the peering eyes of your classmates. You must, sing, dance and excel at sports because in the words of my white colleagues “You were made for it”. I live in a white filled world where my color sticks out like a highlighter. Not only must every word or action I do speak for the rest of the black community but I am watched with close eyes. I am asked questions, that if I choose to answer, speaks for my entire race. I am my own person, not like any other. There are things I share with my black culture that do not define me as a whole. My entire life has been about my dark skin and how it sets me apart for better or worse. I embrace my blackness but I also embrace my individuality and I wish others did too.

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3 Responses to "I am the token black girl"
  1. christopherallen says:

    I used to feel like this but the pressures come primarily from my black counterparts in college. I think middle-upper class blacks struggle with this the most as they are tasked to straddle the fence between black/white society. What you’re doing is trying to balance and carry the weight of others expectations. White people expect you to be this way, black people expect you to be another way. That’s quite a heavy load considering all the other expectations life imposes that cannot be so easily avoided. My therapist told me about a woman from a therapy group she used to facilitate. This woman sat down one day and made a list of all her expectations of herself. For people with anxiety this often comes in the form of ” i should…” or “shoulds” as we call it. She then went through the list and after some soul searching identified the source of her anxiety: most of the “shoulds” were not hers. They were “shoulds” her parents, husband, children, friends, neighbors,colleagues saddled her with over the years. So she frantically erased all of the “shoulds”that weren’t her own and said to herself, “don’t should on me!” lol. She decided after that point to live her life as she sees fit and the best way she knows how and if others don’t like it, that’s their problem. People who want or expect you to dress,walk, talk, think a certain way do.not.matter. because at the end of the day you have to live with yourself. Realizing that is so liberating.

  2. barry irving says:

    …what you want is false…the reality is the life in America is Race centered. To want different without doing the work is a lost cause. We arenot all just Americans,some of us are African American or other hyphenated Americans…that’s fact that is not of your opinion or answerable to it!

    ..political correctness is a good term when in proper context. The conservative and Republican movements have made it a curse word..same with liberal. There is no such silliness as a Race Card. Race is serious and must be addressed with focus and understanding. Race is not the enemy…it is Gods distinction among people.

    …Confronting Race is not the Blame Game…it is your constitutional right to do so and at this stage of America’s “lack of resolution” on Race, it is still very necessary. Fear is your enemy! Multiculturalism is America’s distinction!…always has been even though the government and the masses are far behind the advocates in understanding that!

  3. barry irving says:

    …the pressure you carry may be because you’re young. You have to be just you first, understanding “who”… you is! Then other peoples expectations and opinions won’t matter as much. Unburden yourself and feel your spirit. You may be in a profession or an environment that does not offer you the diversity of our culture. It’s a strategy. What you stand for firmly is what will make you future less confusing!

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