“Talk to me poem, I’m all alone.”
“Show me someone not full of themselves and I’ll show you an empty person.”
Pulitzer Prize Winner and the First African American Poet Laureate to the Library of Congress, Rita Dove
Story #2,122,017, Week 6 Reflection – So earlier this week I have a conversation with a man who tells me that I am “not like other African American women.” What does that even mean? I’m hardworking, focused, loving. I’m navigating this life, working at balance (keeping God first and joy close). We only share positive things in our conversation. Why does that make me different? I see it as just another form of disunity. Unfortunately for some, there is a distinction (with hierarchy) between “types” of Black women globally; the African American woman being lowest on the ladder. Malcolm X specifically pointed out the Black woman in America (the African American woman) as being the most “disrespected … unprotected [and] neglected.” It is demonstrated not just in our portrayal, but also in our treatment. With his back-handed compliment, this Black man from Liberia demonstrates the sad reality of one of colonialism’s greatest and far-reaching tools, the practice of divide and conquer. I am thinking of wise, powerful, beautiful, kind and caring women like my grandmother-ancestors, my mother, my aunts, my sisters, my cousins, my friends, my colleagues and co-workers, all of the African American women I am like and those I strive to be more like (Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Mary McLeod Bethune, Lucille Times, Zora Neale Hurston, Clarice Brown, Coretta Scott-King, Oprah, Betty Shabazz, Michelle Obama, Sonia Sanchez, Assata Shakur, Angela Davis, and so many more) as I respond, “That’s not true! I’m just like African American women and proud of it!”
Alice The Poet (Alice Nicholas) is a PhD student in the Department of Africology and African American Studies at Temple University. Her research interests include Black Diasporic literature, Black literary theory, Black love and Black liberation. She has presented papers and research at national conferences and cultural festivals. Her articles, essays, poetry and other writings have been published in both scholarly and artistic publications including African American Review, Encyclopedia of African Cultural Heritage in North America, Imhotep and the Zora Neale Hurston Society. In 1999, she created the10 Million Stories series (collections of poetry, short stories and essays) as a demonstration of self-discipline, self-definition and self-publication. She is currently completing volume 9.
Lulu Artist Spotlight: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/alicethepoet