Black Woman…Wear Those Gold Shoes and Shine Too!

As a Black women in education, I have found this field to be overwhelmingly harsh to many of us.  This arena is filled with many talented individuals. This arena is also filled with many individuals that really do not understand the importance of this concept called teaching.  This arena is filled with individuals who lack the open-mindedness and cultural sensitivity to ensure everything from policies to school lesson plans are equitable.  And this same arena is filled with many individuals that are incompetent in themselves.  And because of this they find it necessary to bring down Black women who are uplifting each other, while also finding ways to encourage the youth that look like us, in hopes of……equality!

Racism will not go away because people don’t want to be equal.  It is a simple statement.  Racism will not disappear because too many are determined to showcase how great they think they are. (I say this very slow, so you can see the foolishness in this ideal).  Racism will never go away because what one person thinks is right, they are seemingly too darn (I think I prefer

DAMN)  selfish to ever realize that there are alternative ways to doing things.

The education system is in dire need of those open-minded people who are most interested in helping our students regardless of race, and all of those other characteristics that we have to fill out on so many darn surveys.  The system is in need of showcasing this because as a Black woman, I have grown extremely tired of always being one of the first or one of the few at conferences or meetings. I have grown extremely tired of feeling the pressure of having to stop a colleague from his or her inappropriate comment or lack of sensitivity regarding the cultural background of our students.

I have felt and I still feel that the education system should be that main gate that will allow all to follow their dreams without feeling as if they are too dumb or ill-equipped to conquer.  Such beliefs stem from the policies that we currently have in place, and those that develop such policies rarely look like me and my “homegirls” that are now offered a seat because we have tons of education and we “speak so articulately.”  I wonder if they would say the latter to someone that was of the mainstream race; a White man.  Would someone compliment him by saying “Dude, you speak so articulately and I am extremely impressed by all that you have done?”  Such are matters that Black women have to deal with by smiling and suppressing that want to roll their eyes, open their mouths to question what …in …..the hell…does it mean I speak well?  What exactly does that mean and should I comment back by saying, “oh you do too?” 

Making such a comment is not the same as saying, your shoes are so cute or I think that article you wrote was a pleasant read.  Instead, you comment on the communication skills of another race, which assumes…. you are better? Why is that?  Is it because the false ideal that you have about a culture of people comes from that television show that you watched last night.  Or maybe it stems from that one encounter that you had with someone from that race.  Maybe that woman that walked into the grocery store with a bonnet on her head, five kids walking behind her made you think that was the norm for Black women.  That is kind of a double standard because that means that when I see a White woman that looks the same, I should indeed think the same, but I don’t.  I can’t.  And it is because our society paints such pictures as abnormal, but those where Blacks are seen as indignant and behaving in a way that makes them comfortably them is outrageous and ….different.  Why should I have to walk in your shoes?  Why should I feel embarrassed to say “ya’ll” when I am in front of an audience of White men who can obviously get away with ….I’ll leave that alone, but where is the equality.  These are important concepts to think about.  If your ideals of a Black woman who speaks the Standard American English impress you because you are unaware of anyone who looks and speaks like her, this might be something that you need to learn. And you need to learn them as a society because these are the kids that we are still attempting to teach and place in positions.  I would hate for my 16 year old son to have to deal with being the first black man of something in 20 years.  What does that say?  I am tired of students feeling as if their culture and their day to day norm is underappreciated and I am so tired of having to remind educators that your way of doing things is not always ….well the best practice.  You must think of all kids and as that Black woman, when we open our mouths, when we sound “educated,” and when we walk…in our golden heels, we are despised, we are looked at as aliens.  We should not be an anomaly anymore, but instead we should have an influx of others following our lead that look and sound like us.

Being a Black woman in education, in the medical field, in the legal field, in the US is hard.  And it is more tiresome to try to fit into what the mainstream has created because who we are is never embraced and we must walk on egg shells. We must not be different, because to be different to many means that they are no longer superior and they see our gold shoes as competition versus a way to help…

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