A SYTYCB entry
No need to know my name, as though you will ever pronounce it correctly. Instead you will mock it with laughter and claim that it’s too exotic for this country. Yet I am expected to know and pronounce all your names correctly.
I am this African Girl, in my early twenties, straddling two worlds and two families. Always in the middle, never allowed to be fully in one world.
“Who do you love more?” my father asks
“She loves me more of course!” my father exclaims
My mother sits silently in a corner
“50/50” I reply
This African Girls life half spent in Africa and half toiled away in the United States of America. Never African enough or too foreign for America.
“That African American” is how my people insult me.
“You look like Them, talk like Them, and now lie like Them too”
They are what this African Girl should not be. But They do not like me either. They think that I am not truly African and that I prefer the White man’s ice than Theirs.
“You eat with your hands, like savages?”
“Do you worship trees and rocks?”
“How was it growing up in trees with only loin clothes?”
“How do wild animals taste?”
They must wonder how a savage could prefer the White’s comfort than theirs. They were once Africans themselves, so I should gravitate towards them but I am not allowed to.
“Are you trying to make sure your children get good hair?”
“No, they want them to have a nice caramel color”
“But you’re already light…so you don’t want them to come out looking like the master and not the slave?”
This African Girl’s people were never imprisoned nor enslaved so I have never known a White master.
This African was kept away from Them by her family and community. This African was made to interact with White folks. White folks are always intrigued at how civilized I am. How well I speak their English and do well in their school system.
“Your smart for an African from Africa”
“You’re a pretty African, you don’t have their nose or nappy hair”
“Was you grandfather Italian or British? Is that why you’re so light?”
“Ooo you don’t eat pork. Are you Muslim?”
White folks know everything and that’s why they hold all the power, that’s what my parents always taught me. They know all of Africa’s history because they helped bring Christianity, civilization and modernization…that is what all my history books in high school said. And that is why my White history teacher cried one day as he hugged me to apologize.
This African Girl is standing in line to purchase some coffee and a white man is in front of her. He turns around, looks at her in her Catholic school uniform. Her curly hair in pigtails and her heavy book bag laying by her feet. He then touches and secures his wallet in his back pocket.
At this African girls high school, she is one of the only Blacks. She is now Black. When her name is called out, she is Black from the ghettos because that is the only place Blacks are given strange names. Maybe her parents were on crack so they couldn’t find a suitable name for their child.
This Black girl is now cool. No matter how she talks, walks, dances, or dresses. To her teachers this Black girl is always disruptive.
“Can you act like the other students? You’re disrupting the ways of our school”
“By the way, does your mother have a good recipe for cornbread?”
The White guys were scared of this Black girl. They don’t know if they can ever interact with her without her giving them some attitude. In hiding they would tell her, how they have always been curious about Black girls.
“I’ve never kissed one”
“How do you look naked?”
“I heard Black girls have bigger vagina’s because Black men are so big”
If this Black girl dated a White boy she would have to hide him. The White boy would get angry because he would be excluded from a large part of her life. If this Black girl told her family that she had a boyfriend, her family would disown her for gallivanting with males.
This African Girl is too delicate to be free. This African Girl holds her family’s honor and must be watched at all times till she is married to a good African man. She cannot be out drinking, smoking, or interacting with males. They should be at home learning how to cook, clean, and perfecting the language/cultural practices. They should not dress like American whores.
This African Girl is weak and needs a husband to care for her. She must stay pretty, be submissive, have smooth skin, straight hair, and a college education even if she will only be raising children. She must never be American, but stay African. That is how this African Girl will attract a good African man.
This African Girl should…
This African American girl should…
This Black girl should…
This African should…
I am lost.