An Essay On Self Acceptance
It was originally published on My Black Matters. I’ve included an excerpt below. Click the link to read the rest at the source.
“Does it hurt?” my mother asked with a certain sadness in her eyes.
Just like her and many more before her I was getting a relaxer; otherwise dubbed the black women’s rite of passage, our passage into the mainstream society. Did it hurt? OF COURSE IT HURT! A relaxer is a mixture of lye and perm salts, a mixture known to destroy coke bottles and on this particular day, destroy self worth. Yes it hurt, but as the relaxer destroyed my natural tight curls to produce unnatural bone straight hair, I had never felt happier.
“No, it actually feels good,” I answered back with the biggest smile on my face.
I was happy. I was happy because I finally felt I was going to be accepted in my predominately white school. I was happy because my hair finally matched with the woman on the cover of magazines.
What I did not know back then was that my happiness was fueled by internalized hurt, hurt stemmed from being told that black was lesser. Hurt from internalizing that being black meant not being beautiful. I remember that if I ever articulated a sentence in a clear concise manner someone would always state with an ignorant smile, “ It’s like you are not even black” or “ You do not even act black”. It was not just at school. At home I also felt that the skin I was in was lesser.
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