Personal Narrative: I Am An African American Woman

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To be African American in America is a burden. To be a woman in America is onerous. I am an African American woman. I define myself by my character, values, and beliefs. At one point in my life, I thought this was how all people defined me, but I found that I am first defined by the color of my skin. Accepting my identification as an African American woman in society is central to my identity. From my first day of kindergarten to my last day of middle school, I attended Newburgh Central School District. Newburgh’s school district is a school filled with cultural diversity and an amalgam of personalities and perspectives. I was one of many in the sea of diversity. In the ninth grade, I transferred to Marlboro Central High School. Marlboro…show more content…
Paradoxically, I was shocked to learn that in Marlboro I was an anomaly, defined by one simple characteristic: I am black. Of course, I always knew I was African American, but now it was coupled with a myriad of negative connotations. For instance, I was often asked “How often do you eat fried chicken?,” “Is that a weave?,” or the worst of all, “Are you related to Obama?”. I was appalled by such ignorance. It was then that I realized that I was evaluated by the color of my skin prior to my character. Furthermore, these encounters in a community bereft of cultural diversity altered my perception of myself. For example, when I received exceptional test scores and positive feedback from teachers in class, students inquired “How did you do it?,” “How can you get better grades than me?,” “You’re the smartest black person I know!,” and the worst ever said to me, “I knew all black people were not stupid!”. These disparaging comments greatly affected the way I identified myself. I realized that, based on my appearance, people do not expect me to be intelligent or in the top ten percentile of my class. Because of the negative connotations associated with my ethnicity, I felt ashamed and defeated. I asked myself, “How can I succeed

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