A couple of weeks ago at work, my sexuality came up in conversation between two
of my co-workers because I had on boyfriend jeans and heavy
boots. My haircut was also a factor. One of them said,
"You dress like a lesbian." After letting her know what my
sexual orientation was she insisted that I "won't know until I had my first lesbian experience... How do you expect to be
with a nigga if you look like a nigga?" A boy I used to have a
romantic relationship with asked me: "That's not how it goes."
He said that to me after addressing that he doesn't like the fact
that I'm a "tomboy." Ain't that a shame ? According to
majority of the people that I've encountered, my skin color is
not the only problem with my outer appearance. My comfortable
large tee shirts and loose jeans automatically deem me as a"lesbian" because I do
not look like society's ideal straight female. BUT I know who I am. I love my drop crotch
pants and my large graphic tee shirts. I love my boyfriend jeans and heavy boots.
And I love love love love my haircut. I wouldn't want my outer appearance in any
other way. I love my skin, my natural beauty, my EVERYTHING. My clothes do not
affect the way I feel about the people I love. And when you already know who you are,
the opinion of others bounce right off you like you are made of rubber.
Try sitting a history classroom and the lesson being about slavery and you are the
only black person in that class. Try sitting there listening to what the teacher is
saying, wondering why they wouldn't go deeper into depth on the
subject or being the only black person there to defend
your own race. Or what about the daily questions I got from
students asking how violent my old school was and how
many people have been shot or killed there on a daily basis
because the majority is of African American decent. I was
viewed differently than your average white student entering
the school. It's all based off stereotypes that have been
portrayed about us for years. If we are loud, we are
automatically ghetto; if we come off as too smart, we
have a "white education." It's viewed as if we aren't
good enough, but we have to be the ones to change it.
Little did any of those students know that I was ahead of them.
I was the only black tenth grade student sitting in an 11th grade chemistry class.
All the books that were assigned to me in my English class from 10th-11th grade I
had already read in middle school. It doesn't matter where I come from or what race
I am, I could be as great as I want to be. Comments or typical stereotypes won't hold
me back from getting where I need to be. If I stand out at least I know that I am
being noticed and you can't miss me.
I have gone through such an emotional roller-coaster in my time here, and I
realized my biggest task was how I wanted people to view me. Did I want them to see that I'm a very mature 21 year old, or a very talkative personality, or a loyal worker, or an even better pastry chef, or an independent black woman? When it was time to present my project, I told him that it was influenced by my Haitian father and Guyanese mother; he was bewildered, if not amazed, that one of his students was more than just the slick-mouthed black girl. Now I'm not saying he's racist, trust me the guy can be an ass but he's no racist. But he has been influenced by society, I CAN tell you that much. Yet, after about 9 months, I felt like my chef was just getting to know me, or getting to know something more than what he thought I would be. It got me thinking: am I nothing more than just the slick-mouthed black girl? Are all the dazzling characteristics that make me Jasmine outshined by the very stereotypical African American stigma that all black girls are loud and snappy? I wonder. Because I am so much more.