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My Identity's picture

A facet of my identity that I want to talk about is my identity as a Black woman. Though this aspect of my identity may seem obviously apparent to others, it was a part of me that I did not recognize until recently. Growing up, I was always able to identify with my girlhood (and later, womanhood), but it was an identification that did not include race. Before my junior year of high school, if I was asked to list a couple important aspects of my identity, I would list my race and then gender (separating the race from the gender). But this was all before I began to explore what it meant to be a Black woman, and how my own identity functioned within this sector of womanhood. I began to realize that I wasn’t just an ordinary “girl” when I would be told that I was “pretty for a black girl” or “smart” for one as well. I later found out that my womanhood did not only consist of being a woman, but of something much more, when I was prompted to empathize with the Black woman’s experience after reading The Bluest Eye (by Toni. Morrison) during my junior year of high school. This novel provided me with answers and insights that no chapter on woman’s suffrage, civil rights, or slavery in my American History textbooks could give me. For the first time, I was able to conceptualize a positive image of myself where Black and Woman could be united, giving my identity as a woman a unique meaning.