How Do I Do It?

 

I posted a piece during the wee hours of the morning on June 17th 2014 called, “When Silence Isn’t Golden”. Believe it or not, I contemplated for quite a while on whether or not I should share this article. I wondered if it was a bit too much and I certainly didn’t want to offend anyone. After much thought and consideration, I decided to share it, and I’m glad I did.

A ‘Twitter’ friend of mine read my post and posed a few very interesting questions to me. Firstly, he asked why I didn’t mention anything about the struggles of the African American Woman as a single mother? My friend spoke of his disgust and anger at the prejudice that is so rampant and that seems to always boldly point in the direction of the African American woman; which led him to his next question. He wanted to know how I, an African American woman deals with all the negative push-back and resistance on a daily basis? In his words, “How do you do it, Sylvia?”He pointed out the double whammy situation that I’m in; not just being a woman, but an African American woman. Thirdly, he wanted to know why the many defining characteristics African American women share collectively, are not highlighted in a more positive light?

As I read all the great points he brought up, I could only shake my head. I wish I had all the answers but I don’t. I would be happy to have even 1 answer. Thanks to my friend’s prompting questions, I am now going to attempt to respond to all of them as best I can, though I can and will only speak for myself. So, please bear with me as I try to paint a picture that will hopefully shed some light on the struggle I experience regularly as many African American women do; single motherhood. Here it is…

Why didn’t I include in my post, the issue of single motherhood as it pertains to the African American woman? In all honesty, it never occurred to me to include this aspect in this piece. Not because it wasn’t or isn’t important. It most definitely was and is. However, I wanted to focus on the main issue that I was dealing with as an African American woman at that time. Unfortunately for me, it was a time of hopelessness and despair, as I tried to fit in to a world where I was not wanted; the corporate world. My fitting in or not, determined whether or not my livelihood would exist or cease to. It became the primary focus of my attention. Being a single mother, I was the sole bread-winner. I put up with a lot of nonsense in order to keep food on the table.

How did I and how do I deal with all the negative push-back and resistance that I face daily as an African American woman? At the time I was dealing with the workplace situation, I continued to go to work, even though I knew I had to fight and that I was in it alone. I was not at liberty to quit, so it was a no-brainer. No work – no food, no home, etc. I was responsible for my son and myself, so I had to go on. Looking back in retrospect, I now know that I stayed in that situation much too long. Now, when faced with the in-your-face boldness of prejudice and racism, I stand firm in knowing that I have just as much right to work, to play, and to simply ‘be’, just like anyone else. I guess you could say, I’ve found my voice, and I’ve learned to use it. Maturity has provided me with a very thick skin that helps me to deflect the many bullets I often have to dodge. I never know where they’re going to come from. But instinctively, I know that they will.

Lastly, why are the attributes and defining characteristics we share collectively as African American women, not highlighted in a more positive light when they should be? I revert back to that old adage: “You can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”. We as black women can only continue to be the strong, resilient, intelligent beings that we are. Others recognize our strengths and talents, but until there’s a general consensus if you will, or willingness to support and include African American women in every way, the question(s) will always remain, “why?”

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

 

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. C.G.Ayling (@CGAyling)
    Jun 18, 2014 @ 20:21:06

    The universe works in strange ways doesn’t it?
    Interestingly enough I posted a poem on my blog that highlights similar thoughts as I wend my way from day to day.
    You can read it at this link:-
    http://cgayling.com/malmaxa/2014/06/if-i-may/

    Were I to answer the question, “Why do we do it?”, my answer would be… for the ones we love.
    I am an aging Caucasian male, but in the my heart I differ very little from you.

    Like

    Reply

  2. D'aller Naturel
    Jun 21, 2014 @ 22:29:05

    So true

    Like

    Reply

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