"Yes! Because of the environment I grew up in, I'm used to being the only black person in a given situation, but the few times I can think of when I've been uncomfortable being the only black female, or black person, is in a situation that's very foreign to me and where I may have preconceived notions that the people I'll be surrounded by will absolutely be aggressively racist.
A great example: I went to an AC/DC concert at the Meadowlands last year and I was very nervous about going - I wasn't so sure what the fan base was like, but I had a feeling the fandom might be aggressive. Well, to my pleasant surprise, there was more diversity than I'd anticipated and it seemed a fun time was had by all! I was alone at this show and took the bus back to New York City. When I got off the bus at Port Authority, a large white man got out, stared and pointed at me and said, to no one in particular: "Wow! A sister at an AC/DC concert! That's like seeing a black woman at a Grateful Dead Show! But then again... I guess the mayor's [de Blasio] daughter is a metal head!"
I just walked away in shock. As benign as he thought it was, it was clearly disturbing to me and made me feel exposed and a little unsafe. That being said, I had dreaded much worse. I hate to call it lucky? I'd call it a reminder that despite the fact that the concert was fine and fun, I was still the outsider."
"I do think I am looked at with less authority at times because of the industry I work in and also working in the South, which is very conservative. Unfortunately there are not many black physicians in the hospital I work at and black female physicians here do not wear their hair natural. The one time I did, I felt looked at more frequently than typical and further mistaken for other medical personnel."
"I wouldn't say I've worried, but I've been consciously aware. I spent the last two years of high school and all of college usually being the only, or one of very few, black people in a class or gathering. Yes, I still went. I'm comfortable in any surrounding."
"An honor, sacred, and challenging"
"Yes. While I don't put chemicals in my hair I do wear straightened 95% of the time because of the amount of hair that I have it is easier for me to maintain it in that state. I sometimes, feel judged by other black women for not wearing my hair in its natural curly state. On the other hand, I also have felt judged by my white co-workers during the rare occasion that I do have my hair in it's naturally curly state or even just different from how I would normally wear it."
"Yes, in dating men, I often find myself downplaying that I am a doctor. I have spent more than half my life achieving this goal and have sacrificed time,relationships, and other dreams for it, yet, I often try to water it down or vaguely state it when I am meeting and dating men. For male physicians, this would likely be the first thing out of their mouth when meeting a woman. For female doctors and meeting men, I feel like it is the exact opposite."
"Absolutely. We are expected to be strong, yet silent. In my adult life, I have grappled with that paradigm. The world understands the strength of a black woman, however, when we speak about our lived experiences, we are judged. Acknowledgement is by far the hardest pill for many to swallow."
"My daughter. I've also had three poems published, acted on an off off broadway at La MaMa Experimental Theatre in NYC and abroad at La MaMa Umbria (Italy), and starred in a few small films and shorts. Currently I am producing a documentary on Haitian Art. I have also been the associate director of Street Poets Inc. for the past 9 years."
"Yes and no. In some ways I feel like I can't move out of this house (not that I can afford to yet) because of the fear of my mother and other family being dependent on my share of the mortgage/rent. I am hoping that some things we have lined up will ease the financial burden and that I can eventually spread my wings either out of state or on my own--no short of a miracle in NYC."
"In the military there is always judgment. It started while I was in officer training school and was starting to grow my locs again. This white male told me like three times to 'fix' my hair. After a few more comments, I just took them out since it made me a bit self conscious. Usually judgment is by men - its a man's military."
"Something I’m proud to see in my generation that wasn’t as prevalent with my older siblings and cousins is the acknowledgement and deliberate creation of intersectional spaces and movements for black and brown people. Uplifting people of color who hold their queer, trans, nonbinary, disability, neurodivergent, or otherwise nonconforming identities as integral to their person is necessary for accepting the full scope of blackness. Loving each other is vital to loving ourselves."
"Yes I do. I have naturally curly big hair. However I have only been wearing it in it’s natural state for the last 2 or so years. I worked in very corporate environment for 13yrs and every time I would wear my hair 'natural' curly, I would get less respect, a lot of questions like 'Oh what did you do to your hair?' In my head, I’m like nothing! When it’s straight that is when I 'do something' to my hair."
"Skin tone specifically? Not really but generally speaking, I'm very conscious of the fact that I am a black woman. I am conscious of it everyday. Whether it's a conversation, a situation, or piece of content that I'm consuming. My purview as as a black woman is constant, albeit not always in a negative way."
"I would have to say Shonda Rhimes."
"Yes, I believe there are many expectations of being a black female. They come from both sides - white people and people of color. For example, there are expectations of how a black female should behave in certain contexts or what she should be good at based on assumptions that are made about where she is from or what her life experiences are."
"Surely, although I don't catalog these experiences. I have many interests in line with what is perceived as only interesting to white america, so I take pride in explaining or lecturing when someone has that misconception about me. Basically, that being black has nothing to do with what music, what art I admire, or how I i choose to decorate and clothe myself."
"From some family members, yes, because I was the only one to go to college on my dads side of the family, and my mom and I are the only ones on her side of the family. So with most of my family working city jobs or not having higher education, many times I do cut down on talking about my achievements. But from my close friends? Absolutely not, lol most of them are doing better than me!"
"I have been judged for where I live. I have gotten judged by other black people for living in the suburbs."
"I don't like to brag unless it is in the right environment. However, I don't ever feel as though I have to hide my achievements."
"Any racism that I've ever felt in the dating world came from black men in the form of anti-blackness. In the past, they have been very vocal about their preferences for mixed race or non-black women."