Black Body - White Body
Updated: Aug 12, 2020
I am both in the skin of my West African ancestors and my Sicilian/Eastern European ancestors. I embody the vigilance of oppression while experiencing the privileges that come with being a lighter shade of black. For some, I am not black enough, not enough kink in my hair or soul in my step. For others, I am … “other”, different, colored, but a bit less intimidating. I have been followed in stores and often been the only brown person entering a room. I used to straddle the fence between my two races, sitting in opposition, holding internal judgment and/or shame for one or the other. Now I sit, in full awareness, of my brown skin and the whiteness of my bones. I hold the contrast with curiosity. I feel the grief and outrage of my black ancestors in my shoulders and the struggle and fight of my Italian ancestors in my muscles. I have sat in the depths of the internalized racial conflict my body holds. I have felt the split down my middle and pendulated from one outraged part of me to the other. I have called on my ancestors to tell me their stories, and when I listen, they come through image, emotion, and sensation. It is in those meaningful moments that I become more internally connected and whole.
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