Running Head: BLACK WOMEN IN AMERICA
BLACK WOMEN IN AMERICA
California State University, Sacramento
The article “My Ill Literacy Narrative: Growing Up Black, Po and a Girl, in the Hood,” by Elaine Richardson, discusses the social construction of life for a black girl, stereotypes, and how people on the outside, such as men or white women may view these women of color. Black women are trying to figure out their identity everyday and it doesn’t make things better when a society has predetermined an identity for these women. In America, black women do not have the same treatment as white women or men. They are percieved to be ghetto, poor, ratchet, and a sexual object. In this paper, I will be discussing the “Black Female literacies,” Richardson used inform the struggle for them to engage in political and social action in the early 1900s including today. An additional issue that will be discussed is the stereotypes black women have yet to overcome.
The title of this article is a representation of the social constructs people of the black community inherit and Richardson describes how a person can interpret the meaning of that title based on where they come from or where they live. The word “ill” can have two meanings for instance if you were raised in the hood, you may identify the term as being positive, but if you were raised in the opposite neighborhood, you might not understand when a black male or female is using that term. This is another social construct that black people face in America, which is developing a different style to the English language which may result to the society looking at you in a different perspective, such as ghetto or illiterate. This relates to the excess of the article, because Richardson informs us with stories of how black women and men have conformed in the American society in order for them to survive. Richardson also discusses how black people are born into the label “at risk.” For some odd reason it is mainly black people who are eligible for this term before they having the oppurtunity to prove this social construct is not true. In most cases when a black person succeeds they feel like they have “made it out,” because society has forced them to believe they are at the very bottom, in similarity to them being force to think they might not succeed because of their label of being “at-risk.”
In Richardson’s article she describes a scenario where a black girl kissing her brother in public space or at school can be considered a social problem for the two. In American society it has became very disturbing to know that these social constructs of a black sister showing her brother love in public can lead to a bigger problem for the brother, now the sister has to hide her feelings and not be her self because she doesn’t want to enable a problem for her brother, such as other boys in the hood thinking he is soft. “ His outward expression of love was controlled by the abuses that one must submit to in order to survive. Both my brother and I were learning the rules of poverty and patriarchy, from a hood perspective.”1 Many black women that live in these neighborhoods can relate to her statement of conforming to the norms. In opposition to the social constructs black women and men face, white people do not have to hide their love for one another in public. Instead of getting looked at awkwardly by their own race, they recieve comments that consist of positive reinforcement. Another reason they contrast from the blacks is because they are not stuck in ghetto neighborhoods or labled “at-risk,” in their early childhood years. Black not being able to kiss their brother or sister in public is a great example of how black women struggle to engage in social action because it is seen as being abnormal for them or it constructed to being a problem for their brother, although they just...
Bibliography: 1) Richardson, E. (2009). My ill literacy narrative: growing up black, po and a girl, in the hood. Gender and Education, 21(6), 753-767. Retrieved from http://sacct.csus.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-1438460-dt-content-rid-4509189_1/courses/2143-ETHN17201-33459/E Richardson 2009.pdf
2)Davis, A. (1981). Women, race, and class. United States: Random House Inc.
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