An explanation in its purest form of “What it’s like to be a Black Girl (for those of you who aren’t)” by Patricia Smith, is just that, an explanation. From the first three syllables “First of all,” the author gives a sense of a story being told. She uses jagged sentence structure and strong forceful language to also show the reader the seriousness of her topic. Smiths poem gives the audience an insider’s view into a young black girl’s transition into black woman-hood at a time where both being a black girl and a black woman was not as welcomed.
Puberty is usually defined by the biological changes a young boy or girls body undertakes around the age of 9 up until about 14. “It’s being 9 years old and feeling like you’re not finished,” writes Smith, “like your edges are wild, like there’s something, everything, wrong.” (Smith, 4) These thoughts have run around the minds of almost every puberty stricken youngster. However, Smiths subject seems to also have the added pressures of a racially jagged society. This “black girl” she refers to in her poem is feeling the awkwardness of her newly changing body and the hope of something different and maybe better to come.
The poem tells the story of a young black girl exploring and experiencing what it is to become a black woman in her changing social circle. “it’s dropping food coloring in your eyes to make them blue and suffering their burn in silence. It’s popping a bleached white mophead over the kinks of your hair and primping in front of the mirrors that deny your reflection.” (Smith,9) The food coloring in her eyes, and the bleaching of her hair can only symbolize her need to grow into the more “accepted” form of society, the white skinned, blue eyed, blonde haired men and...
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