Evolution of a Semi-Aware Mind

by Trina Williams-Emigh

I was about twenty-one, twenty-two when I had my first true revelation on the road to becoming aware of the black in myself. Now I always had a sense of self, I am a light skinned black woman, who is quite confident, outspoken and intelligent. I knew what it meant to struggle, I knew what it meant to suffer, and I knew what it meant to be both white as hell, and black as night. I mean I am real pale with weird reddish brown hair that started out blond, I have full lips and a semi-big nose, a small frame, slight hips and small, not black, not white ass. On my block I was that white, black girl, my white ancestors were just three generations away, my great-great grandmother was the product of a white slave owner and a black slave, and had blond hair and blue eyes, so explains my looks. I was the child who was ostracized by both whites and blacks, whites for looking too black and blacks for looking too white. I fought all my life just to be accepted for just being me. I rarely gave a damn about what anyone thought I should or shouldn't be, I was just me.

I knew very young that I did not want to be white, nor did I really care to be black, I just wanted to be treated as a human being. I saw whites, in the neighborhood that I lived in, as being quite contrary and vicious almost, towards some of the blacks in the neighborhood, except for my great grandmother, who was as white as they were with long silky hair. My grandmother was respected by both the races in our neighborhood, she did not take any shit off anybody, white or black, she was proud and strong, and out spoken. She hated both races for her own reasons I guess, she was born in 1909 and had seen, and experienced things I can only read about. So I never judged her, she was ornery and hateful like the white people in the area and laid back and easy going like the blacks.

Now the blacks in the neighborhood were rude and spiteful to one another, color of skin and texture of hair meant a whole lot to them, I truly did not understand such nonsense, and just learned to live with it. I remember wishing I had the beautiful ebony smooth skin, full hips and nice legs of some of the black woman and girls in the neighborhood. But here I was pale, could hardly tan, tall and skinny. Still that did not stop black men and boys from coming on to me, I guess I had that close to white appeal that a lot of black men were looking for at the time. Black woman and girls hated my ass I had a lot of fights, which I often times won, mostly because I was a mean bitch, many said. Even though I was an outcast, I was damn sure of myself, I was full of myself as a powerful woman, I took no shit, I accepted no shit, and I did not play games, or pretend. I was honest and truthful to myself and others, which often made me oblivious to the affect it had on the people around me. They just did not know how to handle my honesty, about life, people, religion, money, parenthood and humanity. I had very strong convictions about my beliefs, and I was well read, and questioned everything and expected answers, and would seek them out to appease my sense of inquisitiveness. Now I've begun to ramble and that I can do, I owe you an explanation of the statement I opened this can of worms with, here it is.

My family never spoke about being proud of being black, I guess by them looking white, but being black, brought them as much heartache as myself, so I don't know if they were really proud of being anything really, except strong women. I did not understand what it meant to be black then, in my younger years I read a lot of horror stories, thrillers, true life stories about murders and drugs, and romances novels, science fiction detective stories, none of these books contained blacks or even a mention of blacks. But my eyes were opened when at age twenty-one, twenty-two, I read the Autobiography of Malcolm X, here was a black man who was light skinned, with reddish hair, who had gone through quite a lot in his childhood and young adult years to grow up and become a prominent figure in the education of blacks, and the empowerment of their existence. The earth moved for me as I read this book, I knew about some of the blacks that the education system allowed us to learn about in grade school, who had forwarded our freedom and education. But never had I felt more in tune to the struggle as I was now that I had read this book. "Roots", did not even do for me what this book had, here was a man who fought whites and blacks, and never tried to fit in, but did and who had to learn to except who he was and who others were also, just human beings.

Here I was, finally aware that blacks were more than pushers and whores, like the movies of the era, or wife beaters, and invisible fathers, and single mothers leaving their kids alone at night, or blacks being drunk, or high, or maybe both, lazy, or on welfare. I begin to read everything I could find on Black America, and by Black America, and I became proud to be not only a Black American, but proud to be a Black American woman. My sense of self was heightened to a new level of understanding, I became even more proud of being who I knew I had been all my life, and even prouder of being the continuation of a people that were greater than the existence of man himself. Their greatness transcended life and death, time and boundaries, pain and despair, chains and shackles, whips and ropes. Their spirits were strong and free, and because of that spirit, they endured and lasted until their bodies caught up with their phenomenal spirits. Today I am a strong advocate about the power, strength and greatness of being black. My friends say "Don't get her started on black people, or we will never shut her up, she is the blackest, white girl we know."

Evolution of a Semi-Aware Mind by Trina Williams-Emigh

© Copyright 1999. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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