When I was growing up, I did not know anything about being a black/African American woman. I knew nothing of Bobby Seale and Huey Newton, the founders of the Black Panther Party, but I could tell you in a heartbeat about our first president, George Washington, or that “Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.” The first thing that I was taught about being a black/African American woman was that I descended from African slaves who were brought here on ships by white settlers. I’m now in college and have learned that I am not only a descendent of slaves, but of royalty such as Mansa Abu Bakar II, who was said to have traveled to the New World in the 1300s. I descend from a lineage of scholars such as W.E.B. Du Bois, activists such as Angela Davis, and artists such as Nina Simone. Though systematically oppressed by white privilege, I am still great.
Having this knowledge has encouraged me to be this transcendent black/African American woman that I am becoming. I have learned to endure hardships but still remain soft and transparent enough that I can be empathetic towards almost everyone with whom I come into contact. My brown skin should not offend those around me; it does not make me “loud,” “aggressive,” or “dramatic.” My curly hair is not a “toy” made for anyone else's amusement. I have had these prejudices placed on me since birth, of which many people would consider to be burdens. But I am able to overcome all of these afflictions, because no matter what is bestowed upon me, I can still find it within myself to love those with whom I come into contact. No judgment and no prejudice. I am Black Power.
Words by Alaysia Ross