work space: a magical place where a certain seventeen year old girl goes to unleash her wild and spiraling thoughts and artwork
Not saying Quvenzhané’s name is an attempt, consciously or unconsciously, to step around and contain her blackness. Yes, sometimes black people have names that are difficult to pronounce. There aren’t many people of European descent named Shaniqua or Jamal. Names are as big a cultural marker as brown skin and kinky hair, and there’s long been backlash against both of those things (see: perms, skin bleaching creams, etc.). The insistence on not using Quvenzhané’s name is an extension of that “why aren’t you white?” backlash.
It is easier to be colorblind, to simply turn a blind eye to the differences that have torn this nation apart for centuries than it is to wade through those choppy waters. And Quvenzhané’s very existence is enough to make the societal majority uncomfortable. She is talented, successful, beautiful, happy, loved, and adored–all things that many people don’t figure that little black girls with “black” names could, or should, be. Their answer? Let’s make her more palatable. If she insists on not fitting the mold of the ghetto hoodrat associated with women with “urban” names, let’s take her own urban name away from her.
Refusing to learn how to pronounce Quvenzhané’s name says, pointedly, you are not worth the effort. The problem is not that she has an unpronounceable name, because she doesn’t. The problem is that white Hollywood, from Ryan Seacrest and his homies to the AP reporter who decided to call her “Annie” rather than her real name, doesn’t deem her as important as, say, Renee Zellwegger, or Zach Galifinakis, or Arnold Schwarzenegger, all of whom have names that are difficult to pronounce–but they manage. The message sent is this: you, young, black, female child, are not worth the time and energy it will take me to learn to spell and pronounce your name. You will be who and what I want you to be; you be be who and what makes me more comfortable. I will allow you to exist and acknowledge that existence, but only on my terms." @9 months ago with 6546 notes
My body will no longer apologize. I am an anomaly of soft curves made from proudly eaten cupcakes, i am skin made of the earth from the world’s first civilizations. my hair with its tangled forests bows down to no comb or brush. it is the dominant trait from the blood of my ancestors, warriors and lion hearted girls. my head sits just high enough to balance this crown. my hips hold my jeans up and guide my swagger. My feet with their calloused bottoms tell the stories of midnight dances in the street and every tree that I have climbed and fallen out of while trying to prove to my brothers that girls are strong too, the puncture wounds from my sewing needle are battle scars from the war of living my stretch marks map out my journey these scars are embellishments decorating my shoulders and thighs reminding me to keep struggling but also that it’s okay to be vulnerable. And my small hands can’t completely fix everything I’ve broken, but they’re learning . My eyes are wide with pupils that are floating in an exosphere nearing heaven. they are searching for God, for beauty that scratches deeper than any manicured hand could. My teeth are switchblades shaving to a point every word that I spit. They open up to the temple of this body. So don’t ask if I’ll close the space. And though this body may be just a cloak for this soul, it has taught this soul many things. i must forgive myself now for betraying my body for the voices of an adopted culture that told me freedom comes from beauty that is silken and bears a straight nose. i must undo the white flag of surrender than binds my immigrant mouth. for my beauty will no longer surrender, and my body will no longer apologize.@9 months ago with 4 notes
I’ve always believed it to be true when Jesus said remove the plank from your eye before reaching for the speck of dust in your neighbor’s.
America. I fear you have been staring too long through half blind eyes trying to cut out a misconceived problem with a blunt scalpel
While behind you, your children run around unkempt perpetuating the rape you taught them was “no big deal”
Then you are offended when the women in India cut free from the gauze-thin ropes of your shiny pre-packaged aid.
The boulevards you built with silver are green and run rampant with street rats disguising themselves as civilized men
They shave their fur for the day, don pin-stripe suits and kiss their trophy wives good day
Then at night their tails grow long, their teeth sharpen , and they scavenge for school girls like finding scraps in the gutter, just to return their broken bodies to the sidewalks like nothing happened, because nothing did, she was asking for it.
And America, you watch, and continue to cook meals in your dirty kitchen for those poor suffering women
But the Amherst college girl was not asking for it.
The young woman in Ohio was not asking for it.
Her resistance was not a come-on
The delicate holy temples of their bodies were not invitations
But we are so doped up with privilege
our minds are hazy with the false mist of superiority
When will you learn. When will we learn?
Feminism was never meant to be another Panama Canal for capitalism
But the money from your Harvard femme solidarity clubs still draws your eyes from the festering wounds on your daughters
They cry rape and are ignored while their attackers walk free and more victims stay silent
America. You neglect your children but save paint to color yourself mother of the year
And idolize the men who commodify our little girls
America. Hear this. We have struck a match that is burning us up from the inside
How long will we continue to have a fetish for violence?
How long can we pretend that we have no crisis?
How long can we pretend not to feel the flames?@9 months ago with 1 note