I work in a clinical setting in Forsyth County, Georgia. In 1912, there were about 1,100 black people living in Forsyth County. During that same year, white mobs drove out the black population and about 30 black residents remained in the county. Today, there are about 95% whites living in Forsyth county.
Although this event occurred over 100 years ago and I’ve only been working in the area for a little under a year, I’ve faced challenges with being a young, black woman working in Forsyth County. I am privileged with loving my DIVERSE natural hair. On Monday I can come into work with my hair twisted and pinned into a crown like the queen I am. On Tuesday, I’ll take out the twists and rock a bomb twist out. By Thursday, my hair is in a voguish, curly puff and I might rock my puff again on Friday depending on my mood.
With that being said, I’ve had a white male patient compliment my puff on a Thursday, saying “I really like your hair, it’s so cool!” A few weeks later that same patient came in on a Friday when I decided to wear an elegant bun and he said something like “Oh, it must be Friday because you look all calm now with your hair not so wild.” Excuse me sir, you WILL NOT hurt my feelings by keeping your mouth SHUT and not lying to my face about how cool you think my hair is. How ignorant of you to compliment my hair and a few weeks later, you indirectly admitted that you actually did not like it. Just because of that, I shall make it my duty to wear my voguish curly puff EVERY SINGLE TIME you walk into the clinic for a follow up appointment.
It’s not just patients though. I’ve had a coworker refer to my beautiful brown people as “colored” as if it’s not 2017. He also felt the need to randomly talk to me about politics and then pause and say “Oh you don’t care because you’re probably a democrat.” False, I don’t care to discuss politics because I know there’s a great GOD who trumps on Trump and every other person who’ve had a seat in the White House. False, I am not affiliated with the democratic party. Are you assuming this because of the color of my skin? I am actually non-party affiliated and you WILL NOT place my unspoken, political thoughts and opinions in a box.
Today is International Women’s Day and I’ve had the pleasure of hearing one of the most unenlightened comment from my manager who happens to be a woman. The clinic has a vacant position and we’ve been on the hunt to fill this position. My manager stated that she found an older woman with over 20 year of experience but she is on the fence about hiring her because of her age. In fact, she stated that we needed a “fresh face.” She continued the conversation saying, “I know I sound discriminatory but we’re women and we’re discriminated against everyday so (insert explicit word) that, I’m not hiring her.” Do I even have to explain why I was so thrown off by this comment?
All too often I hear people complaining about things that they believe
cannot be changed by themselves. We may not be able to directly change everything but we can create change indirectly. Your positive attitude and actions can create a ripple effect that sparks change in the hearts around you. It’s time you stand up for what you believe in and STOP trying to alter who you are because of the world around around you. Gandhi said it best:
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”