There is a Civil War that has already ended, and there’s one that is still going on today, tensions between black and white squeezing the noose around my neck.
I feel like we’re in the 60s—the time when my black ancestors fought for treatment that transcends racial boundaries and were met with violence from the mind and body; a time when they fought to be who they were unapologetically; a time when they fought so I wouldn’t have to be afraid of who I am. Turns out we’re fighting that war today, and this war is both a white and black division I struggle to survive from.
I wore my hair out in its natural form for the first time ever, despite the hushed whispers mumbled at the back of my neck, or the hole on my left temple that was drilled by the glare of the kid sitting next to me in lecture. My chest heaves with the added weight of this Blackness. It felt terrifyingly awful. I felt entirely Black for the first time.
A poetic commentary on the experience of Black people in America, specifically regarding disproportionate incarceration and society’s tendency to box marginalized groups into negative stereotypes and roles. Writer Nichole Shaw reflects on the guest lecture and performance of hip-hop recording artist, actor, film producer, poet, and activist Common at the University of Iowa’s renowned Hancher Auditorium.
A conversation with and lecture by Diane Guerrero, daughter of Colombian immigrants and successful actor in “Orange Is The New Black” and “Jane the Virgin.” A Boston native, she argues we have a lot to do for immigration reform in actually making a pathway to citizenship while learning to love yourself and others.
In a world today where white people seem to be fascinated by black appearance, they take what aspects they like and want without considering the consequence of their actions, without considering how those actions affect the black community they’ve exploited. And then those white people reap the profits.
itch in my scalp, prickling with your
judgement at my mixed skin,
black and white like the stripes.
banded with division, united in
being—existence a constant oxymoron.
I mill about, surveying the 40 people who have inhabited this concert space tonight while the ceiling fans sit stagnant in their emerald green glory. Their lights illuminate the venue, giving me a concrete view of the crowd that’s crawled out of their homes and offices on Super Tuesday night to kick back and enjoy a show featuring two strong women—Lily DeTaeye and Emily Scott Robinson.
She wraps herself in a fuzzy blanket and curls into a ball, lint sticking to her leggings and wax building an impasse in her ears, shielding herself from the misconceptions shot her way. She meets my gaze, says, “There’s chaos going on in my head at all times.”
Nichole Shaw reads “Feeling Like a Stranger in One’s Own Home: Being Black (published in Verve Magazine),” “Mine,” and “Ashes to White Blackness” for Witching Hour at the esteemed Englert Theatre.