We’ve been thinking a lot about positions and perspectives - how they define who we are, and how we define the world. We invited a few of our contributors to share their perspectives with us.
Geographically? A small town in upstate South Carolina. Figuratively? I am actually still trying to figure out the exact details. Growing up with loving parents and a super supportive family definitely fueled my current independence. Their love and encouragement gave me the strength and motivation to pursue my passions. Attending an interracial church also had a huge impact on my spirituality and my views on present day society.
My identity is grounded in Christ and stems from what He says I am. With that in mind, I try to take a step back from situations or problems I am facing and ask myself “how would I convey these feelings to someone else that may not share my faith or have the same perspective as a young black woman.” If the poems I create come from an authentic voice—one that doesn’t try to take on a dishonest personality or seeks to manipulate emotions–then I know I’ve added meaningful dialogue to the world. That is essentially the heart of my works—to create honest and edifying dialogue.
Umm…lots of things? Where I will be in ten years. Whether or not I should adopt another cat (you can never have too many). Whether or not people will continue to walk in willful ignorance towards the racial issues that plague minorities. I wonder where my voice fits among all the others shouting for attention.
Both poems are spoken from the uncertainties that come with being a Black American in a Eurocentric society. One voice is struggling with this idea of a higher being that seems to be invented by the same group that enslaved and continues to oppress. How can worth come from the same god that justifies the dismantling of an ethnic group’s identity? The other voice is speaking from a place of desperation and hopelessness. Needing to find relief but knowing that seeking help could cause further isolation due to the stigmas of mental illness within the Black community.