Past, Present, Future

I wrote this free write after viewing “And Still I Rise.” I attempted to write about the past of the Black female body, the messages that she has been receiving throughout the century, and her response to the messages. I wrote this essay with a first person view because as I watched the video, I felt like I was the Black women trapped in the cage, the Black women raped during slavery by the white men, I felt and still feel the stereotypes society placed upon them.

Feeling uncomfortable of the past of my people, I dismissed the beginning as an act. The harsh reality took the images off the stage and they became physical entities that I must confront. Science, the subject that I love, used as a weapon to rate me inferior. The science was false, an impostor that wore the guise of intelligence. Society sees my body as something sexual, but yet, I am desexualized because I am too sexual. White men see me as a trap, a monster that lures them to do the unforgivable. Rape. I am seen as dirt, not human enough for my assault and molestation to be recognized as a crime. I enjoyed it. I wanted it. I asked for it. In trying to reclaim my morals and show the white society that I too am a lady, I shun my past and my sisters. This divide creates more of a stereotype and feeds to the others that already exist. I am different because I am not like my immoral sisters. Playing into the white man’s trap. I dig a grave for my sisters and at the end, for myself. I am nothing in their world. Not human. Not woman. I am nothing so I do not feel pain, I do not struggle to be alive. I am an animal on display, so I must smile and show my colorful feathers to reassure them that I am not a threat. My history, my culture, my soul is erased. I am only here for their pleasure. I have no distinct features other than the one that their false science has marked and said to be inferior. This is their words, their thoughts, their world.

In my world, our world, there is music, there is happiness, dancing, color, and freedom. There is the flame that still continues to burn despite all attempts to smother it. Together we will find freedom and value. Just give it time. Everything comes in due time.

Whenever I reread those words, it reminds me that the world that our ancestors lived in still hasn’t changed dramatically for Black women. There is still a struggle to walk down the streets without being harassed, either by our fellow Black men, the police, or strangers that feel entitled. This current society, the government, it all seems like a closed room where only the rich, white, and powerful can live within and dictate the rules.  Some in the Black communities are tired and fed up with what is happening and hopefully soon there will be changes to follow due to the outcries that will come when the blood of murdered Black men, women, and children flood the streets of the United States.

One thought on “Past, Present, Future

  1. Your free write is really powerful, Milinda. I feel your really capture the heart not only of the documentary but also of Angelou’s poem. The only thing I would add is after your last line (“Everything comes in due time.”): Isn’t our “due time” overdue?


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