January 20, 2010

And, We Are Back!

On behalf of the Office of Intercultural Affairs, I hope that our readers had a restful and relaxing winter break. For those of you just joining us, this blog is maintained by our fantastic work study students who have the task of writing reflective entries about race and diversity. For the most part, the entries are not edited for content nor structure. Since this blog represents the "voice" of our students, we believe in the honesty and integrity of the entries.

So, we hope you continue to follow our students as they write about their personal experiences and reflections! Happy new year, and welcome to the Spring semester!

Liza Talusan, Director of Intercultural Affairs

Joniece is a senior at Stonehill. She is the Chair of the Diversity Committee (Student Government Association) and an active member of the community. She is a 2nd year Resident Assistant.

From Joniece:

How do stereotypes of black women effect the way we raise black girls?

People are defined by what they do and not always by who they really are. My experiences and social situations have shaped not only who I am but also who I am becoming. Over time, I have realized that society plays a major role in many of the significant decisions that I have made in my life. Due to personal experience, being a Black Lower Middle class female has its advantages and disadvantages based on the environment that I may be in at any given time. Because of my appearance I am required to answer questions that not everyone has to answer, and oftentimes I find myself defending who I am not only to people that do not look like me, but also to people that look like me.

Because I am a black woman, oftentimes other black people expect me to fall into some sort of “statistic” and have children now if not sooner. When I see people from high school or even in the past when I have met guys, one of their first questions to me is “how many kids do you have?” I feel very insulted when I hear this question. It seems as if people group all black females from Roxbury into a single category and assume that we are all pregnant or already have children. I have heard from different males that I know in Boston that girls from Roxbury have a bad reputation. It seems that it is thought that all of us are very sexually advanced and will just have sex with anyone. Since I am nothing like any of the stereotypes described I still do not like that this is sometimes the first impression that people will have of me. This could also possibly hinder someone from getting to know who I really am outside of the negative views of girls that live in proximity to me. I have found that when I initially meet other black people, presumably males, I do not immediately tell them where I live. I let them get to know who I am first and then I disclose the appropriate information. This allows people to base their views of me on my personality and they type of person that I am.