Review of "What Its Like to Be a Black Girl"

Topics: White people, Black people, Race and Ethnicity Pages: 2 (475 words) Published: September 3, 2012
The poem I selected was “What it’s like to be a Black Girl (For those who don’t know)”. This is a poem written by Patricia Smith. The three elements of the poem that I found to be engaging were the tone, the content, and the language that the author uses. This poem struck some feelings in me. Therefore I am taking a descriptive approach to my response.

As a black woman I felt somewhat belittled by the tone that this author uses in this poem. She speaks about the idea of being a black girl as being someone who is constantly trying to become someone she is not. It made me feel as if her thoughts were that being a black girl was all about wanting to be a white girl. And I did not agree with that at all. She writes “it’s dropping food coloring in your eyes to make them blue and suffering their burn in silence. It’s popping a bleached white mophead over the kinks of your hair and primping in front of mirrors that deny your reflection” (Clugston). I feel like all girls are not happy with their reflection at some point in time. Being unhappy about you hair, your weight, or your clothes is all about being a girl. To seclude that feeling to just black girls is reducing the character of black girls. The tone she takes is also negatively reflected when she speaks about black girls and men. Smith writes “it’s finally having a man reach out for you then caving in around his fingers” (Clugston). The language uses here when she says “finally” strikes me. As if to say this at last a black girl finally “got a man” but then goes to say that she basically sub comes to him. It paints the imaginative picture that black girls are weak and needy. This is not true!

The content from which she speaks has some reality to it as well. The idea of a black girls with mop heads for hair it’s a good reflection of black women today. A lot of black women enhance their looks with hair extensions or even straighten their natural hair so that it flows. It don’t feel that its because we...
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