In the article "How It Feels to Be Colored Me,” Zora Neale Hurston narrates how she was raised in a color community. When she was a little girl she was not aware that she was black. It was by the time she was sent to school that she realized the fact. This new racial identity would not make her feel bad about herself .
Hurston was a strong, determined woman and somehow being colored would make her stronger. She says, “I have seen that the world is to the strong regardless of a little pigmentation”(41).She knew who she really was and no skin color was going to make her feel limited. Hurston states, “I do not belong to the sobbing school of Negrohood who hold that nature somehow has given them a lowdown dirty deal and whose feelings are all hurt about it” (41). She expresses “Slavery is the price I paid for civilization, and the choice was not with me. It is a bully adventure and worth all that I have paid through my ancestors for it” (41). In other words, she feels that her success in society is important and significant after all the things that black men went through in history. She seems to see her past as a challenging opportunity for her to accomplish in life. She expresses, “No one on earth ever had a greater chance for glory” (41). She states, “The world to be won and nothing to be lost” (41). Basically, she thinks that life is to fight and succeed and not to let opportunities go. Hurston emphasizes how important her personal identity is and how confident she is about herself: “At certain times I have no race, I am me” (42). She says, “I belong to no race nor time” (42). By this, she makes us understand that being part of a social group is not as important as having strong self values.
Hurston doesn’t disagree with her origin and does not mind recognizing it: “I have no separate feeling about being an American citizen and colored. My country, right or wrong” (42). It is clear that she does not think that the fact of being discriminated against, should make her feel inferior, because she knows she is a valuable person. If others don’t want to be around her, they are the ones missing out. She says, “Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company!” (42). Hurston thinks that all people are equally important as well as different and that everyone plays an important role in society.
Neale Hurston, Zora. “How It Feels to Be Colored Me.” Connections: A Multicultural Reader
for Writers. Editor Judith A. Stanford. California: Mayfield, 1997. 99-103.