Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day


Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Day everyone. This is such a special day and as much as I wanted to participate in the parade, I have some obligations that held me back from that.

This day should be a day of celebration, but it's a day that saddens me. I look around my community and see nothIng but stereotypes being lived out day in and day out. Yes, there are some exceptions, bu otherwise, people are continuing to live out the "standards" of being a "black" person. Why is it that African-Americans are not striving to beat the status quo and become better people? I feel like my community is stuck in an ignorant box and the people are not willing to change. I see the same drug, sex, and money problems that were going on in the inner cities of NYC back in the 70s and 80s.

What does it mean to be "black"? Well, here's a bit of the stereotypes I see in my community:
1. Relaxed hair and/or weave is a must in order to attract men.
2. Wearing urban fashion designers and exactly matching everything in the outfit with something.
3. If you have "dreads" they have to be either sister locs for the ladies or for the hood boys, either be medium thick or three huge locs :/
4. Improper sentences are a must as far as language is concerned.
5. Education is either done in school or on the streets.
6. Having a lot of nice jewelry, a nice car, and designer clothes makes you a quality man, yet if there's no intelligence behind it, it's okay.
7. Children are getting skinnier by the day because the parents are so focused on making sure the children and themselves look fly, but don't have enough to feed their kids properly.

Now, if you don't follow all of the stereotypes, you're considered "white" or that you think you are better than everyone else. With that being said, a lot of people who pas by my house while I'm doing photos shoots, they stare, like I'm a freak show, or they size me like they have something to say. For all of the people, African American or not, that just can't stand seeing a middle size African American woman with locs, long legs, and unique (and slightly awkward) physical features blog about fashion that does not include purchasing label-covered designer clothing but wears things that are not splashed with designers logos except quality bags, let me give you a phrase to remember me by...

Kiss My Grits!!

Dr. King Jr. fought for us to have rights and to be able to have the same opportunities as Caucasian Americans/European decent Caucasian Americans do. This extended to Asian-Americans, Indian-Americans, Native-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and other Americans of different ethnic backgrounds. Dr. King Jr. wanted us to all come together as one group, Americans. Dr. King Jr. would probably hop out of his grave to speak to the African American community just because of how things are still the same. Sometimes, I wonder is he is shaking his head when he looks at my community. If it saddens me so much, it must deeply hurt him.

I am not trying to be the "I'm better than other black people" person because hell, I make the same mistakes and sometimes I use ebonics too. But the difference is, I know when to use proper English when it's time to be serious and work. I know when to restrict my style in order to move up or get more opportunities. If we, as in African Americans and those who are heavily influences by the culture, can take a moment and just stop. Stop following the stereotype and try something new. Not everything has to be newly purchased. You don't have to deal drugs in order to be successful. The stereotypes are there to keep you from progressing. Push the stereotypes down and be somebody. Instead of trying to be in competition with each other and being negative towards each other, help each other. Let's come together as a community and work to build each other up. Otherwise, we will begin to lose ourselves.

I leave you with the historic speech that changed life in the African-American community. Some say Dr. King Jr. isn't all that special. Those who say that are stuck in a time before August 28, 1963.

We Shall Overcome!

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have A Dream" Speech In Full

Sarah Jane R.

P.S. A big THANK YOU! goes out to Michaniya C. of Finally Accepting All Of Me for the blogger feature. You are truly a stylish woman in my eyes and it's an honor to be featured on your blog :) Check the feature out here.


  1. Oh my goodness! Can you please submit this post to IFB? It is so good! I loved reading it and getting your unique perspective on this topic!

  2. Great post! Important to stop and appreciate what MLK day is all about.

  3. Such a Beautiful post!!!! Martin Luther King Jr. Day was extremely important to me because without him I wouldn't be here today since I am half white half black. My grandma went to college with him in Georgia and heard him speak. Her stories are amazing!!!


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