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Insider's View into a Young Black Girl's Transition into Black Woman-Hood at a Time Where Both Being a Black Girl and a Black Woman Was Not as Welcomed.

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Essay Preview: Insider's View into a Young Black Girl's Transition into Black Woman-Hood at a Time Where Both Being a Black Girl and a Black Woman Was Not as Welcomed.

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In this paper I will compare and contrast poem What Its like to Be a Black Girl by Patricia Smith and the short story The Welcome Table by Alice Walker. The poem and short story are similar in that the protagonist are living in a world that finds them undesirable. The two differ in that the poem takes place at the beginning of a black woman's journey while the short story is at the end of an old black woman's journey. Although one is a poem and the other a short story both share a common theme: the cruel affects racism and discrimination has on black women.

"Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned" the affects racism has on people will never change. Discrimination is embedded in America's history and touches the everyday lives of many black women daily. Every day little girls are bombarded by images of blue eyes and white skin. No doubt these images are taken with them into their womanhood. The food and slimming industries have benefited from the stereotyped image if women perpetuated by the media. "The perfect woman is slim, odourless, beautiful, youthful and white- the idea of a beautiful black woman seems to be a contradiction in terms. (p92) This media exposure affects how society perceive the black female as well as how she views herself. This perception affects how she is treated by society.

ack journalist white media

Smith's poem amply titled "What it's like to be a Black Girl (for those of you who aren't)" is a story within a poem. Smith's vernacular embodies the voice of a nine year old young black girl. I can hear the young girls voice from the first line to the last. The young protagonist body is changing from a child to an adult; she is experiencing puberty, "It's being 9 years old and feeling like you're not finished," writes Smith, "like your edges are wild, like there's something, everything, wrong." (Smith, 4)

Puberty can be scary time. The changes that a girl's body goes through during puberty evokes all kinds of thoughts and emotion. Many girls do feel as though its something is 'wrong".

The protagonist world is further confounded by an unwelcoming society. A society that has media that says white is beautiful. In her puberty stricken world tries to cope on her own way. Smith 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 the mirrors that deny your reflection." (Smith, 9) Dropping food color color in her eyes, and bleaching her hair is symbolic of her need to be thought of as "beautiful", hence, having value in a society that she yearns to accept her. Just as a "white

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