Daily Archives

October 9, 2018

  • Misc

    Being Ready to Vote

    Being Ready to Vote

    Do you vote on class president? Do you vote for homecoming court? How is your prom queen or king chosen? Do you get a vote during class for certain activities? You’ve probably been voting since a young age, and you just never thought about what that truly means. It means you have a voice. You get to decide somewhat of what the outcome of something is. It may be a collective vote where your choice didn’t win, but at least you got the option to vote in favor or against something.

    When I was in high school I never imagined myself voting, whether that meant for state elections or for presidency. I never cared much about politics or what that meant for me. Somehow, I found myself in a situation where my vote would have counted had I chosen to give my input on something. My friends wanted to decide what we were doing for the evening, and they all took a vote. There were seven of us, but I chose not to say anything, because I didn’t want to come off too picky. The vote totaled out with three wanting to go ice skating, and four wanting to go to the movies. I really wanted to go ice skating, and had I voted we would have had to come to some other option.

    It may seem silly that I’m relating my vote for what to do on a Saturday night versus voting for a president, but it does make sense. It was something that I wanted to do and chose not to do anything about. There are probably times where you critique the president in power or say something negative about a local judge or governor. You have the power to do something about it. It all starts now, when you’re young and are not quite old enough to vote. You should be doing research on the candidates, look into how there run in office may shape your future.

    If you think about it, the older generation in power get to say what the younger generation can and should do. We can make a difference in how our future is shaped by voting when we are old enough, or by being aware of our surroundings while we’re still young. You could probably check with local candidates and try to join their campaign teams. You might not be old enough to vote yet, but that does not mean you can’t know the candidates well enough to voice your opinion to those who can vote.

    Here are some links to check out regarding voting and campaigns:

    • If you are 18 or older and live in Alabama, you can register to vote at this site: https://sos.alabama.gov/alabama-votes/voter/register-to-vote
    • If you are 18 years or older and live in a different state than Alabama, go to google and type in: register to vote in [your state].
    • Alabama political parties: https://ballotpedia.org/Political_parties_in_Alabama
    • If you want to volunteer for someone’s campaign: look up their information on google, search their website for volunteer opportunities. If there are no volunteer options on the site, then call the number they have listed at the bottom of their web page.
  • Writing

    Transitioning Into My Natural Hair

    Transitioning Into My Natural Hair

    As a black woman, hair is an important and imperative part of how I have navigated this world, and essentially, my own identity. I can’t remember the first time I had a perm, but I remember the recurring anger that built up in my small, elementary school body every time the beautician ran a relaxer through my scalp. To say the least, it was painful and having to repeat the process took me away from truly accepting myself outside of the beauty standards that were already constructed for me. I was always jealous of my granddad, my father, and my brother because all they had to do was go to the barbershop and sit in a chair. Forcibly, I realized the strain of my own femininity was unable to mesh with the skewed perspectives of others; I then sought to align my own unique ideas of beauty with my physicality, leaving no space for unnecessary critiques and taking my own womanhood into my hands.

    With the encouragement from my peers and other like minded individuals my own age, I went into the bathroom one day (when I was a senior in high school) and completely chopped my hair off. The immediate response from family members was filled with complete shock, but on my own accord, I felt the purest form of liberation. It was as if I’d washed away the outside world and the only reliable source of comfort came from inside of myself. Beforehand, as I was contemplating and deliberately sitting on whether or not I was going to “revamp” myself, I found solstice in Willow Smith’s song “Female Energy” and Amandla Stenberg’s 2016 viral video Don’t Cashcrop My Cornrows, which spoke on the fetishization of blackness (black hair, specifically) in hip hop culture. Aside from the fact that we were the same age, I admired how confident she seemed to be in who she was and how comfortable she was with educating the world on something that occurs as frequently as it does throughout American history: the dehumanization and objectification of black people across the globe. As I opened the door of transitioning into a new life with my hair, I simultaneously felt a shift in terms of how I viewed race that grounded me because I had never known the more serious, systematic or cultural effects of it.

    Uncovering a new sense of identity for myself was nerve racking because I had never been allowed the safe space to unpack how I viewed myself in my own terms and my own merit. I had internalized every thinkable concept of eurocentricity and tried to apply it to my life. Because of this, the self hatred I developed was spilling into harmful thoughts, comparison to others, and depleting me of the energy I felt to define my own life. I, slowly, began to realize how unfair and how much of a disservice that was on my behalf with a simple decision to isolate myself and be reborn again through the essence of my hair.