Miss Jim Crow
Mommy, I Want To Look Like Her
State University of New York, New Paltz
Internalized racism dominated my childhood in subtle, sometimes undetectable ways. I did not always understand why my friend’s mothers shied away from putting glitter in my mass of curls at slumber parties. I could not find an appropriate explanation as to why I could not go swimming with my friends except for that I spent too many hours on the floor between my mother’s legs as she yanked and prodded the kinks from my head. I failed to fight back tears every time I went to a hair salon, as I wailed and pleaded to have straight blonde hair like my closest friends. And even now, with full awareness, there are moments of unconscious envy for my companions who effortlessly achieve Eurocentric beauty standards; ones I know I would race to claim if only I could.
Being raised in an Afro Latino household while existing in a predominantly white area led me to create a series of works that reflects the external and internal fears, dangers, exhausting emotions, and occasional victories that existed in my household from generation to generation.