Things seem absolutely mundane to me nowadays. As our house is old and worn, ("Our furnishings are typical and undistinguished...and they are tired") (p 23) I feel old and worn of this house and the lifestyle surrounded by this house. Life has gone on, but this house hasn't-- the furnishings and everything are stale, and I'm a part of modern life, not the life the house still surrounds itself with.
Every morning, I hear Ruth get her little family ready for breakfast. I still cannot believe that a woman of thirty could have a son at the age of eleven-- if I ever were to get pregnant, or let alone married by such an age, I would be missing out on so much life has to offer, even with blatant white oppression. By God, I'm 20! With Ruth, it's apparent that "life has been little that she expected", and I wish to make it more than ever expected. Her and Walter fuss almost every morning, too-- this time over Walter and his friends...and a million other little unimportant snip-its, later including her son. I don't wish to be worn and tired at thirty like her, but proud.
I overheard Ruth say, "There are colored men who do things", and Walter replied, "No thanks to the colored woman" (pg 34).
Sure, times have changed. Ever since the second world war, things have been much different. Women began working more, especially with the absence of men. But what about black women? As Walter stated, and as many white and colored men state, black women are not the ones to be recognized, or even of any help to their male counterparts. They are last. As tragedy strikes, new opportunities seem to fly open for a young black woman such as myself, but they have to be fought for harder than even a white woman.
I've definitely had to distinguish myself hard to be where I am today. When I say opportunities have arisen, I mean opportunities for people like me who have to push harder than the majority of America's population. Majority, of course, being the whites. I deserve my current opportunities, for a black woman such as myself rarely finds such an outlet even with the changes in time.
By distinguish, I must add that I've had to drop the dialect of even my family members I live with. I speak "...a mixture of many things...education has permeated [my] sense of English" (pg 35). I cannot even be fully black to be an educated black woman-- I have to, in a sense, drop my initial identity and mesh it with the white community's dialect. That might seem like too much of a loss to bear, but I am giving myself an opportunity by changing. My family sure doesn't like it-- well, especially Walter. He mocks me for wanting to be a doctor, even stating "Ain't many girls who decide to be a doctor" (pg 36). Just like this old nasty house, Walter is stuck with old nasty stereotypes. I feel that for many black people, they cannot change their identity and allow even themselves to move up in positions that were previously banned to them...
Sometimes I break, like I did today, saying "forgive me for wanting to be anything at all", shouting over and over again "forgive me" at the top of my lungs (pg 37). I cannot tell if Walter is jealous or uncomfortable with my position in life at college, but either way I do not feel I should actually have to apologize for wanting to become something more than what he expects from his life.
If I didn't have Mama, I don't think I'd be anywhere in life. All the criticisms from my brother only mark the small peak of the reactions I can feel from others because of the position I am taking. My Mama is so sweet-- I get so frustrated with her, but the woman is so caring. Her ideals and everything do not match with mine, but her heart is truly full of goodness even though she drives me crazy with her tyrannical ways. She always wants us to eat-- me, Ruth, Travis...it gets annoying, especially with her old customs of "no cold breakfast" when it comes to winter (pg 40). But she's given all that she has to keep this family together, and is helping me through school. She might be a bit of that 'perfect black woman' I am trying to avoid, but she's so great at heart-- she calls us "working people" (pg 42), incapable of business, but I know it's just the way she was raised.
"Aint nobody tryin' to stop you" (pg 47), says Mama, and yet it seems everyone has to fuss about my many ambitions in life...can't even get them off my case for the fact I don't want to marry a snobbishly-rich black man...neither Mama nor God has any kind of power over my decisions. Mama's ideas are her own, and God himself is an idea. I'm not going to let the idea of God, which gives my mother her own ideas, force me into losing my place. I identify myself as a strong black woman reaching for more than a modern black woman normally strives for, and I'm especially not going to let the household of black people living in the PAST ruin my POSTMODERN ideas.