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Book 2

Page history last edited by Sara Burnett 7 years, 8 months ago

Name: Courtney


Live in St. Joseph, MN


I rent a 2 bedroom apartment.


I used to only identify myself as human, because frankly that question used to make me angry, however, with the political, racial, and social issues in the United States, I can no longer ignore my culture and where I stand when it comes to injustice.  I identify as mixed, but living in small town Minnesota, most only see black.  It's very complicated.


27 years old


I grew up in Paynesville, MN.  Grew up in a pretty normal, middle class family and never remember knowing the difference between rich and poor people in our community.  I think I was sheltered from that and from my culture as well.  I don't think my parents did that intentionally, they just really don't see color.  My sisters had each other, but I really didn't even know I was "different" until someone called me a burnt hotdog in kindergarten.  I have to mention that my mother had my graduating class (half in 2nd grade, the other half in 4th) so most of the things I got crap for was for that, not my race.  I guess I really didn't start exploring my African American Heritage until middle school, when I started developing and found music like Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill, and India Arie.

I went to Paynesville Schools until 11th grade, transferred my senior year to Perpich Arts High School, and then completed 2 years at MSU Mankato.


I have over 10 years experience in customer service related jobs including food service, bartending, telecommunications, retail management, and direct care staff for group homes.


Dad is a retired Corrections Officer, musician, and awesome dude. Mom is a retired school teacher, church deacon, and very involved in the community. Two older sisters, nine and ten years older than me, both with families of their own. 6 nieces and nephews ranging from 16 years old to 16 months!!! #proudauntie


As a MIXED woman, I hate generalizations, however, I've gotten it from both sides.  Living in Mankato, oh, hell yes.  I used to get racial slurs, ghetto references, and a slew of other rude remarks thrown my way.  The "Can I touch your hair??" question popped up everyday, or at night.  I was out at my friends bar one night, with a whole bunch of friends and a guy and his girlfriend literally, without asking me, reached around my friends back and tugged on my afro.  Me, being appalled, asked them why they thought that was ok. They continued to laugh saying, "We didn't think you'd feel it!! Haha!"  Needless to say, I got them kicked out.  My buddy who owned the bar was not having it.  Flip side: when I moved to North Minneapolis, all hell broke loose bc a 'light skinned' girl lived down the block.  I've gotten called yellow leather, brotha hater, ignorant, ugly etc.  Not to mention people trying to start verbal arguments with me.  I literally could go on for days on this question alone (the question was regarding any negative experiences because of race).  The worst is when my family and I go out together, grandkids and all, and we still get stares!  It's 2015!!


Anyway, something happens either verbal, staring, or just plain rude at least twice a week because of my skin color.  Just two weeks ago I had someone call me a "nigger bull dyke" to my face after standing up for a Somolian woman who didn't understand what the cashier meant.  I helped her bc the cashier wasn't being very professional, and the guy behind her was an ass and started saying the typical learn English, blah blah bigot blah, so I told him he needed to stop.  He was not having that so, that's what I guess helped boost his ego at the time. I just started laughing hysterically and said I'd rather be a nigger bull dyke than someone who spreads hate because they have no love for themselves.  I'm telling you, nothing really gets under my skin anymore because I've had to defend myself SOOOOO MUCH over the years.

Oh, the stereotypes!  Black women are not angry! Are we passionate? YES.  Do we stand up for injustice?  YES.  Do I appreciate ALL of the stereotypes bc of media, movies, and crap tv shows?  Yes and no.  Black woman are perceived as the hard asses of the family that won't take shit from no baby, no man, and certainly not another female.  Truth to that?  Yes and no.  Black woman have been fighting harder than anybody for the last 200 years, so do you think all this passion just disappears?  But we are also sensitive, smart, beautiful, lush, educated, hurt, and negative and positive women.  I don't think you can ever lump one category of he/she, black/white people into one TYPE of being.


One type I wish could be broken is the term ghetto.  It's just an ugly word, and it rings a falseness to an entire community.  Honestly, when I lived in North Minneapolis, it was the closest thing I've known to a community.  People looked out for you, told you where NOT to go, had Sunday cookouts, helped shovel driveways, looked out for each others kids, etc..  And people would gasp when I told them I lived on Colfax and 41st.  I loved it, even throughout some people tried to name call, but I've had that happen way more in rural areas than cities.  My neighbors would stick up for me immediately.


Another stereotype is that all black women are man hungry, uneducated, and gold diggers.  Or that we all have kids to suck at the teat of the federal government.  Completely false. Look at the stats and how long people of color stay on food stamps.  Most people of color I know on assistance are going back to school, work a job, and still are a huge positive part of their communities.  Also, there will ALWAYS be people who take advantage of one system or another, but that is crappy people based, not racially based.  Like I said, stereotypes for days.


One last thing: when you see a mixed person of ANY RACIAL BACKGROUND; do not justify how you speak bc we are mixed race.  I've heard it all: 'But you're so white!?': 'Ooh, when you got angry, you sounded like a (fill in the blank)' : 'So, how come your nieces and nephews are like, different SHADES OF BROWN?'.  THIS IS RUDE AND EMBARRASSING!!!! Read a book, take a history class, and stop believing the stereotypes on television.  Saying, "I was just curious", as a grown person does not cut it anymore.

I have clinical depression, generalized anxiety and am a recovering alcoholic.  I think a lot of my issues come through my genes, but truly feeling not good enough for either side of who I was for a very long time definitely fed my addiction.  I only really started sticking up for myself about 2 years ago when I was just done with hearing ignorance pour out of peoples' mouths.  I started speaking up and I don't regret it at all.  I don't think people should be judged on skin color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, none of it!  If a person truly is a good person, that's what matters.  If they can respect someone even if they disagree, I respect that.  I can't change how I was born, just the words that I speak and how it effects others.


I don't need others to know much about me except I ask that they truly need to take a day and realize how we all judge one another on a second to second basis.  Slow down and get to know others before you judge.  Take time to get to know someone with a completely opposite viewpoint.  Take time to get to know yourself, what you stand for, and WHY YOU STAND FOR IT. STAND APART FROM THE CROWD. DO WHATS RIGHT EVEN WHEN YOUR WHOLE CLIQUE SAYS NO.  Life is too short to make mistakes on someone else's account.

Five words to describe me:  passionate, loving, musical, quirky, and one-of-a-kind


Do you see me differently now?


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