Zahria Hart is a freshman journalism major and does "Culture Crush" for The Ball State Daily News. Her opinions do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper.
My name is Zahria Hart, and I am black and I am proud.
Zahria from two years ago would have struggled to say those words — If I'm being completely honest, I was embarrassed and angry. I was embarrassed by some of the stereotypes and boxes people who label me in, like loud, ghetto and nappy. I was angry about what was and still is happening to my people in the prison system. In 2018 Sentencing Project found in a study that for U.S. residents born in 2001, one in three black men will face imprisonment at some point in their life. I was angry that my natural kinky hair had become frowned upon by people outside, and even inside, my race. I was angry that I had to keep forgiving people who would "accidentally" discriminate against me — like the moments where people tell straight to my face that I was “pretty for a black girl.” I didn't know how to feel, and I still don't all the time.
And I know I am not the only one with this story.
For the past couple of weeks, I asked my family and friends one question: where do you think this misunderstanding of black culture comes from? Surprisingly, I got very similar answers — they said it was the lack of conversation and listening. When reflecting on their answers, I realized that sometimes when white people ask black people questions, we either look at them with this “I do not want answer this” glare, or we make them feel silly and stupid for asking. There are those outside the black community who don't care to learn, but there are also people in my community that prefer to keep certain topics in the "don't talk about" pile.
People need to start talking and opening their ears, and that's the sole purpose of “Culture Crush.” Every two weeks, I will be talking about people and topics that some might be scared to address. I hope that my listeners will understand that the goal is not to make others feel judged and uncomfortable, but to educate. Let's crush those stereotypes and biases you may have — let’s say "goodbye" to uneducated assumptions.
Let's crush it.