Woman of Color – POV by Andrea B. Reyes

Afro-PunkShocker – Did you know.. that I am a woman of color? Pah! This is news to me too. Up until a few weeks ago the labels I identified with were dramatic, fashionista, tenacious, passionate, exotic… there are a few other not so nice labels but no need to mention those.

My background – I suppose my background is unique. My background is mixed, my mother is German and Irish, and my father is Puerto Rican. Happily married for 32 year, I grew up in a hippie household where there were no labels, a mixture of different traditions, and a culture that was unique to our household.

My Society – Told me I had to label myself  when moved to New York City, a mere 37  miles away. What are you was the question at hand. I’m from Jersey was the obvious first reply but that was not the desired answer.  To me.. the label woman of color is used when uniting a group to over come an obstacle or a source of oppression. 

I have never thought my color, race, or creed has been an obstacle for my success. If anything my curly hair, tan skin, and shapeliness were features that my mother and others taught me were beautiful, and desired. 

As a small business owner it is my job to create A. Bernadette’s company culture. Here we work with mostly women, of all backgrounds. We talk about women’s rights. We talk about loving our bodies, our characters, and one another. We promote positivity above all. There is no self hatred allowed. There is enough images and situations where we are encouraged to feel less than beautiful, smart, and loved. 

Unity is my vision – Using my hispanic heritage, white privilege, or labels that pit me against other groups do nothing to unit us. I am not going to use my color now as an opportunity to succeed or a crutch to give myself permission to not succeed. Many believe we need more discussions about race relations which I agree with but there needs to be equal amount of unity discussions. What makes us the same? Problems are discussed but intense discussions on solutions need to occur also.

Afropunk – A. Bernadette invites you to come visit us August 22nd, 23rd, & 24th at Afro-punk to continue the conversation. I have had amazing conversations on this topic in the past weeks and would LOVE to keep it going!

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