Performing Cheer: The Struggles of a Black Introvert

Now anyone who has interacted with me in person for more than like 5 seconds would probably not call me the most extroverted person. I tend to be reserved when meeting new people, and even when I warm up to you, I’m never the most open person when it comes to my emotional state. Unless it’s shade. I throw that left and right =D

In any case, there was a meeting with my the department and program supervisors a couple of weeks ago to discuss the rotations and give/receive feedback. One of the things that really stuck with me was their criticisms of my demeanor. They all mentioned that because I was not outwardly demonstrative, it was hard to read my emotions. They took this lack as a negative-viewing me as withdrawn and unenthused.

And it has really weighed on me since. Even now, it upsets me just thinking about it.

White privilege means that there’s already an assumption of “service” where Black women are concerned. Whether it be physically (like being constantly mistaken as an employee) or emotionally (catering to white tears) it is exhausting. Combined with the research showing that black emotions are constantly misread in an exaggerated way, it makes for a rollercoaster of an environment.

Just imagine. Think about all the facial expressions and ticks you have. What is your face doing right now? Is it smiling. Is it frowning. Is it neutral? How do you think other people are reading your face right now? Maybe you should smile more. Talk louder. Oop! Not too loud. People will mistake you for angry. So on and so forth. Day after day after day without end.

Why is it not enough to do my job? Why must I also be happy and bubbly and cute? Why must I make sure that I do the “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” work?

~sigh~ And so the struggle continues.



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