"A good girl: bright, perhaps a bit of an introvert, perhaps not romantically pursued or interested in the pursuit for these reasons. Of course, these traits are likely not all she is, but when she is told that her brownness negates her goodness, she must determine how to be herself—all of herself—anyway. Tropism is the biological phenomenon that describes how she does it. In tropism, external agents determine the direction of an organism’s growth. For better or worse, it is often external agents that show a good girl of color how to grow into herself; they determine what she will look like and how she will act."
...common roles illustrate how Black women, and their sexuality, have often been synonymous with deviance. And reclaiming, repackaging, and/or discarding the roles has given women agency; a control denied the Good Girl who is essentially invisible. She needs that.
Why, yes, another poem! **curtsies** This is from a chapbook-on-hard-drive known as Invitations Not To Be Denied. I'll show it to y'all one of these days, but for now... MY VIVID IMAGINATION PAINTS YOU, INSTEAD, GREY Your breath in the morning—sour milk like a baby we knew would never happen but dreamt library cards and [...]
He took sex instead of your life; maybe the glass bottle he threw at you missed; you were named “bitch” and any other list of monikers that do not appear on your birth certificate; the old woman turned on the porch light and startled him and his pistol away; he left you in the street alone and lost in a city that was not your own. You made it out alive. None of those were missteps of the fragile male ego or drunkenness. They were not about how you lead him on or were rude or rash when you refused to comply to his demand for your attention. They were about the agency you have over your life and how you live it and being denied that agency so often
Their fairytale fits an acceptable narrative we are inclined to admire. I cannot imagine the biracial Obama married to a white woman or highlighting--in any definitive way--his primary raising by his white grandparents and his very privileged raising from private schools on through his Harvard days. These choices, too, are parts of the narrative we are fed and need to nourish us, I suppose, considering the moment at which he and his family emerged on the scene. But then there are moments in which I have to wipe clear the glass in this boxed story.
1. I'm in the fourth or fifth grade. In our small town, in the 80s, this makes me old enough to walk downtown without adult supervision. Which is what me, my twin, and our sister Debbie are doing. A man in a red car drives slowly following us trying to lure us into his vehicle. [...]
Growing up, my father was adamant--okay downright angry--when his friends and onlookers would say in awesome wonder, "Five girls?! Man-n-n-n you got trouble" that he didn't have anything like that.