Student Blog 2017-2018
By Kelis Saunders, AP Lit Student
As time passes, I find myself increasingly relating to Beneatha Younger, one of the main characters of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun. We both are young African-American women, at or near college age, ambiguous in our interests but steady in our ambitions, and are opening ourselves culturally and personally to a side of ourselves previously unexplored. Beneatha, though just a bit more blunt than I, represents the type of woman I can admire.
Beneatha Younger has the life goal of becoming a doctor, bold in her day of even more blatant racism and discrimination, whilst I plan on joining the field of music business. Both goals are difficult to achieve in their own way. Beneatha is undoubtedbly more ambitious than myself, but unlike her I want to make life financially easier on my family, not harder. I’d like to pay for my education myself and my hobbies are much less expensive, bar the passed urge to learn the violin I begged for about four years ago.
Culturally, Beneatha had her eyes opened by an African man named Asagai, and cut her straightened hair as an oath to learn more about her culture. I too was enlightened on how I perceive my cultural identity only a year or two ago. Cutting my hair is not only an act I’ve been wanting to commit for the past four years, but has a personal significance to me. I am African-American, but have only claim the “American” half. I want to reconnect to my history as much as I am able. I want to know where my family comes from and claim a part of my identity I feel is missing. However, unlike Beneatha who took her ethnicity as one or the other, I recognize that I am not an African woman born and raised on the continent with the traditions of my people. I am happy being African-American. My main goal is to expand myself, not change myself as with Beneatha.
What pleases me the most is that I am not alone in my feelings. Many African-American people that I’ve seen personally seem to be exploring their roots, the urge me greater by popular works such is the movie Black Panther and lesser known sources, such as the children series Kids2Kings by indie book publisher Black Sands, both of which to depict Africa and draw inspiration from Africa in positive ways, and inspire others to feel the same.
I do think that all of us think in poems.
-Naomi Shihab Nye
Contributors to the blog are students in Ms. Washington's classes: Seniors in AP Literature and 9th grade ELA.