Days of the Afro This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     It seems as if my culture is dissipating right before my eyes, without anyone noticing except me. There was a time when young blacks fought, even risked their lives, to express their beliefs and gain respect. Now young members of my African-American culture strive to live up to our stereotypes. What has happened to the days of the Afro, when we embraced our culture?

Often, we do not convey pride in our ethnicity and instead conceal it with ignorance. We do not express ourselves meaningfully, but continue to bury our best qualities, like being strong, powerful and open-minded. Unfortunately, being a young parent and working a minimum wage job is what many have to deal with every day. Frequently, we do not fight and struggle for something better, but quietly accept defeat and failure.

Modeling myself after the African-American souls of my past, like Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael, I am learning to face any adversary and always achieve my best. I can overcome any odds that will obstruct my success. My skin color and background will not stop me from reaching my goals unless I allow it to.

Since so many struggled before me, I try to do everything in my power to become a strong, educated black female. I am determined to reach my potential and rise above stereotypes. Nothing is going to stop me, or my Afro.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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