Straddling between Two Worlds

Word-work is sublime, she thinks, because it is generative; it makes meaning that secures our difference, our human difference – the way in which we are like no other life.

Before reading Bernice Johnson Reagon’s article “Nobody Knows the Trouble I See”, I never thought about the constant switching between two worlds. There is an idea that we straddle between our own family beliefs while trying to master the more dominant society as a way of survival and being “who we are in both places or all places we move” (Reagon).

In thinking deeper into this, I realize how our home values are usually different from those on the outside which causes us to find a balance in order to fit in both places. African American and Western European culture are completely different, especially because of the way in which Europeans see themselves as more developed, therefore, more progressive (Snead). It is this idea that causes other cultures to send their children off to the more dominant culture (Western European) in order to succeed. The problem also lies within not forgetting the original culture that they came from after they do succeed. This article really got me thinking about how even today in life people come to America and work extremely hard for their whole lives in order to be successful here. Sometimes this causes people to lose sight of where they came from because of how hard it is to practice your own values and beliefs while also progressing in this society. Some people are able to do so and then raise awareness of their culture while also giving back. For example, Danielle Ponder, and African American woman who came to speak during the 2019 MLK Day of Leadership Service, is an attorney, musician, and activist. She found a pathway into become a successful public defender and artist while also using both of these professions to raise awareness about the lack of justice in our society. While listening to her, I was most fond of the way she was able to be successful in both of those professions considering it takes up a lot of time. After just a few weeks in this class though, I now look back at her speech and realize even more so how much fighting she probably had to do to get where she is, and on top of that to stay successful as well. Danielle Ponder is one of the many definitions of being able to straddle between both worlds and master it so well where she is able to constantly give back. I am eager to see what other ways in which this course will change my insight on memories, and future events.


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