Understanding that racism, sexism and ageism are sensitive topics, all readers regardless of race, sex, or age are encouraged to contribute to the discussions. Open, honest and flowing dialogue is the only way the conversation can begin to change.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Home Codes

"Black women must follow [a certain "home code" within their own community], such as speaking a certain way or behaving submissively in church or with their partners"(Jones & Shorter-Gooden, 2003).
While sitting discussing this case study topic with my mother (an educated Mature/Traditionalist), she found great interest in how Black women have to behave differently in different environments.  She began making statements like the following:

"When you're around black people you've been raised up with, then go away to school [and] come back, you have to change your tone or they'll say you're acting white."

"You have to change your behavior or they'll say 'Oh you think you white.'"

" Even at home with your husband, if you make more money you have to be careful. I used to make more money than your father and he was mad (laughs humorously). I could barely say anything in the house."

"I had to keep the family together."
These comments are the voices I hear when having inner dialogue about who I am as a Black Millennial woman. Such comments add to the schizophrenia I experience within.What are your "home codes" and how do you cope with them?

Suggested Reading:
"The Air Up There: Tiptoeing Through the Halls of Power" by Elfi Martinez. OD Practitioner.

Jones, Charisse and Shorter-Gooden, Kumea (2003). Shifting: Based on the African American Women’s Voices Project. Harper Collins Publishers: New York.

Related Reading: "If you were black, she said, you had to be twice as good to be half as good."

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