Black is the Warmest Color – Chicago Maroon


The author reflects on her experience as a young Black girl, discussing the significance of her mother doing her hair as a ritual of love, and the subsequent impact of racial microaggressions at nine years old. She refers to Hortense J. Spillers’ notion of Black kinship and José Esteban Muñoz’s ideas on disidentification to explore the duality of her identity as a Black girl. After an encounter with a white woman complimenting her hair, she starts performing what she believes would make her more palatable to her white peers, which leads to a boundary confusion and a split identity. Despite her struggle, her mother’s words help her realize that disidentification is a form of identification and that kinship provides resilience and fulfillment. The author acknowledges the beauty and strength found in her identity, the rituals and the kinship that defines it.

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