When moving into a new city, it can take a while to get used to your new environment and feel a part of your community. If you’re a sociable person, it might take you less than a week to get yourself familiarized with your surroundings. I’ve been living here for 15 years and I still have no idea what the heck I’m doing here. I don’t feel like I belong in Madison, Wisconsin because of my ethnicity and many other aspects. I feel that my physical self is here, but my emotional self, and spiritual self belongs elsewhere.
You may ask, “What’s so important about feeling like you belong in your city?” Feeling like you belong in your city makes you feel connected to what’s going on in your community. Going to community gatherings, like Brat Fest and the Dane County Fair, help you to be in tune with what’s in Madison. I do feel that I’m connected to the Madison community in the sense of going to certain events and having fun, but it’s awkward how when my family goes to Brat Fest, and being one of the few black families there. Why does my family get double glances from white kids when we’re casually going to the grocery store, dinner or movie? As an African-American young lady, I feel as though by living in Madison, I’m already being set up to fail. Even if I make one little slip-up, everyone slams every little stereotype they can find in the book and slap it in my face. In every milestone that I reach, there’s another bumper sticker saying that I won’t make it. For example, once I hit high school; there’s a 40% chance that I might drop out, or I’m already twice as likely to become pregnant during high school. With all those odds stacked against me, I feel there is no room for growth.
Take people like Oprah Winfrey, who started from the bottom; now she is one of the most successful women in business. Nobody expected her to be an inspirational black woman, but since she believed in herself and didn’t give up. Michelle Obama was driven to succeed academically. When she had her eyes on studying at Princeton University, many of her high school teachers tried to dissuade her from applying telling her she was,“setting [her] sights too high.” Overlooking the people who doubted her, she went on to Princeton graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Then, deciding to show the world what she was really made of, she attended Harvard University and received her Juris Doctor (J.D.) in 1988.
This shows that many African-American women may not come from the ideal circumstances, but we can make the most of what we got. Madison needs to wake up and realize that African-American women like me, do not get beat down by the ugly stereotypes society puts us under; we rise with the goals to succeed.
I do realize that there are many things that I appreciate about Madison. We are really good at having different events for all kinds of people. If you like biking, Madison hosts the Ride the Drive event. If you like getting your groove on, Dane Dances is held every Friday night during August. “I enjoy the sports Madison provides, they have good AAU teams and the school teams are decent. You can find any sports team anywhere around here,” Khersa Morgan (9) said. Although Madison provides these appealing events, I for one who has gone to events like Brat Fest, I felt like I wasn’t a part of the moment.
Not every city is perfect, but assuring that every single person who lives in their city feels they play an important role can help our city’s success.