Letter to a Lady

Amber Norwood Letter

Dear Lady who said I was lucky to get accepted into college only because of my background,

I would like to start off by saying you hurt my feelings but now I know I can do anything I set my mind to because I work hard for it and not because people feel bad for me. People like you love to tear down others accomplishments because you’re not happy with your life and choices you have made. Take some advice from what people say everyday,”if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything.”

After reading Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine I was able to comprehend reasons I doubted myself and why you were part of my self doubt. Not only did the words I heard make me feel a certain way but because people are known to give minorities opportunities simply because they are a minority. “He tells you his dean is making him hire a person of color when there are so many great writers out there. You think maybe this is an experiment and you are being tested or retroactively insulted or you have done something that communicates this is okay conversation to be having.”(Rankine,10). This piece of writing stood out to me because it reminded me of what you put me through in those twenty seconds of conversating. After that I thought to myself maybe I did get into the schools because they needed a minority there and because they want to make themselves look good. All my hard work seemed to be taken away from me, the fact that my parents are immigrants and I would be the first to pursue a college education. That is all you saw, that is all those people in the college office saw. That is what you made me think of myself as an experiment.

Another quote by Claudia Rankine that reminded me of our conversation, “ An unsettled feeling keeps the body front and center. The wrong words enter your day like bad eggs in your mouth and puke run down your blouse, a dampness drawing your stomach in toward your rib cage.” (Rankine,8). You did not see this but after you left my stomach felt as if it had dropped. I was in shock, kind of speechless that those words came out of your mouth with no remorse. What was or still is your problem? The fact that I’m writing this to you is because your words did affect me emotionally and mentally. You used microaggression because of who I am, name, how I look, and my story. You might be thinking I didn’t mean it to come off that way and I took it wrong, you knew what you were doing when you said I got in because of my last name. The tone in your voice. It is not okay.

Although, you might say you did not mean any harm maybe next time before you talk you think about how it sounds. Microaggressions can be hidden. If you did mean for it to hurt me or make me feel less, I hope you understand that words hurt even if they aren’t true. Otherwise I would not be dedicating this writing to you.

Thank you for your attention,
Daniela