Growing Up Black and Quiet in Milwaukee

By Sharon F. Skinner, PhD

If you are black and American, you have encountered racism whether you want to know it or not. It is out there in so many forms. It is something you learn about very early in life. You may notice that I may refer to groups in this column. My references are not to characterize everyone in a particular group. For example, if I say “white people,” I do not mean every white person. If I say “black men” I do not mean every black man. So here’s one: those who are black will know what I mean by this: When someone black says “black women,” blacks know we don’t mean every black woman out there. It’s a matter of speech. It could also be described as something cultural among us. What I am not in any way here trying to do is say, imply, or infer that I am an expert on anything. These are my opinions, reflections, ideas, perceptions, speculations, etc., and should not be held up to any academic rigor or analysis: they are just words. My words. My life. My sight. My experiences.

What is an introvert? This is my personal definition: someone who is quiet. Someone who reflects, ponders, and synthesizes. I am someone who, in a room of people, will be very quiet and listen. I’m not prone to spontaneous eruptions of talk, unless I’m around a small set of very good friends, and we’re talking about Star Wars. My introvert thinks before she speaks. My introvert needs quiet to read and study. My introvert is annoyed by loud noises. My introvert is annoyed by those who talk too much, or talk ad nauseam and don’t listen to others: Those who just talk. My introvert does not work well with extroverts and alpha personalities. My introvert is often ignored. Is often assumed stupid. Is often misrepresented.

In these writings, I will address stereotypes about my race and gender, of course, yet also about being a quiet person. It’s an interesting combination. These stories are told from an introverted black woman who at last is finding her peace.

It was not a freeway of love September 2017

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on September 15, 2017

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