"To not become a social worker."
This is the personal objective I made for myself in December of 2002, after successfully completing and graduating Metropolitan State University's Bachelor of Arts "Ethnic Studies" program.
Then I entered the trenches.... or got "my foot in the door" and was hired as a childcare worker at a non-profit serving women with open child protection cases due to legal or chemical dependency issues. A population highly represented by poor single women with children residing in a group residential housing program together. My personal "goal" was to just LEARN.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to be an angry black woman or a more submissive single black woman. But with hindsight and personal growth. I NOW KNOW JUST A STRONG BLACK WOMAN.
But at the time I was thinking perhaps more along the lines of the "stereotypical" angry black woman. A stereotype embodying many different personality traits. But I was drawn to the EFFECTIVENESS often demonstrated (and appearing to my naive eyes as magic) of black women serving black women. As well as black women serving white, Asian, Latino, Native and any other racial composition of women. AS WELL AS MEN!
So the embodiment of this black women is hard to "define".... as far a personality to try and encompass. And I truly did not set out into the field with such an EXPLICIT defined purpose. It HAPPENED over time.
THE ONE THING THAT WAS CERTAIN AND THAT I KNEW WAS THAT I DID NOT HAVE ANY CONTEMPORARY "White middle class females my age" to which I GENUINELY ASPIRED in the sense of a role model to try and learn and emulate in my own service delivery.