I recently changed my twitter name from my personal name to @blkgrlunmasked.
The name was inspired by Paul Laurence Dunbar’s Poem “We Wear the Mask”
We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,–
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be overwise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!
This poem was written in 1896 and discusses the collective difficulty that African Americans had with what W.E.B. DuBois called “double consciousness.” African Americans struggled with being both American and African and at times these two “sides” were at war…
Almost 100 years later, not only do we still have “the mask” but we mask other areas of our lives. We have our public vs. private lives. We have our external lives and our private thoughts. We reveal so much but we hide so much. As much as possible, I want to live my life without the mask. I want to be open, authentic and real. I want to have difficult conversations with myself and others. I’m a black girl and I want to take my mask off…
Will you join me?