A Story of Acceptance in How It Feels to Be Colored Me by Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston in How It Feels to Be Colored Me describes how her image of herself changed as other peoples perceptions of color was imposed upon her throughout her life. She writes about how she accepts who she is, not as a color, black, but all that she is made up of. Black was how other people perceived her and was not as much of a problem for her it as it was for others. Up until the age of thirteen, Hurston lived in a town that was exclusively a colored town(1766). She knew of little difference between the skin color of whites and blacks, she wrote, white people differed from colored to me in that they rode through town and never lived there(1767). At the age of thirteen she went to school in Jacksonville, she then discovered how people outside her town viewed her. She states, I was not Zora of Orange County any more.
I was a little colored girl(1767). She felt this change effected the way she viewed her appearance, as well as inside her, she wrote in my heart as well as in the mirror. I became a fast brown(1767). Hurston does not think that being black makes any difference to her she writes, I do not mind at all(1767). She feels that the world is for those who are strong enough to embrace life no matter what color they are. She thinks of life as a game where it more exciting to get what you want, not fighting to keep what you have (1768).
Hurston feels the benefits of being black, such as when she sits in the jazz club, The New World Cabaret, the music picks her up and takes her to wild places with a fury causing her to dance wildly inside herself (1768). When the music ends she creeps back to civilization to find a white man sitting motionlesscalmly smoking(1768). She sees how the emotions of the music have not touched him, he can only hear it. She also feels the sting of discrimination, but she does not let it make her bitter. She writes that these people do not know her How can they deny themselves the pleasure of my company (1769). Being black is a part of who Zora Neale Hurston is, part of the brown bag of miscellany(1769). In this bag she is a complex woman a jumble of small things priceless and worthless(1769). She feels her skin color is not the problem; it is societys view of her color that is the problem.