The women in my family were on the steward board at church where the ladies were called to wear all white. Traditionally, women in the south wore white gloves only when they were not doing manual labor. For homecoming court, I bought a pair of ivory satin gloves to wear to be crowned. Gertie was a woman of faith. She sacrificed so much to make sure her family was taken care of. Always keeping the faith that things will get better.
The color white— oh, the color white.....
My great grandmother worked for white lady before baking. She would clean houses for extra money and able to make a way for herself, because of this position.
The house I grew up in had a white picket fence. As a child, I didn’t understand the significance of our house. The joy of growing up next to black families in the suburbs. I didn’t understand why my white friends would relate to me so easily, and then I grew up.
We were taught to be respectable. To not step out of line. To code switch. To play by the rules and maybe... we’d have a better job, send our kids to a better school, gain better opportunities, have a better life.
My ancestors, my gertie, didn’t have a shot at creating her own greatness without being in the shadow of some white person “allowing” it. Systemic racism continues to limit my people.
I remember eating white cake after communion Sunday. The smell of fresh plate lunches in the church kitchen and big hats dancing around the kitchen. My grandma made the best damn white cake.
One particular Sunday, I got an award for making the honor roll in church. I had a black white dress on from JCPENNEY that had a yin and yang design on it. And, as I came to sit down, I remember this old lady telling me, “congratulations sweetheart, unlike that symbol, you don’t need the white to be great.”
That will forever ♾ hold true.
The menu wasn’t complete without the famous white cake. 🍰 it just wasn’t.