How It Feels to Be Colored Me Questions and Answers
by Zora Neale Hurston

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In "How It Feels to Be Colored Me," what does Hurston mean by "brown specter"?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In this essay, Hurston assertively argues that being black has not and is not keeping her down. The "brown specter" she speaks of is the ghost of racism that haunts other black people with a sense of oppression and fear. Hurston writes, in contrast, that:

No brown specter pulls up a chair beside me when I sit down to eat. No dark ghost thrusts its leg against mine in bed.

The essay describes how she does not let her race depress her or get in the way of living her life to its fullest. She says she will not be a "sobbing" victim. In fact, although she describe a certain point in her life when she became aware she was black (or colored, as it was then termed), she asserts it does not matter to her. She says she is:

not tragically colored. There is no great...

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