illustrated portrait of African American author Zora Neale Hurston

How It Feels to Be Colored Me

by Zora Neale Hurston

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When does Hurston feel that it's an advantage to be a person of color?

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There is a tone of reflection that enables Hurston to feel pride in her own identity happens as an older person.  She writes the essay when she is about thirty.  This would be around the time in her life when she feels the pride of being herself.  Part of this identity is being a woman of color.  I think that Hurston's notion of being "colored me" involves a life experience that is defined by more than ethnicity or race.  It is here in which she understands that the "advantage" she has had is not necessarily in being a woman or being a woman of color.  Rather, she understands that her advantage is one in which her experiences have enabled her to live life and to understand it for what it is.  Part of this experience has been as a woman of color.

When Hurston speaks about "the Great Stuffer of Bags," it is from a position where Hurston is able to understand much about being in the world and individual consciousness.  A part of this would be Hurston's experiences that could only happen by being a person of color.  I don't think that she concludes the essay in believing that this is any more advantageous than anything else.  Yet, she validates her own experience in being a woman of color as being part of the experiences that enables her to hold pride in who she is.  It is for this reason- the reason of individual experience in forming an identity- that Hurston feels that it has been an advantage to be a person of color. This experience has enabled her to love who she is and understand the beauty of her own experience.

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