Recognizing My Visibility
Start writing a post

Recognizing My Visibility

How Netflix's Becoming led to important self-reflection.

Recognizing My Visibility
Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton

Almost a year ago I read Becoming, by Michelle Obama, and shared my reaction to the book through this post. My response was in regard to the evolution of her view of what success really means and how it influenced my perception of success. Watching Becoming on Netflix, I took away an arguably more important message.

One of the most impactful scenes for me was when Michelle Obama visited a school in Chicago and in one of the focus groups a student asked her how she persevered through invisibility. Obama responded by explaining that despite what was going on in the world, her parents always made her feel visible. She went on to explain that people of color, specifically black women, cannot wait for time to pass to start owning their visibility.

Growing up I felt almost entirely too visible. My parents instilled from an early age to be cautious when using the internet, that if I didn't want it on the front page of a newspaper (maybe a little outdated) I shouldn't post it. As the oldest child, I felt I was held to higher expectations and that everyone somehow knew how I was performing in school, my extracurricular involvement, my college search process, and so on. Colleagues from both of my parent's professions were introduced to me from a young age and have been able to discuss career paths with me as I navigate my undergraduate years. I have always felt like I needed to be perfect because everyone would know if I fell short. Watching the girl ask Obama how to be seen was an extremely eye-opening moment for me. I had to pause the film and take a moment to reflect.

I'm fortunate to have grown up in a household that has always recognized white privilege, though the idea that many girls my own age feel invisible was heartbreaking. Understanding societal problems at a high level is easy because you can distance yourself from the issue when it does not affect you. This runs true with systematic racism, workplace discrimination, and so forth. Seeing someone that was a senior in high school - a time that I felt invincible - want nothing more than to have their voice heard almost brought me to tears. While I have felt at times that my voice wasn't being heard, it was not because others did not value my voice, it was because I did not share it. This girl legitimately did not feel valued by society and that is something I have never and will never face.

The duty falls on everyone to show young minds that despite their background, they provide value. As Obama said, the world will not change overnight and that is why it is so essential to feel visibility from within. It is frustrating to know that so many people are automatically assumed to have value based on their race, gender, background, or whatever it may be and that the responsibility to find it within oneself is only on some.That being said, Michelle Obama holds high expectations for young people and does so with pride. Her message holds true for everyone - that it is important to be confident in who you are so that you don't have to rely on the validation of others.

Becoming has increased my understanding of my privilege and I hope it inspires others in my position to do the same.
Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments