About the Author

Kathryn H. Ross is the author of memoir Black Was Not A Label (2019, Pronto) and poetry chapbook Count It All Loss (2021, GoldScriptCo). She writes and edits in Southern California and loves cats and naps. Read her prose, essays, and poetry at speakthewritelanguage.com.

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Reader Interactions


  1. I have been the black friend. I have been labeled as the one that will “go off” at work when there is a policy change that was disliked; people used to like to wait before saying anything until after I’ve said something. And of course I’ve been labeled the only black woman on a job before as well which comes with its own issues.

  2. One way that I’ve been labeled – I cut my hair and began wearing my natural curls. I’ve been told time and time again that I’m not as pretty with my hair natural as I was when I got it straightened. So sad – I know who I am and my hair doesn’t make me. I am beautiful!

    • Girl, I have had this EXACT same experience and it is uniquely painful and rude. Keep holding your confidence and know you are beautiful as you are and for who you are, hair naturally curly or straight. 💛

  3. So much stuff that we as Black Ladies go through, being asked if I liked being Black. Yes, as if I could change that if I didn’t. Seeing in the sidelines of a manual left behind by the unqualified white woman that I replaced, that the health center needed to hire a Black supervisor because patients complained that there weren’t any in this large pediatric center. This was 1987. So many things that I can’t mention them all without becoming angry.

  4. I have been told you are pretty to be so dark. This was usually by men trying to hit on me. I thought, “Do you think you are paying me a compliment?”

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