In the short fictional piece “Blue Talk and Love” by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, adolescent girl Earnestine struggles with many different aspects of her identity. Race, social class, sexual identity, and heritage are all issues that she struggles with on a personal level throughout the piece, while she simultaneously deals with her insecurities about love and family.
After reading this story, I don’t really think I have much to add. Sullivan uses the character of Earnestine to highlight the difficulties of being someone who deviates slightly from what is considered normal. Because she is not white, Earnestine struggles with the fact that she cannot meet the white beauty standards placed upon her by her peers. Because she doesn’t appear to be attracted to men, she struggles to fit into her own perceptions of what a girl her age should act and feel like. She doesn’t feel the connection to her heritage that her mother wants her to have. All of these elements of her life create a sense of constant tension, and Sullivan uses this as a means to communicate in a subtle and melancholy manner what it’s like to be a part of that taboo category of “other.”
I think that the ending of the short story demonstrated a kind of self acceptance on Earnestine’s part. Her conversation with her father, in which he told her that even though she’s not like her peers she still has worth, set something off in Earnestine. After her conversation with her father, she was able to understand her relationship with Xiomara much more clearly. Instead of feeling jealousy and resentment towards her, Earnestine seemed to have a kind of quiet understanding that what she really felt was affection and longing for Xiomara. It is heavily implicated in the ending that Earnestine and Xiomara had a sexual encounter, thus solidifying Earnestine’s self acceptance.