Two news stories recently captured my attention and outrage. Although I’m on a sort of creative sabbatical, I could not let this opportunity go by without addressing it publicly with my tribe. Teachable moments happen daily, right?
Some have wondered why I started writing about the familial indoctrination system – – specifically the way in which black girls are taught who they are and how they are viewed and treated. It is apparent to me that young black girls are still being mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically assaulted in our society. Who really cares about their mental state when everything around them continues to undermine their self-esteem and core inherent value? Our educational indoctrination system does not protect them. Our societal indoctrination system, overtly and subliminally, instills the belief that they are not good enough, pretty enough or smart enough. Even the familial indoctrination system perpetuates stereotypes that negate their very essence at a physical, mental and soul level. We cannot expect much from the broader society but our families must now take back the power and lead, more than ever, to counteract the MIS–education in 2021 and beyond. Unfortunately, the hate directed at young black girls is so powerful even a loving family cannot necessary STOP the negative sludge from permeating young minds.
“People used to always talk about me, ‘You’re fat, you’re ugly, you’re dark, you’re this, you’re that.’ And I used to cry. At 13, I was ready to die. Just so sad, crying to my mom like, ‘I’m so ugly, why did you have me? Why do I look like this? Why don’t I look like my brothers?’ It was just so many why, why, why’s.”Snoop Dogg‘s daughter, Cori Broadus
Yet, all families must remain vigilant since parents are a child’s first teachers with the mother figure usually serving a key role as the nurturer, protector and mentor, etc. This important role should not be undervalued in terms of its direct impact on young girls of color because their ability to attune instills a sense of validation, belonging and safety. They also “mirror” back to girls their value from a personal perspective and in the eyes of the most high. When this is not done enough or at all, some young minds are not able to withstand the onslaught of negative disempowering images, comments and actions of others against their personhood. My heart aches for these young girls recalling the same torturous perceptions and thoughts from my youth as well. If only I could talk to that girl as I write today. I would say, “My darling – – Oh you will one day realize what a tangled, misconstrued web of deceit lies at the root of all the hateful rhetoric and words you’ve heard about yourself and others like you.”
Perhaps if enough of “US” would continue to sound the ALARM about the far reaching destructive mental impact of the various untrUths and false narratives about black girls and women being circulated within our culture and society, we might CHANGE the collective experiences for them (reinforce the idea of their divine birthright). Our diverse qualities cannot be minimized in spite of those who would attempt to invalidate them. We are far more than what you see on the outside (true for all women). It is imperative that we remember this one important fact – – It matters little what others think about “US”. It is far more important what one really thinks about yourself. Even so, girls of color need help from those who should know better to support, reinforce, protect and validate them from birth until death. (period) In doing so, we allow ourselves to truly honor the life force pulsating through our veins. It is time for “US” to consciously teach young girls how to recognize and become their own best friend – – a ride or die person, loyal and loving, a warrior and a counselor, protective and trustworthy, beautiful and intelligent (irrespective of features, color, occupation, age, or whatever ethnic background mosaic). Now close your eyes and try to envision this ultimate reality.