A Seat at the Table is Not Enough for Gen Z Black Girls: There is An Expectation of Table Manners
If You’re Afraid to Use Your Voice, Give up Your Seat at the Table. ~Michelle Obama
Black women have fought for years for a seat at the table. When there wasn’t a seat, they brought folding chairs, built their table, or opted for a place in the circle. However, just being at the table is not enough. This is where the voice for table manners is critical. Black women of past generations are excited to be at the table while Gen Z observes those sitting there. Therefore, the expectation for proper etiquette is high.
Gen Z black girls are the most vulnerable group of young people. Yet, they are unique in their thinking. They understand they face unfair treatment. However, they are apt to make their voices heard. As a result, social media has become their primary platform. These black girls, like many other Gen Zers, value relationships. They tend to love people regardless of how diverse they are. Gen Z black girls have the desire to improve the future. They are less likely to go along with the status quo. They realize that a seat at the table is just a seat. They are challenging those at the table to be authentic problem solvers.
Examining the table from a Gen Z perspective takes a different approach.
Think about the kitchen table in the black family. There is significance in gathering together over a meal as a family. We gather together over soul food to bond and resolve issues. Black girls identify with this concept and develop a deeper meaning to sitting at the table regarding institutions. Let’s examine Gen Z black girls’ expectations of table manners.
• The table is the center of the activity. Black girls want to contribute and expect essential decisions to be made.
• The table is comfortable. It’s expected that people at the table talk to them and engage in conversation. Failure to do so leads to mistrust.
• The table is welcoming. The idea of being there comes; naturally. It’s not forced by those at the head of the table.
• The table is multi-purpose. It serves as a place to fellowship, educate, create, and provide resolutions.
• The table provides healthy food. This is extremely important for black girls, as many deal
with mental health issues. Simply by being a black girl and existing. Table members must ensure that conversations are healthy and contribute to the overall well-being of black girls.
As we continue contributing to the personal development of black women and girls, stop and consider the seat at the table. When the seat is offered and regarded as a privilege …Slay What Ya Hear! Let them know that there are high expectations for proper table manners!