Building Up Black Girls by Eradicating Negative Talk
As I was changing classes, I heard Claire say to Melanie,” Here comes Jasmine. She’s so loud! Every time I see her, she’s angry!” Melanie responded, “Also, she’s rude. Every time I try to talk to her, she snaps for no reason.” …I wish they would stop saying these things about me. Jasmine is a fictional character. Yet, so many black girls have this same experience as they move daily through the school hallways. These types of situations occur not only in school but also in their communities. Do you know that the number of suicides of black girls between 13 and 19 increased by 182% from 2001 to 2017 (Price & Khubchandani, 2019)? The mental issues faced by black girls are of significant concern. The first issue of understanding black girl culture is here to cultivate awareness. Slay What Ya Hear!™ Change the Conversation: Change the Perspective. The newsletter’s goal is to build up black girls by eradicating negative talk. As children of color face the many challenges put before them, black girls deal with an even bigger problem; low self-esteem due to the power of words. Think about being called loud or angry daily. In general, loudness for black people is a form of chasing respect. Black people have been ignored and looked over so often that this is the only way to be heard. Children adapt to their culture. “Jasmine” may seem louder than other students, but this is part of her environment. Fear develops when one does not know the culture. Jasmine is now crumbling from words that neither she nor her peers can conceptualize. As one knows, words and phrases can be impactful. They have an effect that is often not acknowledged. As a black woman and experiencing childhood as a black girl, it is evident that words can heal and harm. Words bring people together (conversations held over Sunday dinners), or words tear people apart. An example is a broken bond between relationships when mom and dad cannot communicate and stay together. As a result, the children usually remain with the mom, and there is no father in the home. Words have power and can transform lives. Often black girls are expected to tolerate words and remarks that are negative. The words sap energy and lead to frustration and anger. But, most importantly, it keeps them from stepping into their purpose and being their authentic black selves. So stay tuned for the next issue. Until then, slay what ya hear!
Dr. Misty grew up and currently lives in South Alabama. She lives about an hour south of Montgomery, which hosted several civil rights icons. Her childhood consisted of poverty and survival. She knew education was the only way out. As a black woman, she has experienced unconscious bias and racial microaggressions. This bias occurred in her pursuit of higher education and professional roles. She has had people ask to touch her hair, which implied that her hair was different, and they could touch it. She has experienced a store worker following her around in a store. Following her suggested that she did not belong. These experiences left her feeling terrible. Just imagine these types of behaviors and their impact on students of color. As an educator with over 20 years of experience, she has held various positions. She’s worked as a social caseworker, special education teacher, school administrator, and director of special education. From her expertise, she quickly learned that she needed to focus on the experiences of students of color. She addressed the calling on her life! The desire to promote effective learning and inclusion for children of color. There seems to be a gap in information on how educators reach these students. In March 2021, Mocha Sprout® developed out of the desire to help educators achieve sustainable growth and become culturally responsive by creating new viewpoints. She is a thought leader, equity strategist, trainer, and coach. Her mission is to help others understand and transform their perspective of educating students of color.