Tell the negative committee that meets inside your head to sit down and shut up.” -Ann Bradford. “You’re ugly” or “Why does your hair look like that?” Do we ever consider how we talk to ourselves? How about “I will never be able to do that” or “I’m not smart enough.” We are all prone to negative self-talk. However, for black girls, this can be self-destructing. Black girls encounter challenging experiences daily. They must learn quickly to love themselves regardless of what others think. Everyone can be unkind to themselves. Yet, we must teach black girls to immediately calm those voices inside their heads. These girls internalize outside messages daily. The media, school, and home contribute to situations that result in negative thoughts. As a result, these girls will quickly talk themselves out of things they want and want to do. They usually allow themselves very little grace. We must teach them to replace negative self-talk with a much kinder tone. Black girls need an awareness of how head talk influences self-esteem. They must learn to monitor negative talk and quickly dismiss negative ideas. For example, the young lady who says she will never do well in school may need to be reminded that last school year, she mastered school and was promoted to the next grade level. She may be an average student but being promoted indicated that she did well in school. Additionally, encourage them to accept what they cannot change. For example, the little black girl with a dark skin tone should be taught to tell herself that her dark skin is beautiful. It is unique to her and does not hinder her in any way. Another way to encourage the absence of negative head talk in black girls is to enable them to think more about others. For example, they can volunteer or develop hobbies that will benefit others. This will take them out of the negative head space and build self-esteem. Most importantly, encourage others to be a positive influence on black girls. Remind these girls of their goals and accomplishments. Encourage them to practice positive affirmations. Inspire them to speak their truth and assist them in finding ways to deal with any negative thoughts they hear. Remind them not to talk themselves out of being the remarkable young ladies they are meant to be. Finally, as far as negative head talk, encourage them to ….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.