“The naysayers, they don’t mean a thing.” ~Venus Williams
Everyone has naysayers. There is always that person who will discourage you or tell you that your dreams are impossible. Often naysayers contribute very little, if any, to your motivation. They only diminish your hopes and dreams. However, young black girls must realize they are ….not for the naysayers!
“Not for the naysayers” allows them to continue believing in themselves and not give up on their dreams. Sadly black girls encounter naysayers in school, the community, and even their own homes. In schools, especially low-performing schools, teachers can have low expectations. Rather than encouraging dreams, there may be a more pragmatic approach to encouragement. Such as finishing school and getting a high-paying hourly job. There is nothing wrong with the option, yet for the young black girl who wants to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, singer, actress, or has any other dream that is not of the norm, she will feel that it is impossible to achieve
Community naysayers are not as direct but still infer that certain things for black girls are limited. For example, going to the beauty supply store is a ritual for many black girls. Yet, black women do not own most of these stores. As a result, black girls are followed through the store and racially profiled. The idea is… I can shop here but never own a beauty supply store.
Naysayers in the home are more challenging. These are the people such as parents, siblings, or other family members who have a tremendous influence on their life. Their thoughts and opinions are valued. How can black girls be “not for the naysayers” when they hold much respect for these individuals. Often naysayers in the home genuinely want what is best for their black daughter or black sister. Yet, hopes and dreams can ignite fear from family members. It may be unconscious, but they realize that they may not have the opportunity to be as bold and courageous in their pursuits.
Encourage young black girls to be “not for the naysayers .”The best way to encourage is by providing representation. These young girls will believe in what they can see. They need to see the black doctors, lawyers, and engineers. Instead of discouraging, please find a way for them to interact with people who are currently living the dream they desire.
So as for the naysayers, encourage black girls 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.