Speak Your Truth
Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.” -Oprah “How are you today?”…Fine. This is how most people answer. What about …”what do you want for dinner”…I don’t care. Often, people avoid speaking their truth. Yet, when we model this type of conversation, we do not display authenticity. Why is it difficult to respond with …” I’m feeling sad today” or “I would like chicken for dinner.” Most individuals are people pleasers. Their energy is spent making others feel comfortable. However, this is exhausting emotionally. Honoring personal preferences must be modeled…especially for black girls. Normalizing speaking the truth can come with pushback for black people. However, not using their voice can evolve into mental health issues for black girls. Holding back who they really are is not suitable for personal growth. Black girls need the opportunity to shine. Unfortunately, society has led many of them to fear their voice and become withdrawn. Often schools, communities, and the media portray the truth about young black girls as unflattering. Yet, this portrayal represents an image that is not an accurate representation. Unfortunately, the expectations of society for black girls are low. They are not expected to excel in academics or leadership, scrutinized for just showing up, and expected to follow the rules and not alter the perceived narrative. In schools, they are taught not to speak out of turn. Ideas and creativity are diminished. These young ladies are trained to follow instructions and “behave,” but is it serving them? They are being asked to tolerate things that should not be accepted. When their contributions are devalued, they start to question their self-worth. Black girls have so much to say if only their talent can be reinforced. It takes nourishment to birth the next Maya Angelou. However, many say that black girls are loud and unladylike. Why is being assertive and speaking their truth so intimidating? When it’s not allowed, it kills dreams and ambitions. There is more concern about how they wear their hair than about cultivating the talent within. Their stories are powerful and unique. Society and social media don’t allow black girls to be who they are. They cannot be transparent and vulnerable in a world that projects other girls as perfect and polished. They need the opportunity to just be themselves. Their personality, perspectives, and experiences make their voice personal and unique. Black girls will experience discomfort when speaking their truth in the current world. Yet, discomfort is better than the illness of depression and low self-worth. There may never be a day when it is easy to just be a black girl. Especially when values are shared publicly. However, we must allow them to feel the discomfort and move through it. There is power in their voice, and they are entitled to shine. Until the next issue… 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.