I thought they were complimenting me.
“I thought they were complimenting me. The words they used were innocuous. They seemed sincere. ‘You look so grown for your age.’
I was a child then. I didn’t know what made me look older to them. Nothing happened to me. But other black girls who look “grown” aren’t as lucky. The teenage girl violently thrown across a classroom by a South Carolina school resource officer in 2016 wasn’t as lucky. Neither was the 11-year-old girl tasered by police for allegedly shoplifting groceries in Cincinnati in 2018. If those girls were white, the altercations might have gone differently. Guilty until proven innocent, we are robbed of the leeway given to our white peers. In viewing us as “grown” and stripping us of our childhood, society holds us to the standard of adults, placing undue responsibility on us for our actions.”
This Excerpt was taken with permission from a Yale student writer for The Politic. Read the full article here: https://thepoliticbackend.org/do-no-harm-reflecting-on-a-legacy-of-pain-for-black-women-and-girls-in-the-united-states/
Having an ‘Attitude’
I went to small evangelical Christian schools that were extremely conservative and mostly white. In many of my classes I was the only black person. On many occasions I was kicked out of classes for “rolling my eyes” or “having an attitude.” I never understood why this was happening, because I wasn’t trying to be disruptive. I got straight-A’s, but still my teachers didn’t believe me when I tried to tell them that I was not purposefully trying to be negative in class. I honestly never thought that it could be the result of a bias until reading other people’s stories about similar situations.