I think the first time I was ever called a ‘nerd’ was in fifth grade. It was said to me with the type of vitriol that I could be called a bitch. I was meant to make me feel less than. To feel less pretty. Less desirable. And, I think…less Black.
Somehow, somewhere, I had offended my Blackness and my Black girlhood by being smart. And not just smart, but one of the smartest girls in my grade. And I knew that I was.
I KNEW THAT I WAS.
I wasn’t okay that I had ambition. That I had parents that believed that I could be a doctor. That they spoke to every gift, every talent and believed in me. I had a father that believed his daughters needed to be formidable, not just pretty. Pretty was the thing that could set you off guard. It was what I could DO that was most important.
From that experience, in becoming okay with the balance of being pretty and talented, I have this to offer to Black women whom will and already have changed the world, and some we may never be able to remember.
To my sisters, daughters and the names of foremothers lost to history:
It is with utmost pride and love that I say thank you. As a Black girl, you belong in places of power and influence. You indeed have the capacity in you to change the world. You have the right to learn. To invent. To question. To learn. You have the right to be in places where STEM and STEAM grant.
You have permission to be a pretty, smart, Black girl.
Let them call you a nerd.
Let them call you a geek.
Let them call you ‘trying to be White’.
It is always the people doing the least with the most to say. It will almost always be the women whom are jealous of you and all you bring whom will be first to try and undercut you: regardless of color. But, in being honest, sometimes it be your own people babe.
I thank you for not stopping. I thank you for finding a work around, an ‘in’ and a hustle. I thank you for trying, for teaching, for reaching what the world kept moving a little bit more out of reach. Thank you for proving what Black women can do when given chance and opportunity together.
Your success is a living testament. Your ability to not just learn, but master complex material, only shows how great you are. And would, will become. The world was not ready for you, wasn’t expecting you. Yet, like all forces of nature, the world anticipates change.
You are, were that change. You are, will be, that change.
Do not fear it.
Light is always identified by its radiance. So be effing radiant.
The Future and Now Present Ideal Firestarter, JBHarris
[images from technologyconcepts.com and mic.com