There is a power and mystique to a being a Black girl moving about in the world. There is a power source to this Black Girl Magic. With that said, with all the weight there is to be Black, the protection of Black girls is paramount.
Last year, I wrote about this culture phenomena known calling a little Black girl ‘fast’ last year. What I would love is to see this word die in my life time; the adultification of Black girls to stop. To let them be themselves. This can only happen if they are protected, like any other little girl in the world.
Let me explain how this needs to happen.
Listen to them. Black women, Black girls are often overtalked, made invisible or told to hush more than any other girlchild. The most valuable thing you could ever do for a Black girl is to listen to her! Let her be in love with the sound of her own voice; Nikki Giovanni said if a woman is not full of herself will be starving. Never let a Black girl starve for the want of attention. Ever! Let Back girls be confident, be sentient and present in their own lives!
Speak to who they are and will become. There is a song by Nina Simone that has the lyric, “Young, Gifted and Black.” That is what every Black child is! For little Black girls, speak to her talents. Speak to her gifts. Find her like minded girls. Don’t steer her away from things just because of what folk say! If she likes math, let her do STEM/STEAM. If she’s good at making things, let her start crafting! If she’s interested in money, teach her how to make $1 into $10! Speak to her beauty, yes, but don’t allow her to just rest on the laurels of her pretty! Help a Black Girl be full of herself–that way she will not ingest any lies of the world, or people whom never want her to rise.
Make them aware of the world around them–and how to change it. What I love to do for little Black girls, especially my own two, is to take them with when I conduct business. I show them to to pay bills. Address envelopes. Check tires. The practical stuff, sure. But I also take them with me to vote. I let them watch the news with me. I let them ask me questions about how the world works! I allow them to participate in life by being with their mother whom is actively participating in it. I believe it is a violence to allow Black children–especially Black girls—to go through the world, and not know how it works. Or how to go about changing it. The best way to protect from wolves is to know where they are; how to avoid them or destroy them.
Let them own their bodies. The Black girl body is a source of contention. A source of control. From the time right before puberty hits, Black girls are seen as older than they are. More experienced as they are. More sexually mature than they are! And the moment they develop and wear something snug (because what wasn’t there before is there now)? We wanna call her fast.
No. Stop this.
We need to teach Black girls their bodies are not public property. They have the right to have people to not be in their space, intimate or otherwise. There is being cordial, and then being protective. I remember my aunt’s ex-husband would try and tickle me, and it would be so rough that I would hide when he would visit. I found out later he was beating her! Kids pick up vibes: stop making kids be cordial to people you know are abusive. Give Black girls ownership of their bodies! Let them know what good touches are and bad touches are! Let them know what “NO”, “Stop!”, “Don’t touch me!” means. Teach them those words have power. Let them know if something happens to them, if they are violated in any way, you will believe them, support them, or help them through it.
Protection, real protection, involves equipping. The time for devouring young Black girls is over. It is time for them to thrive. Past time.
[images from author’s FB timeline and AZ Quotes.com]