Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Black Girls Matter Month

by Tayé Foster Bradshaw, Kirkwood MO

I saw a photo of little Zoe.

She is four months old.

Her little flower dress and  headband had all the marks of infant cuteness.

And she was terrorized on Sunday night.

She is a little black girl and her life matters.

Her life has to be worth more than two suspected police officers pulling her family over and holding them at gunpoint.

Five years from now, she will be in a classroom somewhere in this country. Her teacher will likely be a white female. She may suspend Zoe for having an "attitude" because she didn't respond with the queenly deference the teacher things she deserves.

Ethan is Zoe's big brother. He will be in a classroom and might encounter that teacher who wants to put him on the pipeline. Zoe will worry and grieve for him. And a social worker will condemn their mother and assume their homelife is deplorable, in need of white women to come and fix it.

Their lives have to matter.

Black girls in my suburb are suspended at a 10:1 rate over white girls for the same infraction. They are both brilliant and exceptional, yet, they have to continue to overcome their teachers' lack of expectation of them because some of their peers have an attitude.

There are some who have to fight the stereotypes coming at them from society that threatens to end childhood at four months old, like little Zoe.

This is March, Women's History Month.

We have to elevate the voies of little black girls so their brilliance can shine. They create clothing lines to refute bullies who try to call them fat and they gather over 1000 books because they are tired of reading about white boys and dogs. They earn the highest GPA of their cohort and they are chess champions. They fly through the air on gymnastic mats and continue to twinkle despite the ashes thrown at them.

This month, we are celebrating the black girl magic, they matter.

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