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  • Dr. Tyffani Dent

De-Centering Black Girls In 5 Questions or Less


Anyone who knows me, knows that I unapologetically center black girls and women in my work. I do not do it because I am a Black Women----which if that was the reason, would be good enough. It is not because I am raising black daughters---because my being adjacent to Black Girlhood should not need to happen in order to care about Black Girls.

I do this because, too often within both gender and racial spaces, we fail to take into consideration their unique experiences and needs. In this mission, I have begun keeping track of how long it takes---in these discussions where I immediately state that I am going to focus on the needs of black women and girls---to shift the focus onto anyone BESIDES them.

In this unscientific study of our world’s seeming disregard for the lived experiences of black women and girls, I have come to the conclusion that it takes 5 questions.

5 questions until someone asks

“What about black boys?”

To state

“We cannot forget about black men”

To argue

“Gender issues matter the most, and we need to be in solidarity FIRST with ALL women”

5 questions/statements that keep us from

1. Identifying how we need to work to combat the results of the Georgetown Study indicating that our black girls do not need as much nurturing as other girls

2. Addressing how our own community’s tendency to call black girls “fast” and to blame them for their own victimization contributes to the 60% of black girls who are sexually harmed before their 18th birthdays

3. Protesting how dress codes are problematically enforced, aiding in the disproportionate discipline of black girls and the overall “Pushout” of them in our educational system

4. Examining how the whole idea of “resiliency” allegedly inherent in black girls keeps us from holding the world accountable for choosing to not protect or value them

And

5. Recognizing that, what it means that in only 5 questions/statements----we de-center them because we are so pressed to focus on someone else.

Someone that we view as deserving of space explicitly set aside for black girls.

Some issue that fails to insist that the lives of black girls are the lives of those who are Black AND Girl

In 5 questions/statements

We prove that Black Girls Don’t Matter

Or at the very least, they do not matter enough to have their own air

Because someone else needs to breathe more than they do

In 5 questions/statements

We continue to fail Black Girls

Dr. Dent is a licensed psychologist. Her hardest job is being a Black Woman who centers the experiences of Black women and girls

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