Speaker 1: As a Black woman who was a Black girl, I see the attack on us comes in a very different form. In some ways, it comes in the same form. People do experience racial profiling and police brutality. Sometimes you come across women who have not had that direct interaction. But we’re attacked in so many nuanced ways.
Speaker 2: So you have internal race issues in our own culture and then the external race issue and then your mothering issue around race. So then for me, race and being a woman of color is so layered. It’s like, you can excavate all day.
Speaker 3: Two uniformed security guards walked over to us – one white, one Latino – and began to ask us question about what we were doing in the lobby of that hotel, if we were guests. I quickly responded and said I was in fact a guest. I was asked details: my name, what room. It was at this point that I became very upset.
Speaker 4: And then you start to wonder, well, what other difference could it be if you’re a white cop, I’m a black female? What else could I have done to piss you off this much? It just starts to then look racial.
Speaker 3: We actually had to bring in a white colleague from the justice conference before anyone could get an official response from the hotel.
Speaker 5: I’ve had people focus on my hair not being professional enough. I had an executive director actually pull me into her room and it went down a path of, “Just letting you know, I don’t think that you’re professional enough.” And I had to go through this whole—I had to actually pull back because I was so—I felt like I couldn’t be emotional.
Speaker 6: All of the other chorus girls were white, and I remember going up to the person in charge of costuming and saying, “Why is it that we’re dressed this way? Why is our hair doing this weird lumped together thing and all the other girls get to do curls and pretty things?” And she was like, “Um, yeah, but your hair can’t do that.” And I was like, “You’ve never asked me.” But for me, it was really hard because I just wanted to dance and sing and be in the play, and I was being told, “You’re not good enough. Your hair isn’t good enough. Your clothes aren’t good enough. And we’re going to make sure everybody notices that you’re Black and everybody else isn’t.”
Speaker 7: That colored my own thinking about myself. I was like, “Maybe I am unattractive. Maybe I am this monster.” Then I’d call my mom and she’d be like, “Don’t listen to them. Obviously, I gave birth to you and I’m gorgeous so obviously you have to be gorgeous.” So when I felt bad I’d always think about that.
Speaker 8: There was a huge population of Black girls who weren’t dating anyone, and I wondered why that was. Because in my eyes they seemed to be beautiful and attractive and smart and intelligent and ambitious. It just didn’t make any sense to me why they didn’t have a boyfriend, too. That same consciousness is also what I’m thinking now at almost 25 years old, why that’s the world that I still see today.
Speaker 9: Once you accept your womanness, that’s where your power comes from. It doesn’t necessarily come from your academic prowess. It doesn’t always come from what you have. It comes from your perception of self. And when you accept that you’re a woman and, “I’m a woman; hear me roar!” that comes from a validation outside of yourself. And even if you want to say it doesn’t, it does.
Speaker 10: My father would buy me books. And before he would give me the books, he would painstakingly shade in the characters in the book in brown crayon. I still have some of these books. I mean I had Cinderella; she was brown. Like, all these things. And of course as an older toddler, you notice that they’ve been drawn in because he’s not an artist. And he would explain as much as he could to a five- or six-year old why he was shading in these characters to look like me.
Speaker 11: So I don’t have a daughter right now. But if I did have a daughter, I would tell her that she’s beautiful, that she’s intelligent; all of these things all the time. I feel like we don’t hear that enough. In the media, we don’t get that attention.
Speaker 12: What I would tell my daughter is what was never told to me and not something that I thought that I would ever say. Ultimately, to my girls, I want you to be happy. I want you to find joy, however you find it. Not what I want out of you. Not what society imagines of you. Not anyone’s fantasies of you. Your happiness is your choice. I have your back.