Speaking My Truth on Being a Young Black Girl

By Raziya Estes

Did you know that Black girls are ten times more likely to get expelled than non-Black girls? Ten might not seem like a big number, but to me and many Black girls around the world it is. School is a place where everyone should feel safe and welcomed, not like they are walking on a pedestal. “ A study published by Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality in 2017 showed that adults view young Black girls as less innocent and more adult-like than white girls starting as young as age 5.” Growing up as a Black girl, I’ve always felt you’re held to a different standard in terms of smarts, appearance, and attitude. And if you don’t meet these criteria you’re looked down upon as an individual. Young Black girls shouldn’t have to face more penalties that interfere with their right to an education, due to microaggressions and racism. As educators it’s your job to implement an equal view and discipline on all your students regardless. It’s also important to take note of the specific hardships young Black students face.

Black girls are also frequently “adultified” as being older than their actual age which leads to higher rates of criminalization, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. I’ve experienced judgment towards my maturity, as young as the age of 8. It never felt fair when compared to white girls who would act the same or worse. I would also endure sexualization around that age as-well. These experiences really impacted how I viewed myself and made me feel robbed of my innocence. Black girls shouldn’t have to think twice about what they wear or lose the ability to express themselves because of harmful stereotypes. We should feel protected in our society and not be subjected to biases. A Lot of people seem to overlook these systemic issues, and, as a whole, we should be able to recognize them and do what we can to diminish these ideologies. Black girls deserve so much more than what we are given, and we shouldn’t have to beg to be treated fairly.

Raziya is a ninth grader at Palisades HS. She likes philosophy and fashion, and aspires to be psychologist