I am the little black girl from Bridgeport.
For a short while, I was the little black girl from Hamden.
I was also the little black girl from New Haven.
And I will always be the little black girl from CT.
However, I never understood what it really meant to be a black girl. I never really had to think about it while growing up amongst other little black and brown girls and boys like me. Because everywhere I turned, there were only ever other people who looked JUST LIKE ME.
I never had to think long or hard about what it meant to be black. Never thought too long about what it meant to be a girl. Never had to stop and think about how the intersection of each of those identities affected how I maneuvered through life……until recently.
Call me naive. Call it ignorant. But I lived in my perfect happy black girl bubble…Until I came to college.
As I come close to closing out one of my life’s most important chapters thus far, I have been forced to do a ton of reflecting.
At every corner I turn (especially while attending a PWI), it seems like I am congratulated more and more for my making it this far. Subliminally being hand-clapped for not being a teenaged mother, welfare queen, hyper sexual, angry, “bad b*tch.” Being reminded almost daily that other black students do not make it this far and of how proud I should feel for making it to the end of my undergraduate career.
I never thought of myself as a stereotypical black girl. (Many of us never do.) I never thought about how where I have lived affected the way people thought about me. I never thought about what it meant for society to think all of these things about me, while I sat back barely realizing that they did.
I guess sometimes it works in your favor to be naive. Keeping a tunnel vision to your goals and not having outside influences telling you what you can and cannot do.
Until reality hits, and you begin to understand that there were (and still are) myriads of people believing that I would not make it. Not because they knew me, but because they had this idea in their heads that because you are this little black girl that you may not amount to anything. A harsh reality that many have to face at very young ages.
This is the part where I check my privilege at the door: my family never allowed me to think of myself as or made me feel as though I was lesser than. Instead, always telling me that I was destined for greatness and never letting me forget it.
Many other black and brown children are not granted that. Many being told by teachers, “loved ones,” and the world that they would amount to nothing. Being told and believing that being a little black girl or boy from the hood means that you will amount to nothing.
But I AM THE LITTLE BLACK GIRL FROM BRIDGEPORT!
All of my friends are little black people from our respective hoods in Connecticut. Graduating from one of the top institutions in the world, proving to other little black children that we can actually do this. Proving that what the world thinks of us is really bullsh*t!
So this one is for them…this post, this degree, and everything I believe I can do in the future!
It’s all for the little black girls and boys who are told that they can’t.
When really, WE CAN!!