Last month, it was reported on BET that an 11-year-old girl was hit with a metal pole for uttering four words: “My Black is beautiful.” Since the brutal attack that left her unconscious, she’s been recovering physically and mentally from one of the most traumatic experiences of her life.
In the days after the incident, word spread about the victim and her bravery. But a digital wildfire isn’t enough. This is just another example of systemic racism at work. She used “my Black is beautiful” as a safety net, and it failed her. She isn’t the first and will certainly not be the last to be put through a similar traumatic experience. Enough is enough.
Across the U.S., kids are being bullied by their peers for their skin color. In a survey, 15.8% of students reported experiencing race-based bullying or harassment. Research has proven significant associations between racial bullying and negative mental and physical health in students.
Parents, it’s time to stand up. Have the difficult conversations with your kids about racism because it exists. This isn’t a nudge, it's a call to action. One conversation with your child can be life-saving.
And if we want to see change, it starts with us. We’re very lucky to have programs to help facilitate dialogue and, more importantly, help Black girls find solace.
Therapy for Black Girls focuses on the well-being and mental health of young Black girls, empowering them to have and maintain healthy mental lives. If you’re a parent and want to learn more about how to navigate the topic of racism and bullying, remember to share the importance of self-care with your child. And when you might not have the immediate knowledge on how to have this discussion, there are books that walk you through this.
For more valuable resources, check out the American Psychological Association’s online resources.
We’re proponents of Black beauty getting its deserved spotlight—making sure our stories are being told, supported, and lifted. We’re going to continue to advocate for all that’s beautiful about Black culture. Not just because it’s what we stand for, but because we all deserve to feel comfortable in our own skin.
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