Letters To My Daughters: What I Will Tell My Little Black Girls About Their Blackness
Before I hand my infant daughter to her mother for feeding and soothing, I talk to her in rhymes and spellbound lyrics from Jay-Z songs and Old Dirty Bastard ad-libs. I finish tickling her small tummy, the tummy that can fit under the whole of my palm. I hold her; I sit and stare at the brown of her eyes that I know others drown in and think about how fortunate I am to raise a little Black girl.
The world tends to try to tell us differently. The media will spoon-feed us by the bit the perils of being Black and alive. This tale has been spun since we boarded the ships that brought us here. It will be told long after the internet collapses, after we are mask-less, after cars drive themselves and fly us into the next streetlight — or even the next shiny new Kroger appears up the street. But we get to shape a new narrative for our Black children. We get to layout new ways for our girls to reimagine their Blackness on their terms.
I want my girls to have nice things. Black girls are not told enough they deserve nice things and that they deserve nice things to happen to them and for them. I think of the Black girls I hung around and went to school with — we weren’t told they were to be given space for love and niceties. Being nice to Black girls only meant you needed something from their bodies. My girls — our girls — deserve more than that. When we serve the higher purpose of the little Black girls who will hold public office, lead our classrooms, stock markets, and design studios, we also create better humans, communities, and better ways of living for all.
Having “nice” things isn’t always about material possessions — it also gets to be about having love in your home and love in your heart. It means having a community in your life that fills you up. It can be about having resources, tools, and the language to thrive. It’s a language I didn’t have and want them to possess. Nice things are the ability to communicate their wants and needs, their fears and worries all while sitting in the bravest of spaces with hearts fully on sleeves, where their truth is not discouraged but given the wings it merits. Making…