Our Society Thinks Black Girls Are Ugly

This semester, I took an amazing course titled “How Did We Get Here? From Slavery to #MeToo” with Dr. Linda Chavers at Harvard FAS. We studied Black womanism for 16 weeks. Black women like Harriet Jacobs, Sojourner Truth, Tarana Burke, and Patrisse Cullors sparked my thoughts below. Why have Black girls and women been called ugly since the founding of this country?

I never believed that I was ugly. White society disagrees. 

Growing up, I had never felt more invisible. My middle school years were defined by excessive in-school suspensions and meetings in the principal’s office. I was a straight A student in a public charter school, but that was impossible to see when my behavior was always defined for me. I was not a troublesome student. In fact, I enjoyed following the rules. So, why could the school administrators not see that? Why was I punished significantly more than other students for the same behavior?

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Rating My First Semester at Harvard University out of 5 Stars

Before my second semester gets a little TOO crazy, I want to rate my first semester at Harvard. Spoiler alert: I LOVED it.

First things first, getting into Harvard was the happiest moment of my life. Period.

Even though it was a struggle to even live on Harvard’s campus last year, I learned so much about the college lifestyle while I was there. On-campus life was restricted to first-year students only; and quite frankly, the very necessary COVID restrictions made it so I barely left my dorm. When I did though, I was surrounded by some really great people. And when I didn’t, sixteen seasons of Grey’s Anatomy got me TOGETHER!

Let’s get to the categories, shall we?

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Rating Harvard Students’ Response to Black Women’s Trauma: Breonna Taylor.

This week, I’m calling people out for their failure to listen to, understand, and believe the traumatic accounts of Black women. Why did Breonna Taylor not receive proper justice? And why did Harvard students address it better than the administration itself?

On March 13, 2020 local Louisville police officers Brett Hankison, Jon Mattingly, and Myles Cosgrove executed a no-knock warrant search warrant that landed them on Breonna Taylor’s doorstep, where she was asleep in bed with her long-term boyfriend (would-have-been fiancé) Kenneth Walker. Upon forcibly entering the home, Kenneth Walker and the three Louisville police officers engaged in gunfire. Breonna was shot eight times and killed. 

Assumptions and misinformation quickly spread since March until now, in an attempt to justify the unjust murder of Breonna Taylor. Let’s unpack that. First, Louisville police officers did not announce themselves before entering Breonna Taylor’s apartment, despite going on record stating that they did so. In fact, all of Breonna’s interviewed neighbors stated that they heard no such announcement. It’s likely that Kenneth didn’t either. Second, Kenneth Walker is not a criminal. The no-knock warrant was for the search of alleged drugs in Breonna Taylor’s ex-boyfriend’s ownership. Those drugs were never found. Third, Kenneth Walker did not willingly fire at known police officers. In fact, Kenneth Walker’s 911 call reveals that he had no idea who was entering his girlfriend’s home. He only knew that they intended to cause harm. Additionally, Kenneth Walker’s firearm was licensed. Louisville authorities knew this. As a result, his inital charges of attempted murder of a police officer were dismissed on May 26th by Judge Olu Stevens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky Courts. 

This shrewd attempt to villainize both Breonna and Kenneth speak to bigger issues at hand: systemic racism and the over-reliance on law enforcement. The flawed protocol of the Louisville Metro Police Department has consistently and disproportionately endangered Black civilians. So much so, that Breonna Taylor has a law named after how now. Breonna’s Law bans no-knock warrants for the LMPD. Sadly, Breonna’s Law is not just for Breonna. Breonna was only the tip of the iceberg in the conflict between brutal police forces and oppressed Black Americans. According to the ACLU, the death of Breonna Taylor adds onto a list of failed no-knock warrants that ended in violence, and only further militarized American police. 

Although there is so much misinformation being spread about Breonna Taylor’s life and death, one thing remains crystal clear. She deserved to live. Instead, Hankison was charged with first degree wanton endangerment. According to Kentucky statute 508.060, wanton endangerment applies “under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, [a person] wantonly engages in conduct which creates a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another person.” In other words, Hankison was charged for endangering Breonna Taylor’s neighbors, but not for killing her. When news hit that Breonna Taylor did not receive proper justice after 190 days of waiting, Kentucky protests spread nationwide. Harvard students got the memo. 

Continue reading “Rating Harvard Students’ Response to Black Women’s Trauma: Breonna Taylor.”

Chadwick Boseman, A Real Life King: Celebrating Boseman’s Films & Legacy

This week, I’m mourning the loss of Chadwick Boseman and celebrating his illustrious acting career.

When you think of Chadwick Boseman, you probably think of Black Panther. As you should.

The release of Black Panther in 2018 changed not only the Hollywood movie-making industry, but it changed the way in which the world viewed Black power, Black life, and Black history. Along with Black Panther, came the kingdom of Wakanda, the realest fictional place to ever exist. Wakanda is a stark contrast to the popular perception of Africa. It is highly industrialized and contains the most up-to-date technology. When the world was calling Africans “barbaric” and “uncivilized”, this 2018 groundbreaking film was humanizing them in a beautiful way. Black women were the King’s strongest warriors, Black men led individual armies, and Black love was respected.

The film also explored a dangerously sensitive conversation; the cultural gap between African people and African-American people.

Today, though, I want to talk about his other famous films. The ones you may not think of immediately. Boseman played historical roles that helped uplift Black people and share an underrepresented history.

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