University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Healing to Action
Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma-anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
"You know Yume, you're the only black girl that I like, the rest are so ratchet," he let out.
What... did he just say?
I let the words sink... because, well, I genuinely liked him. He'd helped me study for almost every computer science test and made the class somewhat bearable... but did he really just say that? I let my feelings race and the moment grow tense as I faked a laugh. The bell rang, and I was for once saved by the bell.
Was it a compliment? Was it because I was only half black? Was I better than other black girls? No, I wasn't, but his perception of me was. Instances like these occurred every so often my freshmen year, and eventually I realized that they weren't okay. For many girls, speaking out against a patriarchal society's views and social norms isn't an option. In some communities a young girl would be ridiculed for making such a large deal of something so perceivably normal and trivial.
However, normal is relative... and objectification is not. Young girls, especially African Americans girls, face a disproportionate amount of marginalization, fetishization and exoticism. I know, this sounds harsh, but think about it. Do you ever see any African American girls in Teen Vogue that aren't light skinned and white...
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