Healing to Action | Bard College Undergraduate Application Essay

“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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