The Thing About Being A Little Black Girl In the World: For Quvenzhané Wallis

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3 thoughts on “The Thing About Being A Little Black Girl In the World: For Quvenzhané Wallis

  1. K. Alexander

    What lovely poetry/ writing here 🙂
    I mentioned in presentation about reclaiming black feminism: which, in my mind, is turning the negative stereotypes about black women away and then inserting the true story of resistance and pride. I think it’s remarkable that Wallis is only 9 years old and is a walking, young Zora Hurston, in that she’s reclaiming black feminism at 9 and doesn’t even know it! Demanding to be call by your name (that isn’t a white name) correctly by lazy reporters (if they’re Hollywood reporters, there is NO excuse to not know an actress’s name) is a huge part of black feminism- because African names were discouraged for so long until they were erased from African-American culture and replaced with “white names”. This kid is remarkable, if I were her parents, I would be so proud of her.

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  2. Kat Martinez

    This a beautifully written piece illustrates the white supremacist expectations of a truly brilliant, young black girl in Hollywood today. The line “The thing about being a little black girl in the world is that your right to be a child, to be small and innocent and protected, will be ignored and you will be seen as a tiny adult, a tiny black adult, and as such will be susceptible to all the offenses that people two and three and four times your age are expected to endure.” makes me think of the recent news concerning Quvenzhane. She was called a c*nt by The Onion’s twitter a few weeks ago and was issued a simple apology. This is wrong on many levels. First of all, it is not okay to call a nine-year-old girl any foul word, especially the day they have won recognition as the youngest person to be nominated for an Academy Award. Also, using this word in a foul way equates with the attitudes of inept high school boys, bigots, and general women haters. The Onion released an apology, and stated that it had been meant as a joke (not funny) and was really poking fun at the Academy and Hollywood. Racist lens are what make this action seem like a joke when whoever typed it up published it to the internet.
    When Taylor Swift had the mic taken away from her a few years ago by Kanye West at the 2009 Video Music Awards, she had outcries and sympathy of millions. She was seen as a ‘poor thing’/victimized white girl, while Kanye was seen as an arrogant, angry black man. In fact, Kanye did us all a service by trying to shed light on a talented black woman who most certainly deserves more recognition. Quvenzhane had a lot of support from folks who called out The Onion on twitter, and several news articles followed, but the outcry was nowhere near compared to that of Taylor Swift. White supremacist media at it’s finest! I agree with Kadeja, if I were this young woman’s parents, I would be absurdly proud of her. After acting in a movie for the first time, being publically bombarded by the media, not letting reporters get away with calling her by the wrong pronunciation, and after being called a c*nt, this young woman shows the wit, humor, and resilience that we all can strive for.

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  3. Andy Hou

    Both Kadeja and Kat made an excellent point right there. Not only Black people get pitied on and oppressed. They are systemically ignored for their immense creativity and talents that anyone should desire an acknowledgement and praise from the public. A black kid has to endure disproportionally more pressure and disdain compare with their fellow white peers. As implied by Kadeja and Kat, black people are far less likely to win a higher award (Oscar) than white folks, evident from the annual Oscar nominees and winners, who are virtually all white.
    A girl like Wallis who grows up in an intense and challenging environment can be negative, but can be beneficial in her overall courage and endurance at confronting racial disparity. Her parents are inevitably proud of her, especially a kid who made to the Oscar nominees is indescribably more impressive than anyone can imagine. Because this illustrate not only the capacity for creativity and talents African Americans have, but also their equal intelligence as any human being.

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