A new study suggests that the messages Black girls hear at home about being Black, and about being Black women in particular, can increase or decrease their risk of exhibiting the symptoms of depression. Positive messages — and positive feelings about being Black — were associated with a decreased likelihood of symptoms of depression; negative messages about Black women were associated with a greater risk of symptoms of depression. The researchers drew on in-depth, national survey data from Black girls between the ages of 13 and Specifically, the researchers were interested in aspects of racial socialization related to how Black caregivers talk to their children about taking pride in being Black and being Black women. Study participants were asked how frequently they heard positive messages from their primary caregivers about being Black and about being Black women.
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I continued to offer up the reply of "Thank you," quite generously, until my mid-twenties. Growing up, every image depicted around me gave the message that most dark girls were ugly. So, when people would say, "You're pretty for a dark-skinned girl," I took it as a compliment. Because I felt that most people didn't expect to find beauty in dark-skinned Black girls, so when they claimed to find beauty in me, I actually felt flattered. All was well in my little bubble. After all the derogatory comments I heard about my complexion throughout childhood, it felt like a step up from being told by my darker-skinned grandfather that I was "nothing but a black bitch. One day, for what seemed like the umpteenth time, someone granted me the usual back-handed compliment, telling me I was pretty despite being dark-skinned girl, only this time my mom was there to witness it. As I smiled and said, "Thank you," my mother became incensed. If you can't simply tell her she is pretty, don't say anything at all.
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I grew up in a low-income housing project on the South Side of Chicago. I faced many challenges as a young girl in this homogenous and sometimes destructive community. Black girls have had a difficult time in our society for quite some time. Dating back to the days of slavery, black women were stripped away from their families and taken away from their homes. This is history that may never be undone, and the lingering damage is compelling. The brown paper bag phenomenon created a hierarchy within the African American race. It led to many blacks being treated unjustly and unfairly not only by whites but also by people of their own race. Slavery was abolished in the United States in But years post-slavery, young black women continue to carry the weight of feeling unloved and not beautiful simply because of the variance in their brown skin.
I didn't even believe. I'm on the same page as you. Can I leave him now.