Talk Back

Protecting the Self-Esteem of Our Black Girls

I was having a conversation with someone who informed me that their teenage female relative made a profound statement about the dating life as a young Black female.  The statement was:

“We don’t have any boyfriends because our Black boys don’t like us; they only like girls of other races and they have everything.”

Of course the statement is of great concern to me because I would never want any of our young, Black females to think less of themselves due to the fact they are not the preference of some of their young, Black male counterparts.

I began to ponder on how this perception can affect the self-esteem of a young, Black impressionable female. It can be disheartening when you feel that your own does not find you attractive or worthy of their time.  Most of the time a Black male’s first love is his mother who he thinks the world of. He watches her take care of him, love him, make sacrifices for him, and makes sure he has everything that is needed by any means necessary. There is a special bond between a mother and son, so why wouldn’t he want to love someone who has the same skin tone as his mother?

We have to teach our girls they are unique, valued, beautiful, and smart.  The media often depicts the black female as less desirable and places us on the short end of the totem pole. It is imperative they know they are special and should exude the epitome of class and elegance.

To my fathers, let your daughters know they are beautiful, important, and not invisible. Daughters need to first hear these things from you because you are the first man in her life.  Praise, support, and encourage her to become independent and have a positive self-image.  Validation should come from you.

The plight of the Black female has not been an easy one. Our strength and resilience is beyond compare. The scars and stereotypes run deep. Right now the Black female leads the pack by being the most educated group in the United States and we lead all groups in college enrollment. This is a great achievement to be proud of and it is the means to prosperity and overall survival. We rock!

So to my young Black divas you are something to be proud of.  Hold your head high, make good grades, become lifelong learners, and represent well. Love yourself and the right person will come into your life to love and appreciate your strength and beauty. I am rooting for you. I love being a Black woman and there is no one on this Earth who is going to make me change my mind otherwise.

(drops mic)

Dr. Fenner is an elementary principal, TV host of “Let’s Talk with Dr. Shanessa Fenner,” radio personality, and writer.