Thursday, October 17, 2013

Style, Politics, and Inter-generational Links Among young Black Women

The first week back to school, I noticed that one of the young sisters was rocking her hair natural. She had gone through the big chop on June 5, she said. (They always know the exact date). She told me the reason why was because she'd often noticed our sister-contributors--Danielle Hall, Cindy Lyles, and Briana Whiteside.

 I was of course pleased to hear that those young sisters had a notable effect on the growth of consciousness for an even younger sister. One of the main reasons to put the "older-younger" sisters in touch with the young sisters was to provide models, and here, I was seeing it working in a distinct way. Those inter-generational links between groups of students, and in this case, black women are crucial.   

There's so much useful knowledge that can be passed along through non-verbal rhetoric (i.e. hair and clothing styles) and regular, passing conversations. Since so many young people are inclined to stay within their relatively small circle of friends, I learned that the public events I was arranging over the years operated as important convening moments where folks who might not normally get together had a chance to talk. 

One of the challenges that the university faces is creating more opportunities for a larger number of first- and second-year black women to come into contact with older-younger sisters. Campus organizations for young black women have not been so durable over the last few years, so younger sisters likely have a harder time getting a sense of institutional memory and advice about navigating the university.

Collegiate Students
Style & Knowledge   

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