Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Are Black women and girls allowed the space to be introverts?

By Lakenzie Walls

In my last entry, Belonging: The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, I stated, “being an introvert as a black girl when the world views black as cool isn’t easy.” I want to return to this point in this post and explore the ways black women and girls feel out of place among each other.

However, being black can sometimes feel synonymous with cool, so being anything other than cool places you in a liminal space where your otherness becomes more visible. I think the media makes it hard for black women and girls to have anything other than a strong and larger-than-life personality. One of the things that made Rae’s The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl YouTube series stand out is the show’s unique way of dismantling that stereotype and showcasing an introverted black woman.

Besides, I am aware that it’s important to showcase these images because it allows for a community of black women and girls to feel seen and not feel alone. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to black womanhood or girlhood.

When it comes down to it, I think we should allow black girls the space to be introverted without ascribing scripts to their bodies or blackness. If we don’t, we’ll further set apart someone because they don’t fit into what we believe black women and girls to be.

I once believed my introversion was a sign of weakness and something that needed to be changed if I wanted to appear strong-willed. I don’t have to be extroverted to have friends either. But, it’s important that I see representation of me on screen because people like me exist too.

Lakenzie Walls is a graduate student in English at SIUE and a contributing writer for the Cultural Front.

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