“I was railroaded!” she exclaimed, complaining that she did not receive apt time to ask the President a question, which she had been promised by ABC. Ultimately, according to reports, President Obama noticed Garner and did have a conversation with her after the town hall. This incident sparked the trend #LoudBlackGirls on Twitter, with black women discussing the times they, and other important black women, spoke up for themselves or for others.
Feminista Jones began the conversation on her Twitter account, noting that black women often remain silent in order to avoid being depicted as an “Angry Black Woman.”
I think about how we silence ourselves to avoid the "Angry Black Woman" stereotype when we really just need to be heard #LoudBlackGirls
— Feminista Jones (@FeministaJones) July 15, 2016
— Black Youth Project (@BlackYouthProj) July 16, 2016
— GirlTyler (@sheistyler) July 15, 2016
This discussion is essential because black women are often shamed for being too loud or too outspoken. The celebration of black women activists and the characterization of them as “loud black girls” is a wonderful reclamation of a stereotype that often has painful consequences for black girls and women.
In the United States Black girls are often punished more in schools for such arbitrary things as “having an attitude” or “talking back” to a teacher or an administrator. Recent reports demonstrate that Black girls are suspended from schools at much higher rates than their white counterparts.
When I was in high school, overachiever though I was, a teacher confronted me in the hallway about my failure to fulfill some duties as class president. I was blindsided and really hurt and when I spoke up to defend myself, the teacher promptly said “Don’t get an attitude with me.”
I had to walk away.
Luckily, I had many more teachers ready to speak up for me when I felt I could not. Many black girls in America simply do not have someone who might take their side in confrontations with superiors for speaking up for themselves.
In addition, the inherent dismissal and the sexist chiding for not being quiet and docile serves to diminish black women and girls for being themselves. The loud label often is applied to a group of black girls being joyful together. I say, if black girl joy is loud, then let it be loud.
People: Black girls/women are so loud!
Me: Black girls/women can't express or enjoy themselves? #LoudBlackGirls
— Kanika (@k_stallworth93) July 15, 2016
You'll always be too loud for a world that never intended on listening to you #loudblackgirls
— . (@bellefromtumblr) July 15, 2016
This discussion was vital for black women and girls who are very often told they are too much or not enough in the United States. In Erica Garner’s case, being too loud meant she got her discussion with the president and stayed true to herself. Clearly, there is power in being a #LoudBlackGirl.
Photo: Wiki Commons