Checking Your Anti-Black Relatives And 9 Other Ways To Protect And Raise Your Daughter’s Self-Esteem

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African American family together

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Ensure that she feels seen

We spend so much time providing for our kids that we sometimes forget to make sure that they feel seen, heard, and acknowledged. When possible, give her your undivided attention. Listen to and acknowledge what she has to contribute to age-appropriate conversations. Additionally, connect with her teachers to make sure she feels heard at school.

“There are a lot of girls who check out in school when they feel like they’re not seen, not understood or invested in by school personnel. There are a lot of negative perceptions of African-Americans, and the perception they receive is that it’s not a good thing to be black,” said Janine Jones, director of UW’s School Psychology Program. “We may think it’s easier to avoid it than to address it. But if we start addressing oppression by countering it with the humanness of who these kids are, we’re more likely to keep them engaged and feeling a sense of belonging.”

As a middle school teacher trying to teach and assess a room of 30-plus students, it’s annoying to get calls from parents whose children complain about not being called on enough. More often than not, the students are Black pre-teen girls, which is why regardless of how I feel, in the wake of these calls, I always take extra steps to be sure that these girls feel acknowledged, valued, and understood. I realize that it’s so much deeper than getting to share an answer in class. It’s about feeling seen in a world that treats you like you’re invisible.

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