Paula Chase, what do you imagine for Black girls?
In my Time…
In my time, I’ve had a male supervisor get inches from my face and tell me that I will obey him.
I’ve had men lean on my problem-solving abilities, then turn around and get nasty when those same abilities dent their fragile egos.
I’ve been told to smile and have more fun in professional environments.
I’ve seen inexperienced male colleagues promoted and allowed to learn on the job.
In my time, these things are business as usual. And that’s why I am the angry Black woman that society warned you about.
I was raised by an angry Black woman and am raising two myself.
That anger is passion and I’m not afraid of it anymore. Nor am I cowed by anyone who would seek to diminish the flames that have seen me through a world that doesn’t seem to know what to do with me. One that needs my intellect and drive, but only to their benefit. One that would easily suck the knowledge from me, leaving me lifeless on the roadside if they could. One that has tried.
In my time, I’ve learned how to use the world’s greed against itself by resisting its grubby hands and protecting my knowledge.
I breathe life and whisper strength into the young sisters that will one day lead. But they also breathe life into me. Our world is no longer a narrow walk path where one stands in the middle, blocking passage until our time ends. But a wide, curving highway where new and old school drive side-by-side learning from one another – avoiding hairpin turns with a gentle nudge of the wheel and moving over to let those with the courage, at the moment, take the point.
It would be ideal if my daughters didn’t have to deal with men who, by nature of a body part, think they own knowledge and power. It’s also unrealistic. The secret to survival is in the sauce – a recipe of determination, hope and a passion so fierce it shoots fire from the tongue.
Instead of holding onto that recipe, relinquishing it only at my death, I’m sharing it far and wide – to my daughters and those who could be my daughters. Your sauce is your soul – an acquired taste, nourishing those who have too long fed on patriarchy, a flavorless dish served cold. It will be too hot for some. It will make others crave its fiery spice.
It can’t be stolen, because it’s in you. It can’t be replicated, because we each bring a special ingredient that changes it just enough. It can’t be diluted, because passion rages like an inferno.
I share the recipe with the girls who aren’t afraid to be themselves. Who won’t allow how it was always done, to be how it will always be. Because what they see in their time, doesn’t have to be a re-run of mine.