Choose to Challenge the Stereotypes Placed Upon Black Women and Girls

Chicago Peace Fellow

I choose to challenge the inequities, biases and stereotypes placed upon Black Women and girls each and every day. These inequities begin when we are children.


A 2017 report from the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality found that adults believe that Black girls, ages 5 -14, require less nurturing, support and comfort than their white peers. This same study also found that Black girls know more about adult topics and more about sex than white girls. The biases revealed by this study helped to shed new light on why Black girls are consistently disciplined more than their peers. The report also highlights the fact that educators, school-based police officers and officials across the juvenile justice system often employ significant discretion in their decision making, including for minor infractions such as dress code violations, disobedience and disruptive behavior.

Black girls should be loved, cared for and nurtured and not seen as threats. -- Jamila Trimuel

Recently, 22-year-old Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history (as well as an award-winning writer and cum laude graduate of Harvard University) shared on Twitter: “A security guard tailed me on my walk home tonight. He demanded if I lived there because ‘you look suspicious.’ I showed my keys & buzzed myself into my building. He left, no apology. This is the reality of black girls: One day you’re called an icon, the next day, a threat.”

Why does this have to be our reality?


The biases and lack of support doesn’t stop once we reach young adulthood either. It continues on throughout our life. From the wage gap to small business revenues to even nonprofit revenues.... Black women fare less in all spaces.

  • Wage Gap: Black women are typically paid just 63 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men compared to 79 cents for white women.
  • Small Businesses: although Black women are well-represented among business owners, they earn significantly less money than other business owners. One study found that Black women-owned businesses earned an average of $24,000 in net revenue, compared to $142,900 among all women-owned businesses.
  • Non-Profits: the funding gap between Black and white-led organizations is clear, and alarming. A recent study showed that nonprofit groups led by Black women received less money than those run by white women and Black men. And the unrestricted net assets (donations that can be used for any purpose) of Black-led groups were 76% smaller than those of white-led groups.

The fact is, as a Black woman, I’m tired.

I am tired of the stereotypes placed upon our Black girls.

I am tired of the fact that Black women are the least paid in the workplace and least funded for their nonprofit endeavors.

I am tired of Black women and girls being slaughtered in the streets and even in their own beds.

I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.

You know the saying, “if you see something say something”. Well, we have been saying something for hundreds of years and we are tired of being ignored.


But I won’t give up. I am not backing down nor giving up this fight for equity and equality for Black women and girls. Join this fight with me.

  • Become a Mentor: Be a consistent force in her life. Mentoring allows us to provide resources and opportunities in ways that their family or those around them may not have the capacity to do. In addition, schools should be intentional about exposing girls to successful women who look like them and who come from similar communities.
  • Debunk Myths and Stereotypes: Be vocal and join the conversations where our voices are too often unheard. We have to dismantle stereotypes and call out biases you may have within yourself or those you may see in others. We also must hold those in media and advertising accountable for how they portray Black women and girls on their platforms. We are smart, creative, analytical, inquisitive, kind, fearless, service-oriented, and so much more.
  • Do your research: Funders, this one is for you. I urge you to run the data for the past three years and document what percentage of your funding went to Black women Founders of small businesses and/or nonprofit organizations. Are you satisfied with the results? Publish those statistics and share the results with your key stakeholders and the broader community. If you don’t have this data, then add this data point on future funding applications. That way, you can run a report at the end of this year.
  • Support Her:  If you know of a black woman in your network who has founded a nonprofit organization or small business, support her by generously donating or purchasing her products or services. Introduce her to your network so that she can increase her support base as well.

I want to affirm all my Black women and not be weary in well doing because you will reap if you faint not.

We will be treated fairly.

We will get paid what we are worth.

We will receive the funding that we deserve.

But to realize my dream, we all have to do the work. Providing support for the next generation of Black women is important, because the vitality of Black women impacts everyone.

Together, we will make the changes we need for our future generations.

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