“I am tired of having to both read and write litanies for black girls gone too soon.”

Relisha Tenau Rudd

Eight-year-old Relisha Rudd is missing. (Photo credit: AP/FBI)

Brittney Cooper has a heartbreaking and powerful piece over at Salon today about Black girls “made grown too soon” and the damage done by the cultural myth of the super-humanly strong, resilient Black woman.

I am tired of having to both read and write litanies for black girls gone too soon. For Relisha Rudd. For Renisha McBride who would have been 20 years old this month. For Karyn Washington. For Teleka Patrick. For Christina Sankey.

Some of these black girls like Karyn, age 22, and Teleka, age 30, were women. Some of them, like Relisha, were little women, made grown too soon. Some of them, like Renisha, were on the cusp of womanhood.

[...] What threads these women’s lives together is the collective lack of national care for their stories. Black women have been passing these narratives around the blogosphere and social media to each other, posting collective laments, and wondering if anyone else cares. These stories are not national news to anybody else, but they are national news to us.

Black women’s indomitable, unyielding strength in the face of unreasonable privation is one of our most dearly held cultural and national myths. Our ability to make a way out of no way seems like magic. We invoke this façade of strength as though it could actually materially replace the lack of care, the lack of outrage, the lack of social policy that could actually help black women and girls not to repeatedly succumb to severe poverty, mental illness, plain old racism and sexism, and disability.

Cooper shares her own experience growing up in a childhood “marred by violence” and how she coped, and calls for those who to claim to care out Black women and girls to “focus on reducing the routine forms of psychic and physical violence we experience, rather than pathologizing our strategies for dealing.”

Seriously, read the rest here.

Atlanta, GA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

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