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Watch: “Who cries for the black girl?”

“I don’t think I perceive myself differently than the rest of people perceive me. I think I’m so… aware of how other people perceive me that it’s hard for me to separate the two.” — Daejione Jones, “who cries for the black girl?”

In the past week, I’ve rewatched my friend Abigail Bereola’s film “who cries for the black girl?” over and over again.

WCBG is a series of interviews with five black women at Amherst College (Abigail’s and my alma mater) but, in its remarkable honesty, vulnerability, and specificity, it feels relevant and real well beyond one school.

When I was a freshman and even a sophomore, I would look at the older black women in BSU [the Black Student Union] and think, ‘They’re so crazy.’ Because they had all these radical ideas, like ‘Burn down the school, we need to do this, we need to do that. We want a separate graduation. I don’t wanna graduate with them.’

And I remember thinking, ‘They are so crazy. Why are you here if you don’t wanna graduate with them?’ I remember thinking, ‘They just don’t understand. The BSU shouldn’t be about complaining….’

But then when I myself became one of those senior black women, I thought, ‘I… and the black community as a whole have been done so dirty by the [Amherst College] administration.’ And now I feel just like they felt, just so thoroughly upset and angry, and now I understand what they were saying and wish that I could go back and tell them that. But that’s what racism does and that’s what racism here does. You have to be crazy in a racist world to be able to identify racism…. They twist everything so that even the people in your own community are looking at you like you’re crazy. And then you’re looking at yourself, like, ‘Am I crazy?’

In the interviews, the students speak candidly about race and gender, sex and sexuality, politicization and feminist consciousness, relationships, harassment, discrimination, mental health, and suicide. And the project itself was conceived of as a way to grapple with all these. As Bereola explains,

I made this because, for me, creation can be healing. And I’m so grateful that these women were willing to be a part of it and make it with me. This is not about a singular ‘black female experience,’ but rather, about multiple experiences. Even so, I recognize that there are omissions in the experiences depicted and I definitely don’t think of this as the end-all-be-all. I hope you don’t either.

Take an hour out of your day to watch.

New Haven, CT

Dana Bolger is a Senior Editor at Feministing and the co-founder of Know Your IX, the national youth-led organization working to end gender violence in schools. She's testified before Congress on Title IX policy and legislative reform, and her writing has appeared in a number of outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. She's also a student at Yale Law School, and you can find her on Twitter at @danabolger.

Dana Bolger is a Senior Editor at Feministing and a student at Yale Law School.

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