I should just get paid for being cute
Sometimes in black communities we forget that black girls are girls, not little women. My friend then shared with me her own story of being sexually abused and ending up pregnant and in need of an abortion at age 12 because her family members irresponsibly left her with a male family friend. The first time a 12-year-old black girl ever told me she had been raped, I, too, was 12 and she was a friend. The second time, I was a 22-year-old teacher, and the 12-year-old was my student.
I realize now, having heard a version of this story, yet again, that as gut-wrenching as these stories are, among black girls they are not uncommon; they are not even remarkable. So many of the highly educated black women you see went to hell and back before reaching the age of 18. Education has become our drug of choice.
[…]For black girls, educational achievement is not always the best indicator of a stable, happy home life. For me, education offered a goal and reward structure that was predictable and that I could control, simply by doing what was asked of me. In the midst of so many things I could not control, school was attractive. I imagine that for many black girls the narrative is similar.