#letherlearn initiative is fighting harmful stereotypes of black girls in the classroom in new psa

January 10, 2017

The prison industrial complex and school-to-prison pipeline have been hot topics in the Black community for the past decade but have seen a spike in focus now that documentaries like Ava Duvernay and Netflix’s “13th” are making waves. #LetHerLearn is an initiative by the National Women’s Law Center highlighting the negative stereotypes that contribute to Black girls being at the receiving end of unfair disciplinary practices that eventually leads them to be in the juvenile detention system. Mistreatment of Black women is nothing new, but what’s often overlooked is that it begins very early in life and continues in various spaces throughout. The classroom is supposed to be a haven of sorts, where the intellectual, mental, and social growth and wellbeing of students are paramount. But when you have ill-equipped teachers harboring outright or latent racist and bigoted notions about their students of color, and in particular their Black female pupils, you get statistics that say Black girls are five times as likely to be suspended but don’t commit serious offenses more than their white counterparts. The video show several girls recounting that they’ve been called “loud”, “angry”, or “unladylike” interweaved with footage from the atrocities of Black girl mistreatment in the past year in school settings, citing notable incidents like the South Carolina student body slammed by a school detention officer and the elementary school student whose braid was cut off by a teacher. All in all, #LetHerLearn is an amazing initiative and we’re hoping that it galvanizes a community of activists, political leaders and everyday people to make their voices heard and protect our girls. Stream the video from the NWLC’s Facebookbelow.

By T. McLendon, AFROPUNK Contributor