Can you imagine telling your son or daughter that when a police officer pulls them over, for whatever reason, that they should not look at the officer, keep their hands on the wheel, and don’t make a sudden move? Could you also imagine telling your child that they are more likely to be targeted by a police officer than their “white” counterparts?
I was asked to review Resilient Black Girl – 52 Weeks of Anti-Racist Activities for Black Joy and Resilience by M.J. Fievre. I agreed because we can always learn and grow.
Resilient Black Girl
In addition to 52 weeks of anti-racist activities in a workbook format, Resilient Black Girl talks about things that as “white people” we don’t understand. But, is very real in the black and brown communities.
We learn about Aiyana Stanley-Jones, a 7-year-old girl, who was sleeping on the couch in her grandmother’s apartment when the Detroit police stormed in after throwing a flash-bang grenade which landed close enough to Aiyana that ended up setting her blanket on fire. The commanding officer entered the apartment and fired one shot that killed Aiyana immediately. The police officer was never tried.
The author states that what we learned from this:
“Black people are not safe, even in their own homes,” M.J. Fievre writes. She continues by saying, “many people see Black people as a threat; Liberation will come. when Black-centric concerns are addressed and when we build a world where Black lives actually matter and are protected.”
The author tells the story of Brian Crooks and his stories make an appearance throughout the book. He says, “my parents told me how to act when pulled over by the police, so of course, I was all “yes sir, no sir” every time it happened. That didn’t stop them from asking me to step out of the car so that they could pat me down or search for drugs.” I didn’t have a drop of alcohol until I was twenty-one, but by that point, I was an expert at breathalyzers and field sobriety tests.”
Not Being Seen
The first time I heard this was on The Bachelor, when Michele, the Bachelorette, told her group of men that for a long time, she felt as if she wasn’t seen. I didn’t understand what that meant until I read Resilient Black Girl. It meant that when black and white children are in school together, the black children are often overlooked.
The book also talks about racial profiling, how racism affects one’s mental health and the myths of reverse racism. It also talks about what your rights are when confronted by a police officer.
All Lives Matter
In Resilient Black Girl, the author also touches upon microaggressions. When someone says something to a Black person, she offers suggestions on how to respond. One of the words that we hear a lot is “All Lives Matter.”
This is offensive to Black and Brown people because it really states that Black lives don’t matter, looking at stories like George Floyd, Philando Castile, or Breonna Taylor. The author quotes Brian Crooks as he explains it, ” When we say, “Black Lives Matter,” we aren’t saying that ONLY Black lives Matter. We are saying that Black Lives Matter too. For the entirety of the history of this country, Black lives never mattered.”
52 Weeks of Anti-Racist Activities for Black Joy and Resilience
The book shares important information as I mentioned above, and a ton more. But it also focuses on helping Black women find peace and joy within themselves. This is a workbook that should help empower them. M.J. Fievre suggests things like, write about your childhood hero or writing a letter to yourself. Each activity is more powerful than the next. It’s a book that can be used once a week for an entire year.
Books like this are important for “white” people to read to help educate them on what it’s like to live as a Black woman in this country. It’s also important if we want to see change. In addition, it’s also important for a Black and Brown person to read to become empowered and feel good about themselves.
M.J. Fievre is an excellent writer and I felt I learned from reading the book. I know you will too. You can pick one up on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1642506540/.