I can remember just about every instance when someone (always white) told me that I had a bad attitude. It happened a lot in high school—when I started a new job, when I ran into a new teacher who didn’t know about my reputation for being a straight-A student leader…if I dared to speak up, speak out, or ask a simple question, I was accused of having a bad attitude, which had better be adjusted quickly—or else! In my family, I was designated “the troublemaker,” once again because I dared to question situations that just didn’t make sense; if you point out there’s a problem, YOU become the problem that needs to be fixed. But as I get closer to 40, I realize that all those experiences were perfect preparation for my life as a black feminist writer. Here’s a bit of my guest post for The Book Smugglers’ Young Adult Appreciation Month:
Everything we experience in life prepares us for what’s next. At least, that’s what I like to believe. I grew up not being the favorite in my family, which means I got used to my big brother getting the largest slice of pie and I struggled mightily to escape my older sister’s imposing shadow. Birth order may have something to do with the person I’ve become, but I like to believe that, ultimately, my childhood prepared me to recognize and reject “the myth of meritocracy.” I learned early on that I would always have to work harder to be seen and heard; no matter my talents or achievements, to some I would always be invisible.
What better preparation for life as a black feminist writer?
Yesterday Thea and Ana posted an AMAZING joint review of Wish—what an honor! This YA author *definitely* feels appreciated…