Who is the suburban black girl?
While many are accustomed to the stereotypical neck rolling, hardcore, thugalicious black girl, few are aware of the existence and unique culture of the suburban black girl. Although many black girls living in the suburbs find ease in moving between white and black communities, there are still problems that derive from growing up black in predominately white suburbs. The suburban black girl experiences a unique kind of isolation that is easily overlooked.
She stands out and is labeled as "different" because of her skin color, body shape, and hair texture. When the class is learning about slavery (the watered-down version) everyone looks at the black girl, making her feel ashamed to be associated with that part of her history. As the only representation of her race, she is overly conscious about her actions so as not to do anything that will shine a negative light on African Americans as a whole. She feels like she cannot defend herself against "innocent" racist comments due to the fear of overreacting. After all, her white friend "didn't know any better and meant no harm". The most frustrating thing in the world is hearing “You are the whitest black girl.” What does that even mean? That statement is not a compliment, it's insulting. What exactly is acting white?
Fitting into the black community
As if fitting into the suburb isn’t hard enough. Now in majority black environments, her own people don't want to identify with her because she doesn't "act black enough". Black girls living in the suburbs are many times classified as being bougie individuals that are not in touch with their "black side" and kiss white people's butts. Sometimes it seems like blacks that live in the hood assume that the suburban girl is a sellout that has all success and no downfalls (similar to Hillary Banks). The suburban black girl has a nice home, great education, lesser chance of getting mugged and doesn’t understand the black struggle. Therefore, she is not worthy of being a true black person.
In the suburbs, the other black kids are just like her so she doesn't realize that the way she dresses or talks are an issue. She soon becomes aware that she isn't black enough once other black girls don't want to be her friend solely because she talks differently. The way the suburban black girl speaks, dresses, and behaves is often deemed "acting white". She experiences inner conflicts on how to prove to the black community that she is just as black as they are. Black girls that live in the suburbs are often times mocked about dating white guys, listening to "white music", and not understanding black inside jokes. It's frustrating enough when someone of a different race mocks her, but even more so when she hears it from a black person.
Stuck in the middle
The suburban black girl is in between two worlds with both the blacks and whites expecting her to act a certain way. It is hard for her to find her own identity and bypass racial barriers in order to reclaim her own sense of blackness. Her voice is not heard in the pool of the other black struggles. Often times she wonders about the other unheard voices that share her struggle. Although the black girl in the suburbs has different experiences than her urban sisters, both can still relate. They relate to the struggle of their people, but in different ways. In the end, black girls need to have each other’s backs and stop alienating one another. Girls shouldn’t make another feel bad simply because of who she is. Black girls should accept one another and love/embrace everyone’s differences.
As stated by Carlton Banks, "being Black isn’t what we are trying to be, it’s what we are".