Why So Many Black Girls Feel Unseen in Church

(Photo by IIONA VIRGIN on Unsplash)

Khristi Adams, Christian author of Parable of the Brown Girl, recalls being called names in school and struggling to fit in when the public schools she went to were under 5% black.

"The first time I was called the 'n' word on the playground, I was in second grade," Adams says. "I was just playing, and I saw two boys and I just wanted to play, so I went over and this one boy was playing with me, and then the other one was like, 'Don't play with her. We don't play with "n word."' But when you're a kid and you haven't processed things or read books or had conversations, you are confused."

Adams says she's not the only one who has had this experience—or similar ones—as a little girl. In fact, in her book, she unpacks how black girls often feel unseen and unheard in society, including in the church.

"[These negative experiences] start to accumulate and build up over time," she says. "And that translates into self-doubt, self-hatred, and then as you get older, you have to unlearn those things. You might go through a process of being angry. ... They might be angry processing things for years that they heard—negative messages about themselves, about their hair, their skin complexion."

Adams says that one way to help is by introducing African American children to the way God sees them, and by having churches represent more diversity. It's critical that Sunday school teachers are aware of how to deal with these types of issues also, Adams says on the Charisma News podcast on the Charisma Podcast Network.

"They don't see enough of themselves represented in society," Adams says. "I feel like if we in the church have a specific goal, in a specific audience, [it would be good] if we're just a little bit more sensitive and conscious of how we address that. That idea that young black girls are made in the image of God and being more inclusive, and just [being mindful of] how we use examples on Sunday morning sermons, or visuals.

"They just need to see more of that and they need to hear more of that in their messages. And Sunday school or whatever it might be, you know, just really being more intentional about that."

Listen to the entire episode to hear how Adams says God's truth can shatter society's racist lies by clicking here.

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