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Slay in Your Lane
The Black Girl Bible
- Read in 15 minutes
- Audio & text available
- Contains 9 key ideas
Slay in Your Lane (2018) is a powerful broadside against the discrimination faced by black women in today’s Britain. But Elizabeth Uviebinené and Yomi Adegoke aren’t just interested in criticizing the way things are – they also want to help improve the lives of black girls and women in the UK. Packed full of insightful advice and helpful strategies, this a blueprint for rising above prejudice and achieving great things.
Key idea 1 of 9
British society wasn’t designed with black women in mind.
Black women are an integral part of British life. Whether it’s as businesswomen or innovative creatives, their economic and cultural contributions make the country what it is, yet that’s often forgotten.
It’s no wonder – they live in a society designed by white men for white men.
Those white guys have been running the show since time immemorial, and they’re still comfortably ensconced at the top today.
Life’s a whole lot easier when everything’s been designed for your comfort. If you’re white and male, you can flunk university and still find success as soon as you hit the job market.
It’s a completely different story for women and people of color – not to mention black women!
Living in a white, patriarchal society means they’re often reduced to patronizing stereotypes, rather than being treated as intelligent equals worthy of society’s time and respect.
That means black women are often lumped together into one homogenous group of “others.” The difference between, say, black women of African descent and Afro-Caribbean women is rarely noticed.
Worst of all, people often expect black women to fit the clichéd image of an “angry,” “strong” and “sassy” character. Their potential is routinely underestimated, and their progress stunted in the workplace as a result.
It doesn’t take long before black girls figure out that society wasn’t designed with them in mind. In fact, that’s one of the first things they learn at school.
The education system is a challenging place for black girls. As soon as they’re in the classroom, they see the vast gap between their parents’ expectations and those of a society which consistently underestimates their abilities.
They also realize that racist stereotypes about black women being aggressive or lazy determine their lives.
Whatever their real talents, black girls are often pushed toward work in professions deemed “suitable” for them. That often means they’re encouraged to become nurses rather than, say, engineers.
And that takes its toll on their confidence – they start doubting whether they’ll ever be able to take part in society on equal terms.
But rebellion isn’t an option either. White teachers routinely assume that black girls are troublemakers and treat their infractions much more harshly than those of their white classmates.
A black girl will often find herself excluded for things that a white girl would be given yet another final warning for.