Contributing opinion writer
Kyla N. Golding
Congratulations Claudine Gay. I hope you stand firm in your dreams for the University, that you will show us all your version, self-defined and self-determined, of what it means for Black women to win, especially here at Harvard. I’ll be rooting and praying for you all the way through. Because when Black women win, we’re all better for it.
At the very least, if I can’t flip this anti-Black world on its head in my lifetime, I know I can give my children a 33 percent chance to not just get in the door at a place like Harvard, but to make sure they stay in the building with the lights on and bills paid after they’ve crossed the threshold — especially considering that we were barred from entering the College gates for longer than we’ve been allowed inside them.
For Black women, self-care is an act of liberation. It disrupts systems of power — even at places like Harvard — that hold a stake in patriarchy and institutionalized racism. It is a way for us to free ourselves and dilute our pain from historical patterns of trauma caused by everyday violences. It is a crucial aspect of embracing and valuing our dignity and self-worth because trauma doesn’t have to be our destiny. We deserve to heal, to grow, to change. And sometimes it looks like distancing ourselves from potentially toxic, or infectious, scenarios or spaces to protect our energy and safeguard it for our own well-being.
I am a Black woman who — like anyone else — has moments of strength and moments when I’ve lost my voice. Too often, though, has the world convinced me that my value is fixed in my ability to defend myself incessantly, to fight for others intensely, and to maintain the perfect pitch as my larynx swells.
When Prince Harvard bestowed upon me a fateful kiss, I’d hoped that I could slay the villains that had robbed me of the fantastical dreams of Black princessdom. But the truth is, both inside and outside of this white castle, that this little Black girl cannot want to be a princess, mostly because she knows the world would never let her be one.