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Hear Our TruthsThe Creative Potential of Black Girlhood$
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Ruth Nicole Brown

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037979

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037979.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

When Black Girls Look at You

When Black Girls Look at You

An Anti-Narrative Photo-Poem

(p.98) 3 When Black Girls Look at You
Hear Our Truths

Ruth Nicole Brown

University of Illinois Press

This chapter considers what it means to be seen and looked at as a Black girl. Building on the visual-poetic analysis of June Jordan's (1969) Who Look at Me and M. NourbeSe Philip's (2008) Zong!, the chapter offers an “anti-narrative photo-poem” that couples photography, poetry, and intersubjective insights of Black girlhood to specifically address the institutional norms and interpersonal dynamics that govern their lives and promote a limited knowing of Black girls premised on sight alone. The primary purpose of this chapter is to show that Black girls actively decide who and what is worthy of their presence and attention. The anti-narrative photo-poem invites those who dare to look to answer with action, as June Jordan suggested, but to do so while giving attention to the kinds of nuanced intersubjective interactions that hinge on the particular usable truth that Black girls are looking at you, watching them.

Keywords:   Black girlhood, photography, poetry, institutional norms, interpersonal dynamics, sight, intersubjective interactions, visual-poetic analysis, June Jordan, M. NourbeSe Philip

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