“If You Hit Me, I’m Gonna Hit You Back”
This chapter foregrounds girls' stories about fighting against a critical literary backdrop of Black girlhood as recounted in June Jordan's (2000) Soldier: A Poet's Childhood, Toni Cade Bambara's (1992) “A Girl's Story,” and performance poems written by four SOLHOT homegirls. This analysis of girls' narratives about fighting and violence in their daily schooled lives validates girls' stories about fighting within a larger context of structural and interpersonal violence, describes the kind of power Jordan argues is necessary to address both adults' complicity in violence (against youth) and the systemic nature of violence, and demonstrates how and why the performance of homegirls' poetry enables girls in SOLHOT to practice freedom as Bambara instructed. In response to girls' stories, a performance of listening, courage, and interdependence as exemplified by SOLHOT homegirls is advocated as a visionary solution to the popular–policy problem so often constructed as girlfighting, mean girls, and/or bullying.
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