Friday, February 14, 2020

Parable of the Brown Girl

I just finished reading one of the most thought-provoking books I've read in a long while, Parable of the Brown Girl: The Sacred Lives of Girls of Color.  Author, Khristi Lauren Adams, tells about the challenges of girls growing up brown-skinned in a society that seems to undervalue their uniqueness.  She mines historical, cultural, and spirituals truths from the experiences of a number of girls she has worked with over the years, as well as her own.  Parable is just this month reaching bookstore shelves.

Each chapter presents a different challenge faced by black girls, not only in today's society but in some cases, for generations.  Through the stories of the many of the girls she has counseled and mentored she lays out how those challenges shape their self concepts and personalities.  They have to navigate cultural expectations of the black as well as the white settings in which they live and go to school. She shows how negative societal myths impact these girls' lives. In her work with these girls she helps them understand how God can work through their adverse experiences and learn from them.

Author Khristi Adams is a speaker, author and advocate. Khristi, an ordained Minister with American Baptist Churches USA, is the Firestone Endowment Chaplain and instructor of religious studies and philosophy at the Hill School in Pottstown, PA. She is co-director of Diversity at the Hill School. Previously she was Interim Protestant Chaplain at Georgetown University Law Center & Georgetown University, Associate Campus Pastor for Preaching & Spiritual Programming at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California, and former Director of Youth Ministries at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, NJ.

Growing up in a white world, I did not face many of the challenges described in this book.  As a mother, I did not have to worry about those particular things when raising my daughter in a white society.  What an eye-opener this book is to people like me.  I highly encourage parents, teachers, school administrators, counselors, coaches, church workers, and anyone who works with teenage girls to read this worthwhile book.  It would be inspirational for teen readers as well.

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