Brown Girl in the Ring: Magic for the Marginalized

This lecture was an extension of my 2013-14 graduate thesis for the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

I spent two years studying middle grade and Young Adult fiction that either featured black girls as the main characters, or as secondary and even tertiary characters. I focused on speculative fiction–magical realism, science fiction, and fantasy. After reading several books, I began to notice some unsettling things about how black girls are sometimes portrayed.

In both the thesis and lecture, I point out stories that are empowering and uplifting. I’ve included both the actual thesis and an audio of the lecture, including images of the PowerPoint presentation.

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That lovely photo is by Haitian American photographer extraordinaire, Fabiola Jean-Louis.

Ibi.Zoboi Critical Thesis

 

Also, here is a PDF file of the PowerPoint presentation with images, statistics, and lists of strategies and takeaways for creating empowered brown girl characters in speculative fiction stories. This can also serve as a guide for recognizing the ways in which stories either empower or disempower girls of colors depending on a number of factors.

BROWN GIRL IN THE RING_ MAGIC FOR THE MARGINALIZED

I hope this can serve as one of the many resources for the continued conversations about humanizing representation of children of color in books.

Thank you for reading, listening, and viewing!

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