Killing Them Young: Why Ideas Matter For Black Girls ( And Every Other Girl Too)

And just like that, I slumped. ” why didn’t I get points for it?” I asked my JS2 (8th grade) physics teacher. The feedback I got haunts me on days I feel like I haven’t put in my best. On days that I am genuinly tired of constantly trying to be the best at what I believe I am the best at. “How can I give you points for a model ? I asked for a project that involves something mechanical, and you present a model. 2/10 for you now go and sit down“.

If I didn’t have a parent that believed in my potential not just for being a daughter but as an actual human being I might have never pursued my academics in the STEM field. I made a cardboard model of what a nuclear power station would be like and explained the concept of how you could re-navigate a water source so that it doesn’t interrupt the water source of neighbouring farmlands in the event one was to be built. I got laughed at by both my peers and teacher of what a silly project it was.

That was in 2001.




I still have amazing ideas but they don’t involve nuclear energy. It might seem like the best option in terms of constant supply and efficiency. However, no one ever talks about long term consequences in terms of waste mamangement and sustainability. I’m glad I got laughed at. I’m glad I have stupid ideas. I did wish, at the time, I had someone who saw what I saw in the spectrum of what I imagined the future to be. But you can’t have everything you want. But what you can have is stupid ideas. And stupid ideas, with the right amount of encouragement, change the world.


Dear Black Girls with Stupid Ideas,

Accept the rejection. Accept the ridicule. Accept that people will always doubt you wheneever you see the things that they cannot. Accept that Ideas choose their vessels, and as a vessel you have the duty to nuture it as best as you can. But never ever accept disbelief in yourself because Ideas only stay when you believe in yourself.




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