Last week, in need of a birthday card, I perused the offerings at my local drug store. I noted how many cards were illustrated with cherubic, little, white girls–all curls and blue eyes, surrounded by hearts and kittens and flowers. High up in the racks, I spied a sliver of brown skin and reached for it. This is what I found…

…a screw-faced, afroed, cursing black girl. On its own, the item from Carlton Cards is perhaps unremarkable, but in the context of all those other cards idealizing white girls as the embodiment of childhood innocence, sweetness and girlitude, it stinks.

Black women have long carried the burden of the neck-twisting, ball-busting, curse-you in-a-second, Sapphire stereotype. The card above is illustrative of how early our humanity and our femininity get stripped away…of why it’s so easy to demonize black women and girls…of why a missing 19-year-old Natalee Holloway gets wall-to-wall media coverage, but 15-year-old Enaesha Lattice Innis gets next to none.

The card demonstrates whom our society values and who it considered just a joke.

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