We need to break the unrealistic stereotypes. If you look at the media you see more images of black women a la Love and Hip Hop/Real Housewives of Atlanta and less images a la Claire Huxtable (who spoke Spanish fluently by the way), perpetuated by the media regarding black women. By the way, there are less black women that actually behave the way the media portrays.
We are underrepresented in profiles of multilinguals and polyglots. I spend hours performing google searches and refining keywords again and again in pursuit of information on multilingual black celebs and notables. Very few (or even worse no) black notables come up in my initial searches. I see loads of lists such as “21 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Multilingual”. Honestly, I’m lucky if I see a brown face on the list. The sad part is, I keep seeing the same 2 brown faces in different lists. I KNOW that there are more of us than that. Couple this fact with #1 and you’ll understand why I say people act soooooooo shocked, when I start speaking other languages besides English.
We can enrich our lives with different experiences as black women. Multilingualism provides access to additional experiences, career opportunities and multiple avenues to success.
We can ensure our safety. Do you remember that episode of Scandal, where Olivia Pope quickly outwitted her kidnappers and foiled their trafficking attempt by speaking fluent Farsi to the Persian terrorists? While this is a fictional show, the dangers of human trafficking are real. The danger increases when you are not in your home country and it increases even more when you don’t speak any of the language. The more languages you know when traveling abroad, the safer you become when your voice can be heard by any and everyone at any given time.
We stimulate our creativity and intellect. When we speak another language besides our native language, we stimulate activity in less used areas of the brain, thereby increasing brain power and creativity.
We can expand our dating pool (if we so choose). It expands the dating pool, not only beyond race, but you can also date people who don’t even speak your native language.
We can mentor. We can give back to the community by teaching what we’ve learned or we can become a role model and use our story to inspire and encourage others.
What other reasons can you think of for more black women to become multilingual? Share below!