Growing Up Black and Female

  • Gloria Johnson Powell
Part of the Women in Context: Development and Stresses book series (WICO, volume 2)


One of my earliest recollections of my childhood is that of one of my first-grade classmates with blond hair, freckles, and blue eyes—a virtual reproduction of Goldilocks—who asked me, “How does it feel to be colored?” That inquisitive, innocent question had increasingly more significance for me as I progressed through school—one of “the only ones” or one of “the few,” all too often the object of stares. Although I was a very visible, curious, black object, I was, nonetheless, still very invisible as a thinking, feeling person to those New England and midwestern whites, who encountered me. I retreated to a closet world, content to bury myself in books to avoid the pangs of rejection from the exclusion from birthday parties, club meetings, and other after-school activities of my white classmates. Eventually, with the loving guidance and nurturance of my family, I learned to live in two worlds and to become a hybrid person. It is about that hybridization process so long ignored by child development specialists that I write now—a process so critical in the psychosocial development of all minority-group children and one fraught with a hazardous terrain of quicksand, steep mountains, treacherous rivers, and a few peaceful grassy knolls.


Black Woman Personality Development Racial Identity Negro Youth Black Child 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gloria Johnson Powell
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Mental Retardation/Child Psychiatry, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of California Center for the Health SciencesLos AngelesUSA

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