I don’t know who started this.
I don’t know who the first person was to call a Black girl fast.
I don’t know if it was meant to be a joke or a correction or to save her life from something unseen. What I do know is, now a century and a half from enslavement (and what passes as freedom), this word has been used to corrale Black girls ever since.
From there, it’s a slippery slope, right? If you can call a Black girl ‘fast’, it’s easier to call her a ‘ho.’ Which makes it easier to call her a ‘bitch.’ Which, in turn, makes her devalue the other Black girls around her using the same vernacular.
It is so easy to devalue a little Black girl. Making her an object and not a person is the quickest way to keep doing that. To keep making all the music she listens to value her body and latent, potential sexual prowess.
With this roux, you’ll always grow fresh crops of fast girls.
Inevitably, someone will challenge this observation. They’ll say I’m too sensitive. That I’m overreacting or my favorite: hit dogs holler. To that, I counter by saying, “Who is throwing the rocks?!” I’m not being sensitive so much as observant. That’s what my job is as a writer.
In the age of hook-up culture versus primo geniture fueled by toxic patriarchy; of #MeToo and rape culture; sexual assault taken as a male past time, someone must be vigilant. Someone must be willing to protect our girls. Someone must believe them. Someone must be willing to go to the mat for little Black girls and women. Someone has to be willing to take the rocks that accusers have and disarm them. One at a time.
In the interest of honesty, I too have been called fast. By my aunts that thought I was doing too much for male attention (e.g., switching, what I wore). I’ve also been called a ‘ho.’ And bitch. And ugly. These comments came from young men, men and boys that once I wouldn’t, couldn’t give them what they wanted (either sex or attention), the next step was to try and make me feel bad. In making me feel less than, their egos remained in check and unscathed (note: this is how toxic patriarchy works).
However, the great thing about aging out of that particular bracket where being called fast was an option is self-reflection. I now have the life experience to look back and determine just what and why that was trash behavior! Moreover, I am able to assert the trash behavior was independent of me! This means people projected what they thought onto me.
In a toxic, sexually charged culture, any deviation to that acceptance of said dominant culture is, can be, problematic. Not allowing myself to be dehumanized was problematic. Standing up for myself is problematic. Not allowing myself to be loved or desired in pieces was problematic. Not being sexually available (which is the definition of being a ‘fast’ girl might I add!) was problematic!
The adage goes, “It’s not what they call you, but what you answer to.” In order to protect yourself and your spirit, you cannot answer to every thing you are called. At the same time, knowing who you are will make those names not stick. And those same dogs that holler? You can throw your rock right back at them.