Building the Syllabus

A Seat at the Table Syllabus: The Truths of Young Women of Color

Solange Knowles’s ‘A Seat at the Table’ has been one of the most reflective and popular albums produced by a young black woman that speaks to issues of race, womanhood, and equality. At the beginning this new year, and as we witness the inauguration of a new president we invite young women of color, ages 16-30, to have a seat at the table by helping us collect the texts, music, and visual art that speak to our experiences. If we are to have a democracy in which all of us have a seat at the table, we know that these experiences should be central to the development of America’s practices and policies.

As we listened to ‘A Seat at the Table’ and to Solange’s dissection of the album and her process, we were listening to a young woman uncovering her truths through introspection. The album is full of questions Solange feels the world asks her, but also questions that she has had to ask herself. As you think about your contributions to our ‘A Seat at the Table’ syllabus, we invite you to think deeply about the following:

Resisting Racism

The texts, music, and art that embody:

  • The shaping of your racial/ethnic identity
  • The ways in which you experience racial/ethnic discrimination
  • The way that discrimination makes you feel
  • The aspects of your racial identity and community you most enjoy, appreciate, and feel good about
  • The people you think you can trust to fight racism
  • How your ancestors experienced discrimination
  • The way you experience discrimination differently in different parts of the country

Understanding Gender and Sexuality

The texts, music, and art that embody:

  • The shaping of your understanding of girlhood/womanhood
  • The shaping of your understanding of sexuality
  • The aspects of girlhood/ womanhood you most enjoy
  • The aspects of girlhood/ womanhood you look forward to enjoying as you age
  • The way gender discrimination makes you feel
  • The way you experience discrimination differently in different parts of the country
  • The woman you want to be

The Role of Relationships

The texts, music, and art that embody:

  • Your relationship with mother figures
  • Your relationship with father figures
  • Your relationship with your children
  • Your relationship with your siblings and cousins
  • Your relationships with women of the same race/ethnicity
  • Your relationships with people of other genders that share your race/ethnicity
  • Your relationships with women of other races
  • Your relationships people of other genders outside of your racial/ethnic group

Nurturing Ourselves

The texts, music, and art that embody:

  • What self-care looks like to you
  • What black girl magic means to you
  • How you look, sound, and feel at your happiest
  • How you look, sound and feel at your safest

A Seat at the Lunch Table

The texts, music, and art for or about elementary and middle school aged girls and their experiences with race and gender.