I don’t blame them, it’s what they knew. They didn’t realize the message of inequality they were communicating to me.
You see, I have an older brother. We have both always been very successful and dedicated students, getting good grades our whole lives and we both went to college, which my family encouraged. In fact, I often heard, “you could be whatever you want.” Awesome, right? Empowering, right? That was the intention. Here’s the problem: when they said that to my brother, it was often followed by “you could be a lawyer, a doctor, a CEO, heck even the President of the USA.” And when it was said to me? Yep, “You could even be Miss Universe!” Or, as my grandmother (may she RIP) said, “hopefully you’ll find the next Kennedy at college and marry him!” Thankfully, even though I heard that kind of thing growing up, I tuned that part out and focused on the “you could be whatever you want” part.
It wasn’t their fault, it’s what they knew. Today we (should) know better. We have a lot longer to go to reach equality, but we can start by teaching our daughters, sisters, nieces, granddaughters, friend’s daughters, etc. that they too can even be the President of the US someday.