I am a black woman. Being a black woman is awesome, but it comes with its very own nags. I’m only 19 years old, and have already been called loud, ghetto, ratchet and most importantly; angry. The stereotype that has fallen upon black women frames us as all of the previously listed characteristics, which makes it hard for black women to do anything normal without being immediately judged and/or labeled. The general public also has developed some sort of connotation with black women and not being capable of hurting or the ability to be super strong-mentally, physically and emotionally- and this is also incorrect.
Now that I have covered the basics of the image that’s been created for black women, let’s move on to why black women suffer because of this. This false image of the general black woman puts us in danger at all times. Black women often suffer physical, sexual, mental and even emotional abuse mainly because of the false notion that we are strong and incapable of feeling pain like everyone else. In relationships women suffer mental, emotional and sometimes even physical abuse when they are expected to stay in a toxic relationship even though it may be traumatic or unhealthy for them. This can only be linked to how women are expected to be strong all the time when we are human and feel just like everyone else. When black women suffer from physical or sexual abuse, her testimony is often laughed at, questioned for proof and validation or even dismissed as not “that serious” or even false. I remember going to the nurse in middle school one time because I had scraped up my knee and all I wanted was the attention and care for my wound that I obtained during recess. I’ll never forget the Nurse telling me that it wasn’t that bad and all I needed was a band-aid as my leg dripped blood from the scrape. Another girl (caucasian) was also in the office shedding a tear or two and she seemed to have a small cut on her finger or hand. The nurse rushed to her care, rinsing and cleaning the minor cut and assuring the girl that she would be okay. Why was my injury glazed over even though I needed more attention and care at the time? I don’t need to say it because I already have. Even at that young age I found it absolutely absurd for that girl to have gotten what I needed. I mean, how was my injury “not that bad”? Can you imagine how things like this carry into the adult medical field now? Why when black women cry out for help, do we get shut down? When black women are in hospitals they suffer a higher risk of dying in the care of professionals in the medical field than women of any other race.
When Breonna Taylor’s passing started to surface all over social media (soon after George Floyd’s), people definitely weren’t screaming her name at the same volume. Not to compare deaths or anything but to this day, July 8th, 2020, her murderers (Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove) have still not been arrested. When Oluwatoyin Salau disclosed that she was being sexually assaulted, no one heard her until she was murdered. Why do black women only get heard when we are murdered? Why does no one look out for us until we are kidnapped or go missing? Why does no one believe us when we are hurt? Who really sticks up for black women?
Let me not even get started on self-hating black men who never fail to verbally tear down black women. There have been countless times black men have run to social media to give their unwanted opinion on how they think black women are ugly, rude, loud and even go as far as to negatively compare them to women of other races. If this man is you or someone you know, let me begin by saying; don’t you dare speak on black women as if we mean nothing. How dare black men talk down on the living vessels and queens that birthed them, nurtured them and fought for them? Black men praise women of other races, which isn’t a problem.. Until they tear down black women in the process. Why make fun of us when we share the same skin, hair, features and roots? Black men need to especially stand up for black women, because when you see us protesting and screaming at the top of our lungs to protect our black men- we need that same energy back. There are so many black women who are exhausted from fighting double the fight of others and for ourselves. We are already seen as less because we are women, but don’t forget that the most disrespected woman is the black woman.
Tell a black girl or woman that you love her, you hear her, and she will not go unappreciated, before you no longer have any other choice.