By Jenise Jackson
Blog Content Contributor
“What’s it like to be a black woman in America?”
It would probably take me a whole novel to thoroughly explain my answer to this question. There’s only so much I can explain in this article. Truth is, it isn’t easy being black nor is it easy being a woman. I, along with plenty others, bear the weight of two undervalued groups in America. Believe it or not, it’s a heavy load.
As a black woman, you are bound to face the problems of racism and sexism. When you consider all the things black woman go through just because of their race and gender, you realize emotional pain is not an uncommon feeling. Yet, that pain is often mistaken for other stereotypes that surround black women. We are usually portrayed as either angry, aggressive or weak in the media. Because of this, people assume that it is normal and it is what they should expect from black women. It isn’t fair because we are so much more than the “Angry Black Woman” we are perceived to be. However, when we try to combat those misconceptions, we are judged and insulted. I just don’t get it.
Body shaming is also not uncommon to black women. Black women have been highly over sexualized because of our natural body parts for centuries. Ironically, we are also shamed for what is natural. We hear things like “Oh, she’s overweight,” but society will celebrate fabricated, curvaceous bodies. Society loves enhanced lips, hips and butts that mimics that of a black woman, yet we don’t always praise the black women who inherently bring those qualities to the table. Every woman, regardless of race, deserves to feel sexy in their body however it may look, but countless times I’ve been made to feel as if my body is exempt and I’m sure other black women can relate.
Then to top it off, black women are extremely disrespected when it comes to getting an education and having a career. The adultification of black girls has proven to be detrimental to educational growth. In school, the preconceived notion is that black girls aren’t supposed to be smart. We are also typically the ones to be heavily disciplined and beneficial opportunities aren’t always presented to us compared to other young females. As we get older, it doesn’t get easier. Being a woman already makes it a struggle to navigate in any workplace. So as a black woman, you probably have to work ten times harder when trying to advance in a career field. In 2018, we still see a lack of black women in leadership roles. I believe it is because society still doesn’t want to see too many powerful women in control, let alone black women.
But even knowing all this and much more about being a black woman in America, would I want to be anything else? Absolutely not. Even through the hate, defamation, body shaming and inequality, there’s a power that comes with being a black woman. I’m not, nor will I ever be, ashamed to take pride in it. The phrase “Black Girl Magic” pretty much sums up everything about us. We are strong. We are beautiful. We are marvelous. But let’s not forget that we are very much real. I believe it is our struggles that have made us unique and we will continue to overcome those struggles even when the odds are stacked against us. Although I don’t know if we will ever see a day when the world changes, I know the black woman’s presence will forever be in the world. So you can just call me a highly melanated, yet under appreciated, queen as I continue being fabulous and tackling every obstacle set to hinder me.
Featured image by Jenise Jackson.