Give That Black Girl A Break...She's Been Through Enough
A quick rant.
Not trying to play the “oppression olympics” buuuut Black Women have it hard outchea. When we’re talkin’ race, Black people are amongst the most wildly oppressed groups of people. And not just in the US...I’m talking globally. When we’re talkin’ gender, women-folk are also among the oppressed and marginalized. Tie the two together (identifying as both Black and woman) and you have one beautiful yet exhausting existence. We don’t talk about it enough…ya know, the little things here and there that Black women experience almost daily.
Like, when she’s the only Black woman at work and feels the need to “conform to the norms” for 8+ hours of the day. Tiring. All while getting hit with microaggressions left and right about the frequency in which she changes her hair, her “resting b*%ch face”, and her African American Vernacular English that “no one” seems to understand.
And when you’re the “only”, maybe you’re tired of coming into the office everyday and the topic of discussion is about “The Bachelor”, old episodes of “Friends”…and dogs. Some days she might just wanna come in and talk about what happened on last week’s episode of Insecure, how dope the Homecoming documentary was, or how she wishes they would do a reboot of Girlfriends. Oh, and don’t forget, while she’s there pretending to care about Taylor Swift’s new album, she’s also being paid significantly less than her counterparts.
She’s also tired of her employer suggesting that she tame, slick down, or straighten her coily, kinky, curly tresses. Meanwhile, things like messy buns, sloppy-floppy ponytails, and wet fresh-out-the-shower hair is “appropriate”. Oh ok.
Or maybe, it’s not at work. Maybe she’s tired of scrolling through her social media feed seeing the police and domestic terrorists killing black people like it’s a sport. The racial trauma she experiences (almost daily) is so heavy to where she can’t even support cousin Ava’s “When They See Us” because those types of stories are soooooo overwhelmingly triggering. Wellness gurus tell her to practice self care, remain present, and to woosah, but how can she do that when she witnesses people who look just like her (Sandra Bland) “disappear” at the hands of people who are meant to protect and serve. And then on top of that, you got the government mandating her body like it’s a piece of property.
Maybe the younger version of her was picked on and bullied for having dark skin. Sis was probably called everything from a tar baby to an African booty scratcher. And the current her, well, she internalized those moments and now fails to believe that her brown skin is gorgeous. Meanwhile, commercial tanning is a global, billion dollar industry (and climbing). Oh, and it causes skin cancer too...just to throw that out there.
Maybe she’s had enough of people praising the Kardashians for appropriating curvy features and full lips...meanwhile Black Women been had it and never needed to buy it...but where’s our shoutout?? I’ll wait.
Growing up, maybe her momma always warned her about picking up too many things in the store because “it’s gon look like you stealing”. Now she feels a little anxious, and gets defensive while in Nordstrom when the sales associate asks “Do you need help finding anything?”
I’ll even go out on a limb and say she’s probably tired of the “Black Woman experience” being left out of the conversation on the Women’s Right Movement. Need I remind you that at the first Women’s Suffrage March, the Black Women we’re still being hosed down and policed. Even though we’re not being “hosed down” today, the movement is still skewed and doesn’t fully favor or consider those who don’t identify as a cis/het/White/woman.
Battling sexism, racism, classism, colorism (and all the other isms) is unfortunately a plight that she experiences far too often. On top of all that, and much like her counterparts, she also has a family to look after, bills to pay, businesses to run, degrees to complete, relationships to maintain, and a self care routine to practice. I’m sure we can all agree that she’s tired. Now, I’m not suggesting that she’s weak or that she should be coddled. No. Strength and resiliency are woven into the fabric of her DNA. She just needs a break...so that she can get up and do it all over again.