With everything that comes from my most truthful self, this post is incredibly hard to write. But I’ve never been the type to shy away from doing what is hard, because usually it means doing what is right. Over the past few months, shit, over the past few years, I find myself in very awkward conversations that have the opportunity to turn ugly uglier than they already are. They often create immense amounts of tension, ultimately leading to me walking away, or choosing to ignore what is being said for the sake of not arguing. But that is not what makes being a black girl so hard. Many people have to do that. We can’t always say what we want, when we want, or how we want. That’s a given. In my almost 28 years of life, I realize that it has always been hard being a black girl. Now I am more aware, and now more than ever I am more vocal about it. But exactly why? What makes it so hard being a black girl?
I don’t have to blatantly mention the heartbreaking nightmare that has been occurring in the last few years. These past two weeks alone have been incredibly difficult to simply get through. I’ve had to consciously remove myself from social media just to to be able to breath without crying or feeling immense sadness. And thats all I feel like I’ve been doing. Crying and feeling sad about things I have no control over, and things I can not change. It is a terrible feeling of hopelessness when you feel that you are under constant attack, or that there is a war against people who look like you just because they exist.
So why is it that I have chosen to even separate the cause even further by discussing the inequalities and difficulties facing women of color instead of black people in general? That is a much simpler question to answer. Because no one else is.
It seems as though from the moment I was born, as well as other women of color, I was placed on the path of apology. Constantly having to apologize for being a black woman. Feeling an unnerving shame shame merely for having the nerve to exist. My body, my body is constantly at the forefront of conversation from men and women alike from all cultures. But not to be glorified or worshipped, but to be mimicked and made fun of. To be sexualized and simultaneously shamed is not only confusing but its tiring. We are completely used at the hands of people for pleasure and entertainment, with out anyone connecting us to the magical spirit that creates the black woman as a whole.
Wearing a pair of shorts earns me the title of “Thot”, while the same pair of shorts would be classified as high fashion when worn by someone built differently. “Be humble, be modest” are constant words of advice because you don’t want to be the “angry black girl”. As if having emotions is completely unacceptable. Black girls are constantly mocked for having a name that can’t be found on a keychain.
And when we jump up and say, “Hey where are the feminists who should be on the front line with us”. They take my culture from me and tell me to sit and wait for my turn. That I’m upsetting the feminist movement, when in reality it seems they do not understand what it means to be a feminist at all. They “create” corn rows and bantu knots, yet tell me my hair is dirty and unprofessional.
As a black female educator in a “Black” school, I make it my mission to remind these black girls that they are magical black women in the making. They are not to allow anyone, peer or adult, to use adjectives as restrictive qualifiers to describe who they are. And I’ve made that my mission, because no one did it for me. My mother, as amazing as she is, is a product of a much different time. A time based in traditionally making sure that black women tread a very meek line, and only speak out of turn when it is absolutely necessary. I am not from that train of thought. Because as a black woman, I’ve observed if I wait my turn to speak I will never be heard. If I wait for the permission to be smart, and to think for myself, or have any emotion that differs from the status quo then I’ll be waiting a lifetime.
So we set out on a journey to uplift ourselves by creating opportunities for self worship that culminated in trending hashtags like Black Girl Magic, and shows such as “Black Girls Rock” only to be cut down by feminists again, stating we are undermining what it means to be a woman. I have had conversations with men who have made their unwanted opinions very clear in stating that we should focus on #GirlMagic and that all girls rock. And while I graciously roll my eyes as they expect a black girl would, I remind them that things like Black Girl Magic are created when there is a lack of representation that would support the ideology of all girls rock.
It is not hard for me to wrap my mind around being a black girl. I understand exactly what it means. I get it. It means having to work twice as hard for half of the adoration and praise. Facing deafening silence when it comes to inequality. Being shunned, disapproved of, constantly undervalued. But it also means that we don’t beg for crumbs. It means standing up to the oppressors and often standing up by ourselves for our selves. It is hard, and it is tiring, but it is by far one of the best things that I have ever done, that I will always and forever have the pleasure to continue to do. Being a black girl means being the definition of magic and innovation. It is the epitome of beauty and creation. There is no one else I’d rather be, there is no other club I’d rather be a part of.
So why is being a black girl so hard? Many reasons for many different people, but I do know that no one could face this much adversity and still resiliently always look this good #StayMad
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