Kenton Gibbs | Staff Writer
Simply put, the greatest privilege of all nonblack women is the fact that they are not constantly typecasts and forced to be monolithic. Black women have to fit into certain boxes and cannot step outside of those boxes without instantly being bashed for what society feels like they should be. To add to this stress is the times that black women are told that their struggles do not exist. Meanwhile that problematic space is normalized in society, the mental health and well being of black women are constantly under attack.
One example of a moment where the obstacles in front of black women were ignored was when Charlamagne tha God tweeted during finals season last semester. After catching fire for spending time with the ultra conservative “I don’t see color”-ist Tomi Lahren, he tweeted, “Would be dope if a young black or Hispanic ‘WOKE’ woman used social media to create a Platform to be a voice like Tomi Lahren did.”
For a second we will pretend as if there are not already plenty of black women already using their platform to talk about their views. What he doesn’t reference are all of the multiple traps laid to destroy black women’s ability to do that. The first of which being whenever black women speak their truths in a manner that people see as too strong or forceful, they are instantly labeled as bitter, masculine, unladylike and unable to keep a man.
Another thing that I wonder is why doesn’t Charlemagne use his immense platform to put some of these women on his radio show? Since they will generally have the exact same demographic base as him, wouldn’t it be beneficial to all parties to uplift them instead of condescendingly saying what they aren’t doing? But this is just one example and I don’t want to make this a tirade about an uninformed radio host.
Another way in which society disavows black women’s ability to be individuals is that if their strength is accepted, their weakness won’t be. The strong black women are not allowed to deal with their mental health like other groups of women are. Nor do we glorify their attitudes and dispositions as being sexy. They are not allowed to seek help for mental ails, it is instead, “Oh you know how loud and angry they are.” Just because a black woman is outspoken about her lack of equal treatment does not mean she shouldn’t be allowed to have moments of frailty.
I had always wondered why so many black women were so intent on pushing self love, but in things I have recently witnessed it is clear that they have a legitimate gripe with feeling unloved. Their entire being is over-examined and belittled on a regular basis only to be appreciated and glorified on others. Hairstyles that are deemed unprofessional on them are fashion forward and urban on a celebrity. Their bodies are not appreciated unless they are half naked and all breast, thigh and ass, with no stomach. So no wonder they push for self love. Living under an unending state of scrutiny and judgement would take a harsh toll on anyone. Yet, they don’t have anxiety or bipolar disorder. They’re just difficult, unapproachable and more trouble than they’re worth.
As Malcolm X once said during his May 1962 speech in Los Angeles, “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.” With all of those factors leaning against black women it is vital that we tell our sisters how special, important, powerful, beautiful, loved and needed they are. I urge everyone reading this to understand the daily battles that black women fight. They win these battles in glorious fashion but they still need to hear it from time to time.
Check on the black women in your life and regularly ask are you okay with the intentions of actually being there for them when they are going through a tough time. Without black women, this world would be a much worse place, so cherish our queens and hold them in the highest esteem.