“And What About The Sistas?”

chaka-khan

So we’ve finished up with February and the various Black History Month celebrations. Given the events of this past year, many 2015 Black History Month events have understandably focused on the wanton killing of Black people by law enforcement—especially the killing of Black men. So we have mourned Mike Brown, Jr., Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice—all senseless killings that have made our community weary and in some cases broken from not just the murders, but also the subsequent exonerations of those who killed them. Now we are at the beginning of March, which is Women’s History Month. We will probably see the list of “women worthies” and that list is likely to be dominated by White women.
In the recent Academy Awards Ceremonies actress Patricia Arquette stood on stage railing against the lack of equal pay for women and Meryl Streep, the Queen of Hollywood, jumped to her feet to applaud her. Seriously, Patricia Arquette and Meryl Street are in danger of being under paid? Perhaps so, but I could not help but think that their cause was once again championing that of White women. So if Black History Month is about Black men and Women’s History Month is about White women, what about the sistas? Where is the space for recognition of Black women in our society? When does society stand up and say, “Black women are some of the world’s most incredible people who continue to go under appreciated and unrecognized?
As always, Black women are rendered invisible because both race and gender are held against them. The Kardashian women apparently are more desirable than Black women. Kanye West claims he had to “shower 30 times” after having been with Amber Rose so he could get with Kim. Seriously, Kanye…how many times did Kim have to shower after going from Ray Jay, Reggie Bush, and Chris Humphries before she got with you?
I am really tired of Black women being overlooked in this society. We are still responsible for holding our families together. We rarely have the luxury of being stay at home mothers but are expected to be caretakers for White children and White elderly. We are too tired to cook our own families’ dinner at night because we’ve just cooked dinner for a White family. Even if we don’t work menial jobs we get treated in menial ways. We’re expected to be the “office mammy,’ taking care of our other co-workers and maybe occasionally bringing in “some of that great soul food!” We’re told that we are too fat with big booties but White women are being celebrated for having curvaceous bottoms. We are told our lips are too big but White women get collagen injected into their lips to plump them up. We are told we are too aggressive but White women who cry in inappropriate settings like the work place are typically comforted.
Being a Black woman in this society is incredibly difficult. We are asked to turn ourselves inside out to meet a European aesthetic concerning skin color, hair, body type and other physical features. And, when we do all of these self-denigrating things we still don’t measure up.
The continued 3rd class citizenship of Black women in not news to me and quite frankly I am too old to be bothered or controlled by an image of womanhood that holds no fascination for me. I was blessed to grow up with proud, confident Black women who celebrated me for being me. No, my concern is for the young Black girls I see doubting their beauty, their brains, and their sense of themselves. I am so tired of our girls believing that having lighter skin or straighter hair are the only keys to success instead of focusing on developing their minds, their spirits, their souls, and keeping their bodies fit and healthy. I’m sick of little Black girls believing they are not good enough. So my solution to our constant exclusion and invisibility is to declare a Black Women’s History Month and I’d like for it to be a nice warm long month like July or August so we can wear halter tops and short shorts and sway ample hips as we walk down the street channeling both Chaka Kahn and Whitney and singing at the top of our lungs, “I’m every woman…it’s all in me!”

Stay Black & Smart!

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One thought on ““And What About The Sistas?”

  1. Thank You! I remember as a teacher talking about strong black women in both months, February and March. Many white educators began their response with “but thi is about…..” and then looking very confused and uncomfortable. Similar reaction when some asked me for suggestions for Southern writers, and I would name a black woman or a black man. “But I meant…” These categories are rigid and and racist. Gotta break it apart, open it all up, shake people up!

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