Why are black women so highly scrutinized? Some of the random things I’ve mentioned in this series may have been a surprise to you. But as a black woman, I’ve heard my fair share of it. My experience has been that many other women can get away with saying what they want and doing what they want. They can be praised for being independent, ambitious, and standing up for themselves while black women are criticized for doing the same things. Much of the scrutiny that falls on black women is a direct result of the after-effects of slavery and the racism that came with it.
I would like to see men support women more often rather than trying to control how women think. Over the years I’ve become more aware of when men are sometimes trying to “handle” or brainwash the women around them to think in ways that they find desirable. The sad thing is I’ve heard young black women agree with some of the wrong mentalities about themselves while others spout these mixed messages and stereotypes without a second thought.
I’m aware that the kinds of men or the percentages of people that probably think this way might be minimal compared to the general population in North America. I’ve also noticed that for the most part, other black men from other countries don’t share this kind of sentiment about black women. My visits and time in Ghana and Uganda have proven that education and hard work among black women is valued and seen as an asset. I’ve also met men in Canada that value this among women.
I’ve decided that the only people that don’t value this asset and continue to perpetuate these stereotypes or mixed messages on women are men who may have felt hurt or damaged so that they feel they need to tear down or compete with the women in their lives because they fall short. They use terms like “masculine energy” to demean women who may have contrary traits to what they prefer. They turn around her strength and wisdom and try to use it against her as a weapon. They use a broad brush to paint over every other black woman out there. This is careless and ignorant. I believe we will move forward as black women if we will consciously recognize and speak up against this type of messaging rather than letting it quietly seep into our lives and minds. The after-effects of this kind of control are damaging to us and to the future.
Are you from another culture and have you experienced mixed messaging in your culture toward women or have you noticed these negative messages directed to black women? Let me know in the comments.