As a Black woman, I’ve witnessed a lot of negative projections on myself and other black women.
I’ve noticed some of these negative ideas in movies, TV shows, and as they pop up in conversations.
I assume there must have been some originating source for these negative projections. I’m always curious about where ideas start and how easy it is for someone to say something that becomes “true” while it has no basis whatsoever. As an example of this point, I used to play a funny game with some of the children I work with. I’d tell them a popular “God saying” and they’d have to tell me if it was scriptural or not. Like “God helps those who help themselves” while it’s popular, it is nowhere near true or in the bible. These sayings later get cemented as fact. As a blogger I know I have a part to play. I like to share my opinions but I recognize they are based on my own experiences. I don’t expect people to agree with me without doing some analysis of their own. So here we go…
Our history as black women is diverse and unique. Our identity together has morphed as part of many cultures but in some ways has also remained unique and separate. It’s the reason that black women from multiple cultural backgrounds have relatable stories about things like family or hair and yet have never stepped within each others’ countries. The things that make us unique in how we as black women relate to the outside world are also the things that connect us.
Our stories, starting from Africa but also remaining in Africa have extended throughout the diaspora settling on a common thread of beauty and pride. Our history involves brilliance, innovation, and excellence as well as being enslaved, demeaned, and used based on the color of our skin.
Growing up, this always amazed me and made me appreciate the life I have, knowing that so many people before me didn’t have the same opportunities. I can’t imagine a life of not having ownership over my body, being bought or sold and judged merely on my looks, strength, or breeding abilities. It’s mind-boggling.
As one who took the time to really understand the implications of my history growing up I didn’t want to take education for granted. I think learning all of that while I was young and doing my own black history lessons was a catalyst. I can see where the lack of identity and being connected to one’s roots can affect black youth. Side note: That’s another reason why February is Black History Month. It’s so important for us to know where we have come from in order to know where we are going.
As a young person growing up I did my best to be “good” and to do what I was supposed to but that didn’t stop people from being prejudice toward me, it didn’t stop me from being accused of things I didn’t do and it didn’t help me not to feel overlooked within the school system or from being judged. Yes, I had help, I had an education, I also grew up with the warnings of what was to come but there are certain things you can’t really escape as a black person. You grow and you come to terms with it. It’s different for everyone and some people may have more severe experiences based on where they go to school, where they live, and the socially conscious people around them.
These messages can be tiring and harmful. Something said ignorantly can have damaging after-effects to mental and emotional health. I wanted to use this series to expose problematic thinking that I received in my life as a black woman and still hear.
Let me know if any of them resonate with you.
Do you have a story you’d like to share with the For Black Girls community? If you are interested in writing a blog contact me here: Submissions