Written by Nicole
Throughout social media there are scores of black women looking for “The Answer”. The Question in need of answering varies depending on the black woman doing the searching. But I have an answer that will universally solve quite a few problems we face. It’s only four words long, and pretty easy to remember. Ready?
(In the initial draft of this post, I had written ‘STFU’, but this is less crass, but with the same message. Substitute as you see fit).
Now, let me apply some nuance. If you or a loved one are the victim of a crime, do NOT keep your mouth shut. The No Snitching policy in the black community only protects the perpetrator. Do NOT suffer in silence. But, if you are making moves to get out a dangerous situation, or plotting revenge, or have the next great idea, or came into some money, or anything positive, there is no need to announce it to the world. Just keep your mouth shut.
A news story about a black family who purchased acres and acres of land somewhere in the States recently made the news. This is great – chaos is a ladder, and they seized an opportunity (pandemic, miscellaneous 2020 madness) and capitalized on it. This accomplishment is amazing and I wish them nothing but the greatest success in this adventure. However, I wish they kept their mouth shut. Advertising your good fortune to the world feels great and can be aspirational, and yet, it can also invite unwanted evil into your life. Bad news, bad vibes, bad juju…they all travel quickly. Limit the odds of people trying to undo your successes by keeping those successes ultra-quiet.
Black women in particular struggle with keeping our mouths shut. Perhaps it is an offshoot of that common yet incredibly damaging ”Strong Black Woman” archetype– the “Keeping It Real” woman, who, in an attempt to be relatable, shares all her business on Front Street. Some celebrity examples that stick out in my mind include Tiffany Haddish, who last year publicly shared that she had an episode of fecal incontinence after a rousing night out. That’s right. She pooped herself in an Uber.
Who asked? Nobody.
Who needed to know? Also nobody.
In a less gross example, black women who date interracially often face this too – I called this phenomena Swirl Apologist Syndrome a few months ago. Black women who are partnered out will offer up the many reasons they have chosen to date out, while making sure that their love for black men is still known. Once again, nobody asked. There’s no need to offer up this information.
Social media has exacerbated this insatiable desire to tell everybody everything. Instagram captions have become photographic journal entries, and tweets sum it up in 240 characters or less. And while oversharing on social media is not a trait unique to us, no one else on the planet has the playing field we do, either.
Another instance of us talking, or in this case, sharing too much, is the beauty side of YouTube. When one thinks of a weave or a wig on black women, you’ll likely picture inches and inches of that Malaysian Wavy Brazilian. Every beauty secret known to black womanhood is plastered on YouTube, in excruciating detail. I’m not going to speak much on the hair topic since the last time I brought up the Sacred Bundles I was dragged for it. However, I will say that black women could stand to diversify content outside the beauty and hair space, and keep some things a mystery.
Imagine if a critical mass of black women, as creative and hard-working and entrepreneurial as we are, just…shut up for a while. And not just that, but offered no reason for our silence – we need to also get out of the habit of explaining every little thing we do, too. While there would still be challenges and adversities to surmount, I think with that golden silence, we would no longer inadvertently jeopardize our efforts due to advertising our plans to an audience that wants to see us fail.
So, hush up. A victory is still a victory when you celebrate it in the mirror. You can grieve your losses without sharing it with 1000 of your Facebook friends. Try it out, and watch how you flourish.
Disclaimer: This blog was written by me, Nicole, and my ideas are not necessarily reflective of Christelyn Karazin or other writers on this platform.