Written by Nicole
Everybody wants to be a winner. To the victor goes the spoils. History is told by the winners. The person that said winning isn’t everything, must not have won anything. To win is hard work, and takes perseverance, courage, self-reflection, and good old fashion grit. These are all qualities black women have in spades. And yet, we fall into the same pitfalls that the generation before us has, and the generation before them, and so on. We are winning at a lot of things, like entrepreneurship and small business ownership, or topping the education charts. But still, we are losing at high rates too. Here are five behaviors and beliefs that keeps us in perpetual last place.
Being the bigger person is the salt in the wound of the person who was wronged. You know who doesn’t get told to be the bigger person? The perpetrator. Black women are constantly told to be the bigger person when we are wronged, and look where that has gotten us. A constant stream of cheek-turning and forgiveness leads to being taken advantage of, many times by the very person or people who hurt you. Now, I’m not saying to do anything insane that would leave you institutionalized. Please use good judgment! Instead, heavily discern the situations in which you play that forgiveness card. Not every situation merits forgiveness, and sometimes, being the bigger person will get you got.
Life is, in fact, very hard. When you are dealt a bad hand of cards, you make do with what you have. But sometimes, black women take it to an extreme, and apply that line of thinking where it need not be applied. A common way this is applied is when it comes to motherhood. Black women sadly often have more children than can be afforded, and many times in poverty or otherwise far from ideal circumstances. If things turn out well despite the odds, then we have a happy ending. But if it turns out poorly, you’ll hear the phrase “I did the best I could”, despite multiple chances to straighten up and fly right before things went south. Do the best you can BEFORE the situation becomes irreparable.
In the age of the Internet, “nobody told me” is rapidly becoming an untenable excuse. Admittedly, the generations before us dropped the ball in some areas, as did the generation before them. And my generation will drop it too, for the black girls of tomorrow. However, with the sum total of human knowledge at our fingertips, practicing even the remotest curiosity about something can open brave new worlds. If we can navigate the tedium of an online job application, we can certainly do some Google-magic. Even without internet access, you can see trends and patterns that may suggest that certain situations are to be avoided.
Some black women have some pretty controversial viewpoints on certain topics. I would even wager that everyone that has ever walked the earth has some unpopular opinion or another. This is normal and part of living the human experience. Unfortunately, despite many times linking to studies, news articles, and sharing anecdotal evidence, black women who step out the groupthink mentality face harsh criticisms, even if what is being shared is factually accurate.
Take for instance, Candace Owens, a hotly debated conservative firebrand. I don’t agree with everything she says, but that doesn’t take away from the things she gets right. But the moment Candace says something that is deemed anti-black or generally contrary to public opinion, black women who have ever agreed with anything she has said are supposed to account for her every tweet. Meanwhile, no one is holding black men to such standards, and they can spew any amount of nonsense with no repercussions. They can collect hundreds of thousands of dollars for a school that is yet to appear. Or they can crack jokes about how dark skin women have bad credit and can take a punch better, and have his career left intact.
Only black women are expected to account for every thought someone they like has had. Meanwhile, prominent black males with social media platforms can call you the whoriest whore from Whoreville, get millions of views, and still be viewed as some wise, woke scholar. Oh, please.
As the saying goes, eat the meat and spit out the bones.
One huge thing black women do to our detriment is believe that we hold the magic key that will yield a different outcome. Here are some examples.
Even though there is nearly a four in five chance that her children will be born out of wedlock, “I’ll be different!” she proclaims as she searches for black love. Despite single motherhood ravaging the community, “I’ll be different!”. And in spite of a trail of evidence that points to a certain set of actions and choices yielding a certain set of results, she believes that she somehow will be the one to break free from the likeliest pattern. Perhaps this is a side effect of the Strong Black Woman archetype being forced on us from birth. We believe our superhuman strength will conquer everything, from becoming some kind of statistic, to global warming! This belief keeps black women numb or blind to some harsh realities, and keeps her on the hamster wheel for unlikely, or sometimes even unattainable goals.
These are only five of the behaviors and beliefs that black women cling to that keep us losing. Stay tuned for future additions to this list, as this will be a series! What behaviors do you think black women uphold that doesn’t do us any favors? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Disclaimer: This blog was written by me, Nicole, and my ideas are not necessarily reflective of Christelyn Karazin or other writers on this platform.