Written by Nicole
Earlier this month I wrote a post about five behaviors and beliefs that keep black women losing. Today I have an update on that list. Be sure to check out the first edition! Do you see any behaviors you may have caught yourself doing? How are you working on getting rid of those behaviors?
Without further ado, here are five more behaviors and beliefs that keep black women losing.
I, by no means, am perfect, which I admit openly and freely. I have made mistakes that I regret, and, since I am unfortunately not a robot, I will do so again in the future. However, I don’t need to be perfect to dispense advice. As the saying goes, eat the meat and spit out the bones. One frequent criticism of black women who go to the public sphere is “what makes her think she is good enough to give me/you/us advice?”.
We’ve seen it with pretty much every YouTuber in this space. If she chooses to be anonymous, she can’t be trusted. If she shares her own personal mistakes, it is seen as a sign of weakness, rather than a sign of strength to admit she screwed up. And if she falls out of the range of what is considered “good” for that day, she is lambasted and castigated from stem to stern…most times from fellow black women. If the package you need to take advice from must be inhumanly perfect, then you’ll not learn anything.
Be it through programming from childhood or stereotypes foisted on us, black women are the go-to demographic to fix What “it” is, could be anything from a pen that’s run out of ink, to global systemic issues that we have nothing to do with, but must somehow fix. It’s a unique existence, when we are simultaneously the reason for the world’s ills, and the nurse, the healer, the magician, who is supposed to step up and right the wrongs.
And, the thing is, everyone else thinks so too. Remember in the 2016 election cycle, when news articles were saying that black women were the number one demographic to determine the outcome of that election? And then when the outcome was determined unfavorable to some, the blame somehow shifted to black women?
That’ll probably repeat this year, by the way. Keep an eye out for that.
How about when the woman who wrote The Vampire Diaries show said that black women will save the world?
Or how about someone from the panel below said that we as black women should do more to stop indoctrinating black men into harming trans women?
Meanwhile we are out here being murdered every 19 hours and you can hear a pin drop when we bring that up.
Not only will we NOT save the world, we CAN’T. Being expected to swoop in at a moment’s notice for causes that have nothing to do with us, while our own house is on fire, will ensure we are the perpetual sacrifice. It provides labor off our blood, sweat and tears, for free. It ensures we are too busy dealing with everyone else’s mess, so we never get around to fixing our own. Keeping black women distracted via our willingness to step up to the plate as volunteer handywoman, the help, activates this “I Can Fix It” Syndrome, which is exploited for everyone else’s benefit but our own.
In comment sections, a black woman can say that black women are the number one victim of domestic violence homicides. This is a fact and at this point should be commonly known. Only when black women make claims about problems and issues uniquely affecting us is peer-reviewed evidence, broadcast interviews, fact checks, and historical Encyclopedia Britannica entries required to be considered true. Not enough black women give each other the benefit of the doubt, and that’s why, in part, our so-called sisterhood looks the way it does.
There is a reason that black male YouTube channels discussing “black topics” have a larger viewership than black women’s. Collectively we have overdosed on the patriarchy, but that’s only part of it. Simply by benefit of being male, unfortunately they can say anything, and neither have to defend their stance nor provide evidence for their claims.
For example, they can strike out at one of the crowd favorites, single mothers, and shred them for existing. But they will not offer any contextualization as to why there are so many, and they will definitely not call other men to account for their But black women, eager to receive virtual pats on the head, not only flock to these channels, but cosign much of the drivel being spewed, eager to share that she is different. She is not like those other broads, you see! If you require black women to provide a bibliography in APA format for everything they say, you should require more from the men. After all, this is a patriarchy. If I’m making 75 cents to his dollar, the least he can do is some research in a social media comment section to support his (more than likely) erroneous claims.
2020 has been the year of coming face to face with racial disparities and injustice. Protests were frequent and worldwide. Life and limb were lost to call attention to a noble cause of equality. And noble that it may be, no one should expect any group to give up their spot on the proverbial top, so we get “our turn”. Why would they?
White folks built a system that ensured that even the lowest of their ranks could use it to their benefit. It has worked for centuries, and has a global reach. Do you think that kind of power will be willingly relinquished? Who would want to give up being the “default” setting?
Which white woman wants to give up being the standard of beauty (even for nonwhite races)? Do you think Meth Mouth Mike from the deepest of the Deep South, with $3, third-grade education and three teeth to his name, wants to give up feeling that he is better than, oh, anybody, by merit of his whiteness? Or give up the system that allows a homeless man scrounging through the trash for his next meal, to reject the offer of help from a black woman, because, even while dumpster diving, he still feels too good for help from one of those people?
We all have some kind of privilege. And while it may not be as far reaching and systemic and beneficial as the privileges white and nonblack people have, I think I would have a hard time finding people who would be willing to give up their privilege to level the playing field, for someone else to benefit. Expecting other folks to just hand over their crown is not a winning move. Making your own crown is far better. A black version of someone else’s creation isn’t usually as impactful as a version we create.
We all have behaviors that unfortunately work against our best interests – this is normal. The key is to look critically at your approach to life, and make changes as needed. What other behaviors have you noticed that keeps us in second place? 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.