Black Women's Empowerment

A Lesson In Bold Black Womanhood: No Explanations Owed

I’ve talked in the past about being a bold black woman. One of the areas where black women often find themselves attacked is in their ability to stand up for themselves. If you are being mistreated and decide you’re not going to take it, people actually ask, “Why?” Even if you’re just expressing yourself in a blog post, and not physically threatening anyone, someone will inevitably show up to try and emotionally shut you down.

talk to the hand

I DEMAND That You Justify Everything That You Feel To Me This Minute So I Can Show You How Wrong You Are!!?!


All roads ultimately lead to this when it comes to black women and our refusal to accept a load of bullcrap. We are asked to explain ourselves. Or we are shouted down by people who purport to know better or know what’s best for us. We are asked where we come off daring to hold whatever opinion it is that we have that upsets the gentle status quo when it comes to our place in the universe.

In short: People expect you to stop and explain yourself so they can tell you what you ought to be.


The boldest thing a black woman can do is simply refuse to obey those who pull rank. Think of a drill sergeant telling an individual in basic training to quickly take apart a weapon and put it together again. Now, what would happen if that person refused? I don’t know, but I do know there’d be an interesting consequence.

Black women are often seen as foot soldiers for one cause or another. When a higher ranking officer in one of these glorious causes demands that you explain yourself, it’s like being on the spot told to carry out an order. But here’s the thing: You’re not a soldier, you don’t belong to anyone’s cause, and you don’t have to do a damn thing just because this person shows up and demands it.

As I’ve said before, people will often try and “pull rank” on a black woman, demanding that she explain her thoughts and feelings so they can rip them to shreds. If only to get her back in her place as quickly as possible.


When you are a BOLD black woman, you simply do not have time for that. And that’s all you need to tell the person in question: “I don’t owe you any explanations.” Some people may stutter or ask you to repeat yourself. I say oblige them. After all, they might genuinely be hard of hearing.

In blogging, you simply make it clear that you stand by your feelings and that be the end of it. No arguing, no back and forth, no repeated attempts to authenticate your right to feel one way or another.

Read this and store this information because it was one of the most helpful pieces of advice I’ve EVER been given:

“The longer you go back and forth with someone, trying to get them to understand you and trying to get them to admit your points are valid THE MORE IT SHOWS YOU ARE SEEKING THIS PERSON’S VALIDATION AND THE MORE AUTHORITY YOU ARE GRANTING THEM TO VALIDATE YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS.”


To illustrate, how long do you go back and forth with someone on the internet determined to show this person how right you are and how wrong they are? Some people believe that it’s a matter of showing how right they are. But after so long,  it turns into a form of validation-seeking.

Even if you are right and the person is a smug privilege-waving troll, at some point it should occur to you: Who in the heck is this person that I’m wasting all this time and energy trying to convince them of my right to my opinion?

Because beyond that point is a desperate grasp at trying to get this person to not merely change their opinion because it is wrong, but the hope that you can get them to see you, acknowledge your right to be you, and reverse their opinion in a way that validates that right.

Rather than go there, just reiterate what you already said and move on.


If what you’ve said is right there, unless you’re further clarifying your EXACT opinion, stay away from the need to constantly explain yourself. As one who was previously afraid of being misunderstood, I’m slowly beginning to appreciate just how liberating this stance is. I’ve also saved a LOT of mental and emotional energy.

It can be hard to shake the fear of supposed sanctions when you don’t jump when someone tells you to, but being able to stand in your own truth means having the confidence to know that your feelings are perfectly clear. And that someone can’t dupe you into backpedalling just because your honesty and self-determination as a black woman scares them.


So: Do you think black women should be comfortable frequently explaining their relationships and beliefs to strangers or do you think they’re better off abandoning disclaimers and explanations?

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