Written by Nicole
There are certain things that has been codified into the Book of Black Experience. Some items include washcloth use, how to play spades, and the specific metrics for the seasoning of the chicken. Thanksgiving was last week, and depending on your rank in the family, you may or may not have been tasked with the Mac and Cheese. These are simply things imbued by magic into our experiences.
The world at large also sees you as fit for purpose for some other roles too, and not nearly as light-hearted or innocuous as the previous examples. However, I’m here to tell you that you don’t, and need not explain your reasoning the following things black women don’t have to do.
2020 has been the year of protests and marches. And this is one thing I really wish black women would stop doing en masse. Black women have lost eyes, limbs, and have even miscarried while being on the front lines. No matter how strong you think you are, you are still a woman, and when you square up against full-grown men, much less armed, militarized police, you will surely lose.
Not to mention, there will be no parade for your sacrifice. If you get hurt when you take to the streets, you will get laughed at and mocked for your pain, often by the same demographic you are marching for. Or, you might even be offered up as a human shield with no regard for your health and safety. So, as we steadily approach 2021, make it a habit to avoid marching and any other situation that might put you in immediate danger.
In a similar vein, because of the “strength” black women are forced to have, we are expected to swoop in and rescue literally everyone. We are expected to play free babysitter when your friend or family member has her next child by a hapless moron. Financially, we are everyone’s ATM, and apparently are supposed to sacrifice not only our time, but our money too, for everyone else’s benefit.
The black community isn’t the only community that thinks this way either. In light of this latest election, black women were heralded, once again, as the demographic that made a Biden/Harris victory possible. Black women have “saved democracy”, even though the returns on that investment remains to be seen.
Even though black women march for and rescue every demographic across the planet, putting ourselves in last place, we are only given the barest of minimums in return. And not only that, we are treated as if we should be happy to have received the little pittance in the first place. The programming starts young, as black children often enter the world to parents who believe that struggling is a badge of honor. Or, that struggle builds character. This glamorization of struggle is hard to shake, and leads scores of black women too erroneously believe that a bare minimum lifestyle is her lot.
Finally, black women don’t have to be a fill-in parent. This is especially true for the childless or childfree among us. Not because a black woman doesn’t have children means she wants to deal with yours – oftentimes without any compensation. This even applies to black women you are related to. If your cousin or sister was reckless with her womb, it may be mean, but you are not obligated to constantly fill the gaps left by an absentee father.
Black women are entirely too sacrificial for everyone but ourselves. It may be seen as noble, but the cost of being everyone’s battery pack or beast of burden only does ourselves a disservice. Unfortunately, because we have been in the mule role for so long, people of all ages, races, and stations, impose that belief on black women who do not wish to be associated with those harmful tropes. Set the record straight and let it be known that our labor in any form is valuable, and we’re not just giving out to anybody for free. And let us start 2021 with being unapologetically selfish about where, how and when we expend our energy.
What else is “expected” of black women, but we don’t have to do? 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.