Growing up we were taught in school about Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman. We would learn a brief, sugar-coated history lesson and then we would put on a play for Black History Month as we portray our favorite historical African-American. It wasn’t until I went to college and did more research only to discover that the education system left out a lot in their Black history lesson plans. As I was furthering my comprehension on the history of African-American women, I came across a quote by Malcolm X that hit close to home. He stated that “The Black women is the most disrespected woman in America.” Why is that?
Say Our Names
I hate to play the victim, but let’s go over some of the social disrespect towards black women. Let’s begin with names culturally linked to African-American women. For instance, on our resumes we are told to go by our middle names. Studies show that employers typically overlook resumes submitted by women with stereotypical African-American names. It is often indicated that this is due to the assumption that black Women are socially difficult in a work setting. This simply ties into another stigma that decreases the honor of black women: the stereotype that we are angry. Why is it that every time we state our opinions or don’t agree with something, we are deemed angry? Everyone gets angry; so why is it a problem when black women are angry?
Alongside African-American women being assumed as the primary culprits of anger, we are often over-sexualized. Black females have been sexualized long before they would exit puberty. When I was younger, I remember all the girls in school with big butts and curves were called “fast” to imply that they were engaging in certain “activities”, when they just liked to eat. Nine times out of ten those premature curves are hereditary traits from the Mother Land. You hear about African-American females being sexually violated and people have the nerve to say, “well her clothes were tight” or “if she didn’t dress like this then…” Statistics show that 40% of African-American females report oppressive sexual acts against them by the age of eighteen. This can only conclude that the physical respect of African-American women is lacking in society.
Nevertheless, I always found it funny that whenever you go to the store for makeup there are only three shades catering to African-American skin tones, while there are 20 shades of beige. I also find it funny that everything that is trending these days are inspired by black women. Think about it. Non-black women in Hollywood get all these implants and surgery to be “curvy” like black women, yet we still lack the respect we deserve. Women of other ethnicities wear the colored wigs and big hoops just like us. The infatuation is flattering but, give us our credit. Without black women, your food would be bland, your fashion sense would be wack, and there wouldn’t be any Kardashians.
Gettin’ It Together
The consistent negative assumptions placed upon women of color overshadows the greatness they provide. So how can we fix this and show more appreciation to black women? Let’s start with black men.
Black kings, no one understands your struggle of being a Black man in America more than a black woman. We give birth to you, take care of you, marry you, have your children, etc. All we want is support. No other race will take us seriously if our own men don’t respect us. You don’t date black women? That’s okay, but do not disrespect us in your reasoning on why you prefer another race. You haven’t dated every black woman in America. Therefore saying “I don’t like black women because they are ghetto, rude, and don’t submit” is an ignorant statement. Show us the same respect that you would show your mother, grandmother, sister, etc.
You want black women to stop being so “angry?” Commend us on what we do. Black women are the most educated group of women in America. Statistics show that the highest percentage of college degrees were given to African-American females within the last decade. If you were to Google “things that were invented by black women”, you would see that America would be nothing without us.
We have much more going on for us other than Beyoncé. Stop telling us that we aren’t submissive, when you give us nothing to submit to. Stop making us single moms and causing us to develop a wall and to become “strong”, then calling us bitter. Stop touching our hair; admire from a far. Stop solely seeing us as sex symbols. We just want respect. Give us our recognition, love us, and treat us as an equal. That’s how you respect black women.
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