I remember when I was graduating from high school choosing my college major. I didn't really have a picture of what I wanted to be, but I felt like as long as I went to college and remained a responsible American, I was going to be respected. Fast forward to a day when I was holding my first born son in Yoshinoya. The waitress kept staring at me and my son. She finally asked me “is that your son?” I told her yes with a smile. At that time my son who is biracial was very light in color. The waitress asked me if I was sure. I told her yes. I didn’t think anything of it. I went on with my day.
Going even more into the future I remember going to my son's first public school. I walked in the office for the first time and the office manager looked at me with such a disdain as if she knew me and I definitely did something to her.
Now fast forward to this year. Finally all the light bulbs in my head that captured those moments lit up. Black women in America are the least respected population with the most impossible role to fill. The thought process I had graduating from college was naive. I thought to myself that my degrees and perky personality would make me employable and a respected team player. The road I started on at that time is an impossible road and it was not until this year that it occurred to me. This matters because had I known then what I know now I would have done life very differently.
As a California girl I would have made it my business to attend an HBC or at least take many more African American Studies classes to educate myself on the harsh reality that would be my life as a black woman living in the United States that this year I realize are not really united at all.
Black women walk this world with an impossible task. I have written a blog before about my own personal struggle existing in a corporate world as a black woman and following the social norms expected by society. As we are watching this divisive environment in the US it is clear to me that the role of a black woman is never going to be easy.
There have been recent events in which accomplished black women are called out for owning expensive purses, killed in their own homes, making a stand for justice, and even running for Vice President that have sparked hatred and criticism when it should be changing the narrative of the stereotype that has plagued black women for so long.
Historically, black women have been stereotyped as too loud, too rude, too bossy, too ghetto and ignorant. It has already been proven that black women are the more educated demographic in the world, that is not enough to change the narrative. Black women are making headlines being successful, adding to the American culture in a positive way yet every little thing we do is scrutinized and turned into the stereotype that the world has cast upon us.
The frustrating truth is we have to take it from every other culture, even our own. The black woman on black woman bitterness in the place of business and in public adds to this narrative. We are just as hard on each other as anyone else and this needs to stop.
Now that America’s racism has been exposed to the world, this is a great time for black women to join together to change this environment. We already have the impossible task of raising or living with black men while having a clear understanding that they may not come home. We also have to fit into the social norms that have been set for us in order to even make any type of income to provide for the household, which more often than not is typically the only income.
So my question is how can we change this narrative in a big way. Like I said it’s not enough that there is a black woman qualified to run for Vice President not to mention a black woman billionaire. When will it be enough to change the narrative? When can I be upset without being called an angry black woman? When can I not understand something without being considered ignorant? When can I be in a great mood and silly without being considered a drunk or drug addict? When can I use my voice to stand up for myself without being called loud and bossy?
It is an impossible role. It is time we change the narrative and give ourselves the room to be who we are without allowing the world to put us in a box to shut us up. The time is now that we have these conversations. Stand on our platforms. Raise each other up and stop putting each other down.
I welcome my readers to have this conversation with me. Add to the comments and let’s work together to make a change if not for now but for the future. I wrote this blog and held back, because I want to hear what others think. Communications Camp is a platform used to have these difficult conversations that may be difficult to communicate. I think now is the time we can change this conversation and the narrative that has been written for black women.
Join the conversation. Comment on this blog or email Communicationscamp1@gmail.com
See relevant articles.
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2. Kamala Harris Accused of Sleeping Her Way to the Top
3. Black Women are the Most Educated Group
4. What Breonna Taylor's Case Says About Black Women's Stance in Society
5. Previous Communications Camp Article Mentioned
Juanita Espino B.S. Comm., M.A.Ed.
Communications Consultant and Professional Advisor