The Strong Black Woman

By: Chichi Obi

For centuries, black women have consistently been torn down, whether it’s from oppression or by our own community. There is much talk about the struggle of black men and their identities by which many black women stand by. A black woman has always been the backbone of a black man, especially during the brutalities of the past and present. Black men don’t usually have to worry about the women not taking their side. History has proven time and time again that women have and still continue to stand by their men.

When it comes to the survival and the identity of black women, rallies of black men are nowhere to be found. There are many injustices toward black women that have not become nationalized or even recognized. The only major conflict that was known is Sarah Bland. Black women have always been killed, beaten, and raped by officers but the struggle continues to go unnoticed. The hashtag “#sayhername” was created to raise awareness for brutalities against black women but it really hasn’t caught much press. Oklahoma City police officer, Daniel Holtzclaw raped 13 black women but this still didn’t create a huge outrage among the black community. There was nothing heard from Black Lives Matter or any type of protest in the streets. If it had been 13 white women, that story would have made headlines for days. The only ones speaking out against the brutalities are black women activists, but they cannot create a huge influence if their work is severely devalued.

Where does this leave black women?  Although black men cannot benefit from white privilege, it is very clear that they still benefit from male privilege. Black women continuously have to fight on their own or their work will be completely dimmed out. Feminism, higher paying jobs, beauty standards, and any other status were not created for black women. These were all created to exclude them and to keep them from being good enough. Black men have been riding this notion that even though black women stick by their side, they are still the least desirable, uneducated, gold digging women out there. The most popular stigma of all, is that they are “too angry”.

When black women speak out against injustices, they are told that they are too angry. Black women have every right to be angry with the system, just as much as black men. Black women suffer from oppression alongside black men, but for some reason, black women are looked at as angry or too hostile. This notion of the “angry” black women has made many black men run into the arms of white women who the system says are more submissive, secure, and tolerant.

The difference between white and black women is that black women are still fighting for the justice that has never been given for many centuries. Regardless of the struggle white women face, they still benefit from a nation that holds white women on a pedestal.

Black women are not an angry group of women, rather a strong group. It takes a lot of strength for a black woman, who is at the bottom of the totem pole, to be able to withstand social and systematic oppression. It takes a strong black woman to demand a higher paying job so she can care for herself and her family. It takes a strong black woman to continue to stand by black men when the system attacks. It takes a strong black woman to know her history and want to fight for change.

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