Last week the founder of the B.E.L.L.A. (Doria Barnes) and I hosted a Twitter conversation call “Ladies Chat”. The chat was geared towards addressing concerns and issues of African-American women. There were so many well-thought-out questions, answers, and statements from the participants, that I could barely keep up with the conversation.
There were two topics that generated the most conversation though. The first one was Colorism. Colorism is something that was embedded into our brains with the separation of the slaves. Fair skinned slaves worked inside the house. The browner slaves worked around the house and the darker slaves with more African like features worked in the fields. That behavior within itself created a divide that is still plaguing us today.
Now you see girls bragging about having “light skin”, and you have men telling darker skinned women that they are “pretty to be a dark skinned girl”, as if that’s a compliment. I have hope and faith that we are approaching a phase in our culture that will allow us to embrace our blackness no matter the shade. One complexion isn’t better than the other and doesn’t make either one more or less pretty. We have to look within our examples of beauty and not allow society to make the decision for us. Once we accept our many beautiful features, we’ll be in a better mental space.
The second topic was stereotypes of Black women- specifically “Angry Black women.” A huge stereotype about African-American women is that we are “angry.” Even a journalist wrote that Shonda Rimes had another “angry black woman character.” The media tends to play on the negative stereotypes of African-American people as a whole, but specifically I’m speaking of anger in African-American women. There are so many dynamics and complexities that make up the DNA of Black women that it’s easy to confuse seriousness with anger. Yet with all the things that we are often accused of being (promiscuous, bitter, bitchy, and not relatable), don’t we have the right to be angry about those things? Don’t we have the right to be angry? Why are Black women asked to suppress their disdain of a subject or situation? We are entitled to our feelings and being angry is certainly a feeling that should be displayed. Maybe if we too were viewed as the delicate, feminine, beings that we naturally are, we would be treated as if our emotions were valid and we wouldn’t have a reason to be angry. Maybe?
We can’t allow others to define who we are, how we should look or how we should feel. Remember: You birthed the WORLD, and that alone represents grace and power.
Stay tuned for the next Ladies Chat…..