Defending Black Women

We are human.

And yet our reliance on a higher power, our will to push forward and make the best of whatever situation we find ourselves in makes us seem superhuman.

But we are human.

And we hurt.

And I am not talking about some tears-in-my-beer-he-left-me hurt. We hurt because we have been disappointed so many times by so many people. We are told as soon as we can comprehend that we are ugly, worthless. We are taught that everything about us that does not conform to other people’s standards is shameful and embarrassing. Our own mothers and grandmothers say that we are pretty “to be so black”, that our hair is “cantcha dontcha”–can’t cha comb it, and don’t cha try to. Not even to the ones we carry in our wombs hoping that they will love us. Our own sons and husbands and fathers toss words around us like grenades: THOT, bitch, ho, baby mama, ugly, black, nappy.

Boys laugh and throw rocks and hateful words, even as they try to cop an unwanted feel on the playground or behind closed doors in dark rooms, too ashamed to take us out in the light of day. Our families prefer our sisters who look white–light skin, light eyes, wavy hair–but they catch it too, the wrath of our shame rained down on their pretty curls and thin lips. Light bright. She thinks she is better than us. White bread. Pretty tan skin deemed fuckable but not lovable, lives ruined by careless hands and hateful deeds. We eat each other alive because we know there is so-so little value to sprinkle around us poor black girls.

We have thickness and are called fat; a white girl pays for it and is called curvy. We straighten our hair and are called sellouts. We wear it natural and are called nappy headed; a white girl wears braids and it becomes a trend. We get called baboon for having full lips; a white girl has full lips and is called exotic. We dance and are called promiscous; a white girl twerks and it is called art.

Nothing that we do is beautiful.

But we are human.

And we hurt.

Yet even as we hurt, we carry loads not our own but that we claim to because we claim you. We stand in gaps on your behalf because as much we hurt we love that much more. We carry the vision of us and you walking together in harmony and victory. We stand there and stand back determined to let you shine, let you prosper. We dim our light so you can find your own, adjust ourselves so that we can lead you into your greatness. We take your dreams into our hearts and create space in the world for you to choose.

We wait for you even as you walk away.

We are human.

And we hurt.

But we never stop trying.


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