I’m thinking about the Black women who have recently completed suicide. I’m thinking about the consistent pressure Black women are subject to. I fear for my wife. I fear for her and the other Black women who attempt to show up as themselves in spaces that are unwelcoming, unwavering, and unresponsive to their needs. Black women are bombarded by unrealistic expectations that are rooted in patriarchy and racist perceptions. I can only imagine how difficult it must be some days.
Black women are supposed to be perfect at all times. They need to have the "ideal" face, hair, body, and skin tone. They have to be submissive to men, have children by a certain age, be married before that, be the perfect mom, serve up that gawk-gawk 3000, be a virgin, carry the torch of diversity and equity, and lastly… heal Kanye (and other Black men). In the public eye, they have to do ALL this and if there is room or time, be happy with themselves. It is bullshit, but I must be transparent. I have probably perpetuated some of these ideas as well, but as I grow, I aspire to be more supportive in the effort to tear down these patriarchal views.
As a Black ass man, I am praised in many areas for simply existing. In many cases, the bar is low AF. I pick Dom up from school every day and daycare before that. They LOVE me.
“Good to see you Dad!”
“You okay Dad? You were a little behind today.”
“Okay, I see you!”
When my wife drops Dom off in the morning, they greet him and sometimes her. I get celebrated when I handle my responsibilities, meanwhile, it is another day in the books. She shakes it off and in the grand scheme of things it might seem small, but it adds up and that's just the beginning of the day.
I talk to my wife during the day and even more after a long day’s work. She details the implicit (sometimes explicit) racism and microaggressions she experiences throughout the day. Colleagues not responding to meticulously crafted emails, then asking questions in meetings about items covered in the email they ignored. White men gaslighting, white women crying when things do not go their way, and the myriad of microaggressions that both groups send her way. I know it is not just my wife. I saw the Angela Rye interview on The Breakfast Club, she addressed how certain spaces she worked in were not safe spaces for her to be herself. Why are Black women not able to be authentic? Their personalities are leached for ratings and the almighty dollar, and then vilified when they are ready to move on.
Black women should be able to live free, but there is always some struggle to do the simple things. We must shift the norms so Black women can live authentically, heal from trauma, seek joy, or just have a normal fucking day. Let Black women live… that’s the end of my rant.