When I was in college, I was inundated with negative videos about Black women on YouTube. I grew so frustrated that I threw myself into Black history, I wanted to know where the stereotypes about Black women (and Black men) come from. I wanted to know why people would stereotype all Black women as angry and promiscuous. I wanted to know why the media focused so much on the negative stereotypes about Black women and why we had commercials like the Pepsi Max commercial airing during the Superbowl. I wanted to know WHY some Black men on YouTube would make such hateful videos about Black women. Many of the things I learned were unbelievable cruel and what was even more shocking was that I didn’t learn any of these things in school. I didn’t know anything about the lynching post cards or King Leopold of Belgium who worked millions of Africans in the Congo to death…or the brutal history of slavery.
It really hurt me and angered me to read some things, so in my quest to become more Afrocentric it also made me angrier and more cut off from society.
I spent a lot of time researching my roots and I don’t regret it, but at the same time, I’ve been left to wonder is more harm than good being done? I let the hateful words of others drag me down so much and as a Christian, it is taught that we should forgive and love others, even when they hate us. Love thine enemy and turn the other cheek. (Luke 6:27-36) I can forgive those who have said hateful things and committed racist acts, but that doesn’t take the pain of it away necessarily.
When I can study my history and when I can look at history from an Afrocentric perspective, it lessens the pain…but at the same time, I want to love all people and I just want at the core to be regarded as an equal and not have to feel put into these boxes.
I feel like I’ve put too much stock into how others view me. I’ve let it drag me down to the point that it’s changed my personality. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of my heritage, but why should the hateful words and stereotypes of others leave me feeling bitter?
I believe it’s important to know history, but I don’t want to become bitter…so
I have been searching for the fine line that blends a healthy self-esteem as a Black woman with my responsibility as a Christian, which is to put God first. I don’t want my ethnicity to overshadow my faith or turn me into a hateful person because I’m so angry at the way others have treated me. I want my ethnicity to be part of my identity, but I want to share my culture and be proud of my culture and still love others, even if they judge me.
I would love to be able to be both Afrocentric and maintain my faith, which says to love God and love others truly. I believe we’re all made in the image of God, regardless of color, religion, ethnicity, political party etc…and I want to love and forgive others, but when people are mistreating you, it’s so hard to…but I will keep praying about it and trying not to hold things against people. I always try and pray when people do hateful things or say hurtful things. I pray for God to forgive them and help me to forgive them. Sometimes I really have to pray for God to help me because that’s how painful it can be…but I would want someone to forgive me because I’m not perfect and I’ve been insensitive and I’ve committed wrongs before, so how can I hold things against people and not forgive?
Also, bottom line is…it makes you bitter when you hold onto hate, it really does.
Does anyone have any good books to recommend that help build up self esteem in Black women and also focus on love and forgiveness?
But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:27-36
Please help me to forgive those who judge me for being a Black woman. Please help me not to be bitter and Bless those poor souls who spew hatred and judgement at others for something as superficial as skin color. I know we’re all created in your image Lord and that it’s what is in a person’s heart that matters, not their skin color. Please help others to understand this too Lord. Please help me to remember this Lord.
In Christ Name,