How to Survive in an Anti-Black Woman Culture?

This is a question that I found on Yahoo Answer:

“I feel so undervalued as a black woman…Im not even complaining or fighting/blaming someone I’m just so upset?I’ve generally been down over the last few years about family and friends but what grinds my confidence and esteem down the most is how undervalued I feel as a black woman.

Everyday I try to go out and live life as I want but ever since I can remember I’m always censoring my behaviour i.e. I’m very gregarious sometimes but I reigned myself in because I didn’t want people to feel uncomfortable around me. Because I’ve been doing this I realised I don’t even know who I am, I feel like a stranger to myself. I feel broken, I’m half the person I put out so people don’t judge and half the person and things I want to be. I’m not ghetto I’m in college premed…but I feel like all these things I’ve done are never enough. I feel rubbish when I try to start friendships and get overwhelmed with crippling shyness I feel even worse when I finally pluck up the courage and they don’t want to know. I feel do unattractive, people say I’m pretty I’m 5’7 and slim…but I feel if I were to stop straightening my hair and makeup guys would embarrassedly pass me up over and over and over for the brunette, the blonde, the oriental, the Asian and thank their lucky stars they weren’t lumbered with the black girl..

I feel even more dead inside when I see the videos, TV programmes and blogs of why men, all men want me. I feel stripped of the confidence I was born with when I’m made to feel so un womanly and not sensual…like a rabid dog compared to how delicate women of other ethnicities are. I feel sub human…just about a woman, but with no allure or attractiveness that would make someone choose me forever. And when black men justify how they like other women by discrediting me and stripping me of all my dignity. am I not your mother, your sister, your aunt, your niece. Didn’t you realise your 10 minute rant left me with over 10 years of thinking I was not worthy, not beautiful, ten years plus of…the pain of being alive and being the dregs.  I feel empty and broken. Like something damaged on the discount shelf ‘saying hey I’m making it easier for you’ but everyone would prefer to take the tough route to prove how much they want other women. It hurts because I know if I asked the same effort I’d be told I was being high maintenance or causing drama.that effort is less likely to be invested in me and it hurts.  I don’t wish I was another ethnicity. But I do wish more people were interested in me and my culture too (I’m of west African heritage) and who I am inside rather than looking at me and telling me who I am.

I’m tired of being made out to be second best especially when out with friends of other ethnicities. But I don’t know if its too late to change this feeling.  I want someone to see me as a woman and want to protect me, and be nice to me and have kind words the way they do with Asian, white, latina…I want them to care of my opinion of them. I just want this kind of response to take away this numb feeling and remind me I’m alive Based on your question.”

source

I can just feel this woman’s pain through her words. Even with all the pain that I can feel in her, a couple of the comments that she received told her that she was ranting or that she had low self esteem.

It can be hard to hear such negative stereotypes again and again, no matter how “strong,” Black women are portrayed as, first and foremost we’re human beings and as human beings, we should be free to express the full range of human emotions.

The woman in the question talks about behaving differently in front of others so that she doesn’t conform to the stereotypes that they have of Black women. This is called “dissemblance.” There is an entire culture of dissemblance when it comes to Black women.

I wrote a blog post about dissemblance here. 

I’ve had many experiences where I’ve felt compelled to dissemble so that others will not think badly of me or other Black women and I can safely say that dissemblance has done me more harm than good.

Not being able to express your true feelings, not being able to cry when you’re hurt, not being able to be rightfully angry when you’ve been mistreated damages your soul. I think that dissemblance dehumanizes Black women in the same manner that stereotypes do.

I want Black women to understand that we can’t control how people feel about us. If they want to see us a certain way, they will. It doesn’t matter how many positive counter examples of negative stereotypes they see, they’ll only believe what they want to believe. If someone judges us based off of our skin color alone, THEY are the ones who need to change, not us.

Be true to yourself. All we can do in life is live the best we can and “do unto others as we would have done unto us.” That is the cardinal rule that should govern how we treat others.

When I go online and I come across forums bashing Black women and describing how unattractive, unfeminine and unappealing we are…(and yes it does hurt…), I really have to stay grounded and remind myself that if someone doesn’t know me and they’re judging ME based off of stereotypes, then they are the ignorant ones.

Don’t waste your time with people who mistreat you, focus on those who love you. If you fill your heart with negativity (and I know this from experience) then you’re robbing those who love you of positive experiences that they can share with you.

When I get overwhelmed with the negative treatment of Black women,  here is what I do.

1. Turn off the negativity. Leave the forum, turn off the television, switch channels, turn off the radio, walk away from the person.

2. Get Your Feelings Out:  I go and write down how I feel in my journal or blog about my feelings and release my hurt, pain, anger in a constructive way.

3. Do Something Positive: I go and meditate, pray, walk, jog, read or sing. I do something that helps me cope with the world and enhances my life. When I do these things it reminds me that I know who I am, even if no one else does and no one can judge me.

4. Love your God given beauty. The woman talks about being uncomfortable showing her natural hair, but our natural God-given hair is gorgeous. The reason people don’t appreciate it is because they’re insecure and also because some of us have forgotten how to love our own natural beauty.

Post on The Beauty of Natural African Hair. 

The only way to combat the evil words that are thrown at you is through love and forgiveness and when I do what I mentioned above I forgive and love and I pray for others and for myself.

What are your thoughts on this young woman’s post and how do you all cope with the negativity that is leveled at Black women? 

Related Post: Is Negativity Killing You As a Black Woman? 

How to Survive in an Anti-Black Woman Culture?

8 thoughts on “How to Survive in an Anti-Black Woman Culture?

  1. THE ALCHEMIST says:

    She needs to stop consuming media that is racist and sexist toward BW. Too many young BW have been infected with anti-BW propaganda and have been put on the defensive about the “ghetto” stereotypes. Most of the anti-black woman hate speech in the internet comes from black men; it’s their new hobby.

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  2. I feel for this woman.It’s a shame ppl tell her she the problem. I see the vids of black men bashing black women,but i turn away from it. I know there are good black men out there like my father,uncles,and cousins. i was fortunate to grow up in a household surrounded by people who embrace who we are and where we came from.Those black men are lost who do these things,because i don’t know any real man that would say those things.Don’t worry the black men who don’t date or like black women,their life sucks.Just look at tiger woods,terrell owens,ocho cinco,and oj simpson.They either had a sex scandal,domestic violence,or fianacial issues. The world doesn’t appreciate us that’s fine lets appreciate each other. I’ll start.Peanut i appreciate you and your blog for bringing these issues to us so we can discuss. You are a beautiful and smart black woman. People like you i consider and will call sister others that act disrespectful are not my brother nor my sister.WE just share the same race but not the same ideas they are not who i will call friend.

    We are beautiful and the original woman. If some black men can’t accept us for who we are and just want us for our behinds,skin tone,hair length,then f them.They are going to stay in broken relationships because they hate themselves and everyone else is the problem to them.No real man blames women for his mistakes but owns up to them and learns from them. Look at terrell and ocho,they both only date white women but have black baby mommas.Ocho liked evelyn and he said her attitude adds spice to the realationship,now look where they are smh.Ocho has a domestic violence charge and terrell is broke.We have enough things to worry about than some black men who are not real black men.They are white in a black mans body.They are like some pigs wallowing in mud oblivious to the axe above their heads.

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  3. honeytreebee says:

    I think it hits us all at one time or another. You must have a way of loving yourself and protecting yourself from such abuse. Don’t hold on to it make your own reality and fill it with those that love you. When love is no longer being served it is time to get up from the table and leave.

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  4. Ebonychic205 says:

    This made me tear up, I’m sorry. It’s a shame the way that beautiful sistas feels. What’s painful is like many of us she seems to have her life together but internally still feels inferior compared to others. She knows like majority of us know as black women no matter how hard we try, our good isn’t good enough, our great isn’t great enough and being close to perfect isn’t the same as being perfect. Society judges black far worse than other races of women because of the deeply engraved perceptions and stereotypes about black women society has about us. The reason these stereotypes and perceptions became so deeply engraved is because we never had any disclaimers or for better understanding people to come in and “defend” us against a small minority/representation of black women. Black men have that, white men, white women, Hispanic, Asian, Indian and in between.

    I feel the same exact way, and remember this kind of feeling is warranted sometimes because look at Michelle Obama? Like the sista in the article, she’s educated, she’s married, she’s fit, she’s a mother and she stands behind her husband yet Michelle Obama was subjected to brutal stereotypes and even was belittled on her physical appearance, which has nothing to do with her as a person of the white house.

    I’ve told black women no matter what we do, you can try to conform to society, totally transform who you are and become someone else to try and appease society but in their eyes “YOU’RE STILL A BLACK WOMAN OR A WOMAN WHO IS BLACK”. Black women carry two burdens being black and being a woman. Imagine the pain our lesbian sistas, they’re faced with 3 burdens; black, woman, and homosexual. Social stigma is far worse for black women because we carry multiple burdens. Black women are on the opposite spectrum of every social/human measurement out there.

    It’s best for black women to just detach ourselves from the pedestal placing of social reputation. I used to focus so much on the social reputation of black women, until I realized in the end, having a reputation is not going to provide for you. Black women need to come together, uplift one another and continue making strides. We’re our only support system because we have no one else. Time to come together in the anti-black woman world ❤

    Sorry for the novel.

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