Some day, hopefully soon, I will be able to express myself on this level:
...It’s easy to demand introspection, retrospection, comments and corrections out of someone who shows up. Meaning, of course you can have a lengthy discussion on whether or not black women do their sons a disservice in how they raise them. The elephant in the conversation is what did the father do? Oh wait, the assumption is he wasn’t there, right? Hence let’s all criticize only person who did show up to raise the child.
Dammit, woman! Can’t you do anything right?
...Black women get attacked because we’re there. We’re visible. We aren’t going anywhere. And we are willing to entertain our faults. We are willing to discuss. We are invested in our families and communities and each other, so we show up, whether we want to be there or not, out of communal pride and obligation. We’ll raise our kids. We’ll raise OTHER people’s kids. We’ll put everyone through college and let grandpa set up his hospital bed in the living room. We’ll support you when you’re a community organizer. We’ll support you when you’re President of the United States. We’ll have your children, raise them, then get into a lengthy debate about whether or not we’re fat because we’re A) trying to keep the President of the United States interested in our sexy or B) because we don’t want to sweat out our perms.
We’ll have the conversation because we care. We read. We organize. We show up. Even if we hate the conversation. Even if we’re sick of it. Black women are ride-or-die for whatever the hell this is. Their family. Their career. Their sorority. Their neighborhood. Their church. If you go missing, you better hope some black women come looking for you, call Al Sharpton and organize a search, otherwise you’re just S-O-L. Everyone hates a black woman until they need one. That’s just how it goes. Come rescue me so as you’re saving my life I can complain about the quality of this rescue.
...In the 1965 play, “A Day of Absence,” all the black people in a town disappear, causing a panic. While these people were invisible to the majority white populace, they controlled so much of their lives that once gone, it was a terrifying prospect they couldn’t overcome. Black women, while seemingly invisible if you’re a TV executive creating a non-reality show based program, are highly visible in many other aspects of our lives – largely because they are so present. Yet the disregard, the conceit, the disrespect is still there. It’s so easy to criticize someone guaranteed to give you page views and hits, who will write books and buy books, act in films and then turn around and support them with their dollars, it’s easy to jump on the person who shows up. Because they’re real and they’re invested. They’re a wide swath of earth from whom mass media can greedily mine, because we will never stop writing, creating, consuming, and being invested. We will always want to know more about ourselves and each other. We will always criticize and question, damn and defend. Because we are present.
It would be a dull narrative for the media (and others) to talk about the reality of most black women, who love their friends and family members, who take good care of their kids, who have good jobs and live decent and law-abiding lives. How interesting is my story or my grandmothers’ story or your mothers’ story in a world that gets high of the schadenfreude of black woman misery – mainlining some “Precious” after snorting up some “Color Purple” then drowning us all in that “oh-its-so-sad” pity when most of our lives are full of joy in the face of all this navel-gazing stupidity.
Unfortunately, you wouldn’t get that from the many, many stories. They just focus on what’s wrong with us. But the only reason why these stories are so popular, the only reason why they move newspapers and theater tickets is because of something quite positive about black women, something that is what’s truly at the core of their questions and wonder –
There are so many things wrong with you, black woman, they say. Why don’t you just give up?
And somewhere some black woman indifferently shrugs and just shuffles on. Got no time to entertain such silly questions. Too much work to do.
~ Danielle C. Belton, Clutch Magazine
*hands this woman the internet*