Special thanks to the audacious Mikki Kendall for writing HOOD FEMINISM. Mikki is a Torch and a Firestarter—and I’m effing glad about it. -JBHarris
I need the world to know something. For all the melaninated dopeness Black women have, we are tired. We are tired of having to always get up, start up and never give up! We are tired of being our own She-Ra’s, Wonder Women and Captain Marvels.
We. Are. Tired.
In a world that doesn’t see Black women outside of Mammies, Sapphires and Jezebels, you have to know how taxing that becomes. Having your entire self whiddled down to what people think of you—or even what you are named, is taxing. Somehow, somewhere, it seems that the default of Black women became otherworldly. We were expected to be superhuman! Lord knows humanity was stripped from us constantly. From that stripping came the shoving down or the outright dismissal of what Black women felt.
Being vulnerable was no longer an option. And if we are honest, it still isn’t! How would you feel if you have no place to release the pain you felt from the trauma inflicted on you? Blamed for things you had no control over, hmm? Wouldn’t that make you a teeny bit bitter? Now, compile that by 400 years.
I grow tired of hearing Black women are just bitter. No, we aren’t, fam! There are Black women who haven’t have time and space together to converge in order to process the shit that has happened to us. Some have turned to people, bottles and all manner of things to make the body feel better so the mind doesn’t ache!
Malcolm X said the most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. In this space of having lived almost 4 decades, I am inclined to agree. I make it a habit to never call another Black woman bitter. I haven’t walked where she has! I haven’t endured what she has! I haven’t been her! But I know what it’s like to be left or abandoned. I know what it’s like to be hurt. I know what it’s like to be blamed for things inflicted upon you and to be told to walk that off! Or ignore it because that’s just how it is’.
I know what it’s like to be told you aren’t enough, or will ever be enough. I know what it’s like to not be believed in or believed about anything! I know what it’s like to feel the root of bitterness form—righteously so!—and remind yourself being bitter won’t help solve anything. But that’s just me.
I get it, sis. I get it.
And because I get it, I give you the space to be mad…until mad is no longer necessary. Because that’s what sisters do. Just know that I not only see you, but I hear you. I get it! I promise I do.