The Most Disrespected Woman in America is Still the Black Woman

Growing up as a black woman, you already have two strikes against you: being female and black. This country wasn’t made so that I could live here in peace. Every day there is something or someone telling me that the spaces I inhabit aren’t made for me and that I should just “go back to Africa” as if my ancestors had the choice of being enslaved and brought to a foreign country that would never love them. The majority of all the black women I know are also fighting against something. If we are not fighting the self-inflicted demons that are inside of us, we are fighting our men, teachers, classmates, the patriarchy, rape culture, sexism, white supremacy, the criminal justice system, discrimination, the statistics that are placed upon us, and more. We are always on the frontlines ready to not only defend ourselves but also our men, our children, our rights, our careers, our femininity, and so much more.

Black women are constantly disrespected in America. This shows lack of humanity in our American citizens that they think that this is okay. One of the ways that black women are disrespected is through the media and work. On a morning episode of “Fox & Friends,” Journalist Bill O’Reilly mocked Rep. Maxine Waters by saying he was too distracted by her “James Brown” wig to listen to anything she had to say about President Donald Trump. He has since then issued an apology after receiving backlash for his comment. A hashtag called #BlackWomenAtWork was created by activist Brittany Packnett in response to the disrespect of the prominent figure. This hashtag gave black women the space to share their work experiences or knew someone who put up with uncanny racist BS at work as well.

Black women aren’t protected in America either. Not only are we not protected by Amerikka but we aren’t protected by our own men. As a black woman, it’s daunting to go past a group of black men and hope that they don’t say anything to me. I feel the need to try to distract myself or look as if I’m doing something so I won’t get approached. God forbid, if I am approached, now I’m scared to turn this man down in fear that he will take my life. This is a real problem in the black community. Mary Spears, a 27-year-old Detroit woman, was shot to death by a stranger after she refused to give him her phone number. This is just one of the victims who life was taken for saying the word “no.”

Additionally, black trans women are being killed at an alarming rate. Black trans women are at one of the most dangerous crossroads in America. Black trans women have to deal with racism, sexism, and transphobia. In 2017 there were 26 murders of trans women; twenty of them were black trans women. Along with black men, black women are murdered senselessly by police brutality. There is a war on black and brown bodies and the only protection we have is ourselves. The ones that are meant to serve and protect are the ones taking our lives.

Black women have historically been neglected. One of the ways black women have been excluded from history is through feminism. Black women were not thought of during the fight for women's rights; as if we aren’t women. Black women who attempted to participate in the feminist movement in the 1960’s were often met with racism. This racism took the form of exclusion: Black women were not invited to participate on conference panels that were not specifically about black or Third World Women. Black women weren’t represented on the faculty of Women's Studies Departments, nor were their classes devoted specifically to the study of black women's history. In most of the women's movement writings, the experiences of white, middle-class women were the focal point of "women's experiences." They entirely ignored the differences between black and white women's experiences due to race and class. When given a seat at the table, black women were often treated as tokens; their work was accepted as representing the black experience and was rarely ever criticized or challenged. The way that the mainstream feminist movement tried to erase the presence of black women is also how America tries to erase the presence of black women; by excluding our efforts to help our community prevail. But we will not give up; we are here to stay.

Black women inspire the world. This is seen throughout how much America tries to fight our existence and appropriate our culture. Black women are the muses of this country. We are lovers, nurturers, fighters, activist, protectors, gatekeepers, change agents, and everything else.

No matter how much racism, sexism, patriarchy, or misogyny tries to take away our black girl magic, we constantly shine. Being black is what makes me unique and beautiful and I wouldn’t trade being black or a woman for the world. This is a cruel world but in a weird way, I am thankful for it. The fact that I have to do all these things to protect myself and others like me is a very daunting task, but this plight has created many leaders and incredible women. Through it all, Black girls rock!




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