Disclaimer: this post was written in good humour.
- Let’s start with the obvious. People: black people, white people, asian people… feel like they have the right to put their hands in my hair without permission. Now I’ve got used to these lurking unwanted fingers, so my ducking skills have got fairly good. And it’s not just me… when I speak to my fellow natural sisters, we can always bond over ‘unwanted hands in my scalp’ stories. This epidemic is so vast, Solange had to make a song about it… ‘DON’T TOUCH MY HAIR’ …. (Also have you seen the video game made for black women who are tired of people touching their hair? lol)
- Being told that ‘you’re pretty for a black girl.’ Meaning that blackness usually equates to being ugly and that we are the exception. For all those who think this is a compliment… IT’S NOT. Now I don’t want to pretend that all of us have heard that stereotypical phrase, but I feel like we’ve heard versions of the, ‘I like you, but I don’t usually like women like you’ sort of premise. A guy once told me that I was alright but he would never date a woman darker than me… like how was I supposed to even take that?
- Having to listen to all the reasons why certain black men do not date black women. And to be expected to simply nod and smile and not to question ones thinking… I’ve actually learnt to smile and nod, because this is a losing battle… if ya’ll want to reduce your cortisol levels and keep your afro, I advise you consider joining me.
- To be expected to represent every black woman on the planet with your opinion. Especially to those friends of different backgrounds who want you to get them a black pass card for anything some other black person may have disagreed with them upon.
- To be told that bright lipstick doesn’t suit you and wasn’t made for you. I see you aunties lol…
- To sometimes feel that you have to put on that middle-part wig/ weave, contour, highlight and lipstick every day to be deemed beautiful by society and to make others feel more comfortable.
- To be told your hair/ skin is cool, different or exotic, but not simply calling it beautiful. (Like why bypass the easiest word choice?)
- To have to choose a team. Team light skin vs team dark skin.
- To have to watch people of different skin tones be praised for the very features that you have always been told were ugly… lips, booty, big hair (when people teased you for your big lips but now they’re getting fillers? And I see you appropriating our bantu knots Marc Jacobs.)
- To be told that Megan Markle is giving us hope. Erm… She hasn’t actually provided me with any hope, but you can ask every black woman to check out their opinions, I don’t speak for us all, as I’ve already said.
- To feel like you have to fit the black woman stereotype in both features and personality. We’re actually all different, just as caucasian and asian women are different. Like there’s a whole heap of countries in both the Caribbean and Africa and the standard personality/ character of a woman varies interculturally and intraculturally. Our cultures are different!
- To be told that you don’t have to work harder than those at the top of the ladder to get to the same position as them.
- To be expected to be able to run, twerk and sing. Some of us actually can swim, some of us dance ballet or do gymnastics and some of us prefer to spoken word or playing an instrument to song.
- To hear gasps when you say you’ve never eaten chicken. My response? ‘Yes I’m a black woman who has never eaten chicken.’ (Just in case they thought they misheard.) This one actually makes me laugh hard inside.. how can one be so ignorant to think that every black woman must eat chicken. Some of us are pescatarians, vegetarians and vegans.
- To be told you’re not good enough. This one I’m beginning to like. It simply makes me work harder to get where I want to be.
Black women I know sometimes we can laugh at this and then some days we’re simply weary (which is why we need each other). But let’s take everything in our stride and keep shining.
PS. And to anyone else reading when you think to ask us a question you can imagine we’ve probably heard a million times, maybe google or youtube it first and if you can’t find the answer there, then come ask us… e.g. ‘Google… do black people swim? How often to black women wash their hair.’
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. X