In honor of The Black Panther debuting last week, I found an old article that meant a lot to me, that till holds value till this day. I enjoyed the movie and look forward to writing my review on it. Enjoy!
A queen described in the Oxford dictionary refers to “[a] female ruler of an independent state, especially one who inherits the position by right of birth.” Reread that once more. Now grasp the concept that black women are queens. Throughout history, they have struggled, been ridiculed and undermined, yet still, can be the strong women they are today. Throughout this article I will focus on black women, more so darker black women because I honestly feel as though they do not get enough credit from society. Even when they do, it is petty attention. A little over a month ago I was talking with one of my dearest friends Marie. I was a little stuck because I wasn’t able to find a topic to write about. She gave the idea to write about how women of color are portrayed in society. I love the topic because it speaks volumes, and people hate to bring it up, that’s probably why it’s so controversial. I love controversy because it makes things, interesting.
Contrary to one’s belief: it's hard being black in this world, it’s even harder being a black woman. Growing up I never really paid attention to my skin colour, I had no reason to. I wasn’t teased or ridiculed for my complexion but, I always wondered why my darker counterparts were. I never realized that going forward I would have an assured privilege that I wouldn’t be able to explain. After I had left private school, I attended public school. More people became fascinated by my striking features. My Chinese almond eyes, my high cheekbones, my subtle but plump lips and the fact I was lighter than most of the black girls that attended my school. Invariably asked “What are you mixed with?” till this day has become a displeasure in my life. Although I am mixed, I tend to say “I'm just black” to avoid further questions.
Growing up it wasn’t as easy for Marie, her skin although rich deep brown and illuminating, has given her a permanent stereotype reference in society. In her statement, she sent me she shares her personal incident with racism. “I knew I was different when I was playing at the park with a girl of Hispanic descent. She told me ‘I can not play with you because my mom said not to talk to black people. I do not like black people.” Marie was six years old when this incident happened, Marie is now nineteen and in her sophomore year in college. Marie has chosen to practice law, but sadly her skin colour still haunts her. “I was sitting next to a white man as I was on my way back from my internship. He asked me if I was a lawyer, flattered I said ‘no but I will be’. After telling him my age and what institution I attended he was fascinated. He said to me ‘wow, it's very remarkable to see someone of your age and colour to work so hard, you have so much going for you. You’re destined to be great.” She then goes on to say, it kind of hurt “I thank him for applauding me, but I felt confused as to why he had to point out my skin colour. Like it has anything to do with my success.” Marie being a black woman started to wonder, if people underestimate her for being a black woman who has goals then, they sure enough are doing it to all women of color.
I asked a couple of men “Whats the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of black women?” a lot of them said “Big asses, attitudes, weave, baby mommas and depending on what complexion dark.” I was offended and disgusted. Especially since some of the men who gave these responses were black men themselves. Two black men stood out. One a New York Native, Ramel. He says, “it honestly depends on the individual, but black women to me represent everyone from my mother to the girls thirst trapping on Instagram. A black woman raised me, so I have a certain amount of respect for them considering how strong my mother is. On the other hand, I have seen black women behave in ways I don’t condone nor respect. I would be ignorant to say that is how they all act, just a select few.” Maryland native Bruke says, “Worth it. That is literally the first thing that comes to mind. Black women, at least majority of them are misunderstood. I think it's due to the innate passionate nature. Black women are susceptible to materialism and allow media to influence how they ‘move’ in society. This also affects how they view the opposite sex. Then again this is only my perception of black women of my generation. I feel with a strong foundation black women are destined to be queens.”
In 2013, Richard Prince wrote on an article titled “Black Women in Media: Gold Diggers, Jezebels and Baby Mamas?” He shines a light on the fact that women of color are portrayed in a negative sense and that non-Blacks are the main ones who depict us that way. He also brought up an interesting fact on how Black women are put into categorizing: light skin, brown skin, and dark skin. Which was made to do so purposefully by William Lynch himself? The closer you are to having European features you are “Considered” beautiful and more attractive. It wasn’t until recently Women of color have gained back their confidence. We’ve been ashamed of our natural hair, and now we wear it proudly. We use to envy the lighter skin of white women, but now we encourage “the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice.” Slowly but surely we are gaining taking back our respect that we rightfully deserve.
Bashing women I will not do, this article isn't intended to bash women or women who are not black. I just want to shine some light on black women who Marie says have “such great accomplishments but are frowned upon due to the color of their skin.” Answer this question: How do a women who was looked at so highly, who was the epitome of beauty. How does she go to suddenly the most undermined individual next the black man? When you find to he answer tell me. Till then I want to uplift women of color because if I didn’t, I'd be a sellout.
Without Wax - Chloe Ridore