Being a confident Black woman has never been a challenge for me. I always knew I was beautiful, I embraced my beautiful brown skin, and always thought melanin was so fascinating.
It was not until I came to college and met a guy who made me question it. It made me think, “Am I not good enough as a black woman?”
I always thought I was good looking and I had a few body image issues growing up, but what teenage girl doesn’t? When I first came to Trinity Christian College. I was so happy. I came from a pretty sheltered background and I was just looking for independence for the first time in my life. I thought since this was a Christian school people would think how the Bible talks about loving everyone and have agape love.
Yet, coming here was a different story. I got involved with someone that saw me as media portrays black women: ratchet, loud, promiscuous, angry black woman, baby momma, black Barbie, gold digger, and unhealthy fat black woman. It seemed like here at Trinity no one accepted anyone for who they are. I even heard people tell someone of my friends that that is not socially acceptable. I never heard that saying until I came here. I thought this guy would like me not because we are the same skin color, but because I thought genuinely that everyone was accepting of others. I am not saying that he was a bad person or trying to hurt anyone I am just speaking about what happened to me personally.
I quickly learned that the African American women on campus who grew up in city environments were treated differently than black women or men adopted by Caucasian families or grew up in suburban areas. The students who are more outgoing and voice their opinions are seen as “ghetto” or “too loud”. I am here today to explain that those things are not true. I am an educated black woman and I deserve and demand my right to be respected as well. People may not want to hear my story, but I have a voice. A lot of people have tried to shut me up on this campus even some other black students, but the truth needs to be told by someone.
I have heard a lot of Black guys: international, African, mixed, city, and suburban tell me that they prefer white women over Black women. I respect and understand preferences, but the problem comes in when you degrade and ignore Black women. The problem comes in when Black men in some of my classes say, “Oh Black women are so nasty in music videos, but it is okay for other women to dance like that.” I am here to speak for my Black sisters that feel like me. This is for my Black sisters that have felt as invisible as I have. As a Black woman on campus you might as well kiss dating goodbye if you want to date a Black men. Most of them, fetishize women of other races or say that we are jealous of Caucasian women. I am not saying that all African American Men are like that it is just that when I come from Chicago to Palos Heights I see a huge difference. I am also not saying that African American women cannot interracially date. What I am saying is that most of the time I see an interracial couple dating on Trinity’s campus it is usually a Black male and a Caucasian female, or either a Caucasian male and probably a Latina. There are only like one or two Black women on campus that I have seen with someone that is not a Black male. So basically, if you are an inner city Black woman like me and a few other women then sorry you will most likely not get asked out. Tinder will be your best friend and let’s hope you do not find a creep.
Psychology Today talks about how Black women are socially invisible. They talk about an article written in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. This article did a social experiment on how people remembered Black women in pictures, and the end result was that Black women were remembered way less then Black men and White women. It seems as though Black men are not as invisible as Black women. Perhaps, this could be because they are already highly generalized and stereotyped. Black men are always being thought as either educated, the gangster, or the uneducated drug dealer. For Black women we go completely ignored and people rarely see us. On Trinity’s campus and even in the world I feel like Black women are always “holding Black men” down, but when it comes to Black women they leave. Black women constantly have Black men backs, but in the end who has ours? Many Black men say that their preference are Caucasian women over Black women. As I have said previously this is perfectly fine, but when Black women are being completely ignored then is it really just a preference or are Black women becoming more and more undesirable to Black men? More and more young powerful women like Amandla Stenberg and Solange Knowles are standing up for Black women. Some Black men say in songs like ‘she has real hair’ or ‘she is light-skinned and has a big butt,’ and it is like this brings up the issues of colorism and the fetishes that are stemmed for oppression and insecurities from Black men. These same men that came out of the womb of Black women and have black women as their sisters, are tearing us down. Maybe it is because the oppression of slavery from many years ago. Maybe even though society refuses to realize it there is still some residue left on Black men about colorism.
So where do we go from here? How can this problem be solved in society? The way I see is that we need to focus more on agape love and how God views everyone. No I am not an angry Black woman. I am a woman with feelings, a strong opinion, and faith in God. God made us this way because He obviously thought we were beautiful. Psalms 139 my favorite book and chapter in the bible talks about how God knitted us together in our mother’s womb. If God decided that this was how He wanted his people to look then this is what He wanted. I am not trying to change anyone’s preference, because everyone has a type. The problem comes in when you degrade the other women that are not a part of your “type”.