By: Dr. Tiffany Darby
As our racial climate continues to change, permanently I hope, I think it is essential for women to address some things as well. Let me start by saying I love being a black woman. I wouldn’t change it for anything!! I think being a black woman is one of the dopest things in the world. Being a black woman comes with many things. For me, being a Black woman is empowering.
It’s like having something that many people want, but if they obtained it, they really wouldn’t be able to handle it. Black women are often expected to be strong ALL the time. We have a lot of responsibilities and are usually not expected to have any issue with doing what we “have to,” let alone fail. We can have several jobs, a partner, children, attend college, and be expected to do each role, well. And often from the outside looking in, we are doing it ALL with ease. Now don’t get me wrong for many of us; we were taught to “get things done,” “figure it out,” and we will do what we have to do no matter what! The reality is that we get overwhelmed too. We then have to deal with other people who want to take bits and pieces of our culture but not the hard stuff that comes with it. By other people, I mean White women. Throughout my life, I’ve noticed White women attempting to be replicate Black women. From celebrities to women I’ve encountered personally, the attempt at replication ranges from minor offenses to extremes. Several try to tan their skin, use injectors to plump things (e.g. butt, lips, etc.) and even plastic surgery to obtain a look that often comes naturally for many Black women.
I’ve experienced several White women do and say inappropriate things. For example, touch my hair.
One of the dope things about being a Black woman is that many of us can change our hair very quickly. I cannot tell you how many times a White woman has asked to touch my hair. The. reality is, don’t ever touch a Black woman’s hair, EVER. How about, don’t even ask! Another example is when White women attempt to use Black vernacular. Please don’t say things like “girlfriend” or “hood”. If this isn’t something that you say to your White friends, please don’t attempt to say it. It feels artificial. While we shouldn’t have to teach White women how to interact with us, the reality is that we just might. If I’m going to spend time with someone, I want them to be themselves, and I will be myself. I encourage White women to open their circle to people who don’t look like you, and if everyone in your circle looks and thinks like you, the opportunity for growth is limited. While this seems like something small, to Black women, it can be huge; we already have enough on our plates!