I Love You, Black Womxn.
Cover art by Amber Cohens - @ohambam
I'd be lying if I said loving myself is easy. Being Black and a woman and queer is a triple whammy for which I don't believe anyone could prepare me. This isn't to discredit the examples I do have such as my mother, other family members, friends or powerful figures in different facets of Black culture. My mother is light skinned but she made sure to breathe love into me every chance she could despite having the privilege of color on her side. That is a blessing in and of itself because colorism can and does run rampant through the depths of Blackness, poisoning the roots of family and culture. However, we can only heal what we reveal and it's truly time to eradicate our communities of this self-hatred and dehumanization of Black womxn.
The structure of all the isms place Black womxn at the base for everyone else to step, jump and build themselves into whomever they want to be. While white womxn and nonblack womxn also face degradation, if they crumble there's safety and reconstruction awaiting them. Black womxn were given the arduous responsibility of carrying the weight of everyone else's anger, hatred, and insecurity while needing to uplift ourselves as well. Our fairer counterparts across the gender spectrum vehemently refuse to acknowledge that their freedoms and privileges come at our expense majority of the time. As enslaved womxn, we were unable to sustain the life of our own children and families but bred to feed and nurture the children of white sadists. Our bodies were egregiously and inhumanely used for medical and scientific breakthroughs in gynecology, virology, anthropology and stem cell research. Legally, we were only 3/5 of a person and our "freedom" was and continues to be a power play on the government's behalf. The audacity of the fairer folks to pillage, maim and (literally) consume the life and autonomy of Black/Indigenous people on our own lands is truly astronomical.
This is barely the tip of the iceberg in the ways that Black womxn faced and continue to endure degradation of the mind, body and spirit. While others can reach their freedoms and unity within their communities, we are left injured and our humanity rejected. Last week the Black attorney general of Kentucky, Daniel Cameron, refused to bring a murder charge to the grand jury in the case against the murderers of Breonna Taylor. He endorses Trump and speaks at his rallies, enabling the spread of violence and hatred especially towards Black womxn with the gross negligence exhibited in Taylor's case. Every day, we are subjected to microaggressions from nonblack and white colleagues, friends, and strangers. Our history is whitewashed, erased and destroyed. Any time we create our own spaces and safety, white and nonblack people project their hatred for our autonomy. When we try to integrate into existing spaces, we are asked to strip ourselves -- our hair, our style, our culture to appease the discomfort they feel from our existence.
We are shot, bombed, raped and cast away into the margins. Yet we are still made responsible for the ways we're abused and the onus is on us to educate the rest of the world in the midst of healing. We are still expected to grin and bear it. The grueling cycle of abuse from every aspect of life is ingrained in Black folks one way or another and many of us succumb to it or internalize the hatred and pass it on to our next generations. This brutality is often adopted by Black men and other Black womxn as a means of survival and my heart hurts for those lost in that manner as well. Our resilience is commendable but all for atrocious reasons and our strength is often what keeps white and nonblack people and Black men and womxn coming back to inflict more harm. Through every blow we take, we still rise and figure out ways to remain the most educated and most ambitious group of people. We can still grant ourselves the compassion we deserve and extend it to others.
The most difficult obstacle Black womxn face outside of everything and everyone else is releasing self hate and unlearning maladaptive behaviors and habits. Navigating through life to see and feel how your humanity is disregarded and abused requires such a deep and personal level of introspection. We deserve space to experience more than pain and anger. We deserve to feel the joy of freedom and the internal peace of contentment. Remember that no matter how the world treats us, we deserve humility and we can do ourselves justice by granting it to ourselves first.
If nobody tells you today, I love you Black womxn.
Cis, trans, intersex, GNC, NB, femmes, studs, ace and aro. WE DESERVE LOVE.