I have never considered myself a traditional woman–not by any means.
Y’all should know that by now. -JBH
It has only been since I have entered into these Fabulous 40’s, have I really begun to reflect on the last half of my life (ages 19-39). I reflect on what I was raised to do, wanted to do, and what it means to be the ‘right’ type of Black girl.
The Black girl that wasn’t too loud, not to flashy, and always, always beyond reproach. My mother and her sisters are all Baby Boomers whom grew up in the Jim Crow era. Both my sister and I were taught that if we held ourselves to a certain look or standard, then no one would bother us, assume the worst of us, or try and assault us.
This means from hair, to skin, to voice–hell, even what I was named! I was named what I was because in the era post-ROOTS, my parents wanted to make sure no one would know I was Black until I got there. I was raised in respectability politics. From that front, I have much to reflect on, and weigh in about now.
This is especially so after what happened to Sha’Carri Richardson before these last summer Olympics! From the time she was a sensation at LSU, the world has picked at her. From her hair, her name, her lashes, her bravado–everything! When she heard that her mother died, she smoked to steady herself and then went and won a meet! That decision had the world dog pile on her.
No grace. No understanding. No patience. No love.
Again, it brings us what does it mean to be the ‘right’ kind of Black girl? What does it mean to be the ‘right’ kind of Black woman? How perfect does a Black woman have to be for her to be granted protection? I mean, like the type of protection the world so willingly gives White women!
Black women are the most diverse population of women in this nation, and we are tired of pleading to be treated like complete people! Every Black girl is the right type of Black girl–she is worthy of love and respect because she exists! And because she exists, she entitled to all good and marvelous things.
Audre Lorde said, “Women are powerful and dangerous.” A woman that knows who she is dangerous, because she is not affected by the world–she affects it.