I used to be the most pro-black chick around. My days were spent shouting along to Malcolm X speeches, reading Maya Angelou’s memoirs and speaking (to anyone who would listen) about the importance of buying and marrying black.
At that time, I truly believed that black women and black men were in a position to create a better future for the next generation of blacks. Time has since crushed this hopeful dream of mine.
1. Black People Are More Interested In Equality Than Autonomy And Self-Sustenance
The success of the black empowerment movement lies in the hand of black people, and us alone. Unfortunately, it’s clear that for all we may whine about inequality and social injustice, black people are simply not interested in improving our collective situation. If we were, we would’ve followed Malcolm X’s advice fifty years ago and mobilized into a fully-functioning community of people who truly and deeply take pride in blackness.
But as of now, I’m convinced that our fight for so-called “equality” in society is really just a poorly concealed petition for white approval. We celebrate Oscar wins more than we celebrate black businesses. We hope for better representation in a media that doesn’t have our best interests at heart, instead of creating our own platforms where we can celebrate ourselves without settling for being mere tokens of diversity. Nevermind cocaine and heroin—white approval is our drug of choice.
2. There Aren’t Enough Black Men (Or Black Women) Down For The Cause
Without the collective effort of the entire black community, you’re left with a few pro-black people burning themselves out for the greater benefit of the group. In order to remedy some of the issues in our community, we need to start thinking in the interest of one another and not just looking out for ourselves as individuals or relying on the efforts of a select few. Moreover, men—in my opinion—are often the builders and the leaders of society, as every race of people is led and driven by their men, who set the direction for the entire community. While women often hugely contribute to and impact society, it’s obvious the law-makers, the economy-drivers and the wealth builders and holders have historically been men.
We can debate whether this is the way things should be, but we cannot deny that this is the way things currently function in this world. If the statistics about the black predicament are to be taken seriously, one would have to point to a problem in the leadership of the black race, as there is no black nation on this planet that is not currently struggling and overly vulnerable to economic hardship. The problem doesn’t just exist in black America, but in African nation-states as well. Nigeria, in particular, which is the most prosperous black nation on Earth, is currently in chaos thanks to political corruption and the resulting economic struggles.
3. Pro-Black Often Only Means Pro-Black Men
Ever notice the difference between the coverage a black man receives when killed by the cops in comparison to a black woman? More often than not, the incident relating to the black man receives wider coverage, while society responds to black women being victims of tragic homicidal incidents with deafening silence.
I’ll go as far as to say that the recent black lives matter movement was far more dedicated to the lives of black men, than black women. For many in the black community, it’s only black [men’s] lives that matter—not black women.
4. I’m Tired of Being A Martyr For A Community That Constantly Disrespects Me
Black men in the entertainment industry, online and in real life have made their disdain for black women known. From the misogynistic and colorist lyrics of hip hop and rap music, to the idolization of the white female phenotype, black women are publicly and constantly disrespected by black men. Even amongst the black men that I know personally, the vast majority go out of their way to date non-black women and constantly speak negatively about the way that black women look and carry ourselves.
After I realized this pattern in the black community, I decided to focus my attention on myself and other black women. I no longer run to social media every time a black man is racially profiled. But, you can bet I’m not silent when something happens to a black woman. It’s not that I harbour any hate towards black men, it’s just that I simply cannot continue to worship black men and sacrifice myself in the process, until black men reciprocate the energy and effort that black women are currently giving.
So who am I rooting for, you may ask. I’m rooting for black women. Especially for the black women who have a heart for other black women and improving our lives and collective self-esteem. I’m rooting for black women like Rosetta Thurman, who have started platforms like Happy Black Woman that encourage more black women to venture into entrepreneurship. I’m rooting for platforms like DDS Magazine that actively fight colorism and online publications like Black Girl In Om, which focuses on the wellness of black women through alternative methods, such as yoga and mindfulness meditation.
I believe that black women should refrain from fighting on behalf of other people, especially when doing so negatively affects our self-worth, joy and sense of wellness. Until everybody gets serious about white supremacy, racism and all the other –isms, I won’t allow myself to get worked up about it anymore. I’m going to live my best life and fill it with travel, art, music, friendship and family.
Grace is a freelance writer and blogger from Canada. Her work has been featured on HerCampus, 21Ninety, Read Unwritten. She is a voracious reader, a dog-lover and a self-professed pop culture junkie. Her other hobbies include watching sappy romantic comedies, consuming too many strawberry-filled doughnuts and people-watching. Grace currently attends university, where she is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Pre-Law.