I am past the point where I have any patience for people telling me how I should feel about how black women are presented in the media. Especially people who have never walked a moment, much less a mile in the shoes of black women in America. And before someone decides to break out the face paint & do a documentary? Let me tell you right now that a day or a week or even a month in makeup won’t touch what it’s like to hear from birth that you are worth less than every body else because of you hair, your skin, your culture, your history, & your gender. You know, all those things that make you human? Yeah, the message we get is that we’re not really human. We’re beasts, we’re Mammy, we’re bedwarmers, we’re everything under the Sun but people who are valued & valuable. Well, we’re valuable when we can be exploited by someone else, but pearl clutching ensues when we want to profit from our own labor.
Black women have a reputation for being strong that is sometimes helpful & sometimes harmful. We do our best to survive everything that gets thrown at us. We fight the messages, we teach our kids to fight the messages, but it is 2011 & I am still seeing books, movies, TV shows, & articles lauded for explaining exactly how much less we are worth than everyone else. We can’t even tell our own stories without having to argue over whether or not we’re qualified to speak. If we’re silent others speak at top volume until we are rendered down to Mammy, Jezebel, or Sapphire with no room for reality. When we do speak up suddenly we are too loud, too angry, too confrontational, simply too much. Even when we whisper, we are doing it wrong, but trust & believe we will be heard whether anyone else likes it or not. We are women. We are black. We will not stop speaking for ourselves. Get used to it or get the fuck out of our way.