One thing I have always been passionate about in my life is women. I mean, I am one. Therefore it is not surprising that with all the kidnappings, abductions, killings and burnings of women lately, I have reflected on why women, black women in particular have been the victims of oppression, suppression, discrimination and hate all these years.
I asked myself, what brought us here? Why are black women at the bottom of the food chain? When you come to think about it, of all the races that exist in the world, black is the most looked down upon; and of the two sexes, female is the most oppressed. So here you are as a black woman bearing two of the above: being black and being a woman. It is not rocket science that we find ourselves at the bottom.
Now with being at the bottom comes with it a whole lot of other challenges, not only in the corporate environment, but socially as well. This gets to the point where we as black women look down upon our own selves. We have all probably come across the stereotypes of “women to women hate”, “no unity”, and “no sisterhood” etc. Now I usually ask myself whether these are really stereotypes or they are a true reflection of what is happening in the black female community. I have been observing this for a while and what I did manage to see is that black women don’t fully understand, appreciate and love themselves enough. There is a certain element in ourselves that looks down upon ourselves and as a result look down upon our fellow sisters. Let us take the woman who will ridicule another woman because of her hair asking questions such as “when are you doing your hair, when are you relaxing?” Who said my hair must be done and relaxed? When I had a huge afro, I would often be asked by my fellow black women when am I relaxing. I didn’t quite understand this. Instead, most of the people that admired my Afro were non-black people. Let us take the woman who will make a laughing stock of another woman on social media because of her make up. Let us take the woman who will always insinuate that another woman made it by sleeping her way to the top. Let us take the woman (and society in general) for looking down on dark skinned people and only seeing beauty in light shades. Let us take the woman who makes another woman feel bad because of stretch marks and cellulite. Let us take the woman who, when she wants support and praises, will address as beautiful ladies but when she feels like flexing on those same women she addresses us a u-gal.
The trend here seems to be that we seek to find something somewhat negative about another female and seek to want to drag them with that in order for us to feel better about ourselves. As I mentioned previously, that we don’t fully understand, appreciate and love ourselves enough.
I don’t think we understand how strong we are, I don’t think we appreciate how powerful we can become and I don’t think we love how beautiful we are. Black women are extremely beautiful, but we haven’t been taught to see this, instead we have become accustomed to looking down on the dark skin, the kinky hair and the fuller body.
Now, back to all the mass killings and kidnappings happening, how does this relate? There is power in unity. The unity we don’t see in some people whenever there is a young lady that is reported missing. During the search for the late Karabo before her body was found, some women were passing judgmental and disturbing comments like ‘she will show up soon’, ‘she is having fun, she looks like the type’, meanwhile Karabo’s body is laying in a trash dump. There is power in genuine sisterhood to stand against these things but we cannot attain that power as a collective unless we ourselves as individuals have empowered ourselves. And how do we do that? By understanding, appreciating and loving ourselves. What I have touched on may seem as minor everyday things but these so called minor things are a reflection of how deep down inside we are not content with ourselves and the way we were created as black women. This creates an unsolid foundation upon which we stand when we are so called united because even in that someone is laughing at my hair. How am I supposed to put my best foot forward then?
Let us all realise the potential we have to become one of the greatest existence there is on earth. Let the world see our power. Let us get out of being at the bottom of the food chain. We have it. Now let’s do it.