In the 1937 book, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston said that like mules, Black women carry the w wishes on their backs. We smile, we dance, we hide grimaces just to participate. We do everything that is asked of us, exactly how it is asked, even to our own detriment. People don’t concern themselves with whether we wither or not. We’re asked for more of the grueling song and dance, no matter how inauthentic or harmful it may be. The only time there is a problem is when we halt.
The world doesn’t want Black women to speak, even though we’re fighting for and changing the world’s democracy. The world has a problem with Black women’s bodies, and policing our hair to the point where we have to enact laws to be able to wear it how we want without fear.
It’s common to be the only or the first in any particular space. But not everyone celebrates those wins or sees the bigger picture. It’s assumed that we are less than, even though we’ve shown again and again that we are more than enough.
Now more than ever, Black women are being bullied on social media for their accomplishments, their looks, or whether or not they are telling the truth. The world just wants us to go away. We can’t possibly want to protect our mental health, become the best at what we do, or be intelligent enough to achieve any level of success.
It saddens me when I think about my nieces growing up in this world; a world that has already written them off before they’ve had a chance to do anything. A world that believes they are threat and just wants them to go away.
So, when you hear Black women say “Trust Black Women”, “Believe Black Women” and “Respect Black Women”, it is coming from a hurt place. These are simple requests that never seem to be taken seriously. Everything we do is met with resistance, disdain, and anger. We shouldn’t have to negotiate our existence and settle for it. We just want to live in this world – freely and completely.
Black women are not a fluke. We are not a solar eclipse that can only been seen every so often. I’ve encountered people who want me to be good and not great, or they feel as though I don’t belong or I’ll get too emotional. It’s all of this negative connotation that comes with being Black women and it’s exhausting. But when it’s said and done, we continue to lead. We make things happen. We are the ones moving the culture and the world forward.
We will not be invisible. We will not be silent. We will continue to be great. Period.