• Archuleta A. Chisolm

Sometimes, Silence Says It All


A white woman messaged me on social media the other day and asked why my book, When Black Women Breathe, was just for Black women. She felt that I wasn’t being inclusive, and as a result, she was disappointed. The unmitigated gall, right? The sad thing is that I wasn’t even surprised by her message, and made the quick decision not to give her the satisfaction of a response. Instead, God and I had one of those side-bar chuckles and He told me not to sweat it. Sometimes, your silence is all that’s required.


I realize in the year of our Lord 2022, it’s not okay to be a Black woman. It’s not acceptable to walk around with our Black Girl Magic, and thinking we deserve the right to breathe. Our lived experiences are simply irrelevant and unimportant. It’s not popular to be concerned about the Black woman’s plight. What plight? Well, take your pick. Marriage, children, lack of the two aforementioned, too much education, not enough education, general welfare and safety, racial gaslighting at work, fetishization, misogynoir. No, we are not like other women. And there lies the blessing and the curse.


Let’s be clear, Black women are marvelous. I’ve realized this my whole life, with the host of Black women that placed their imprint on me. And to listen to a Black woman speak, watch her walk, feel the energy in her presence, witness her making a way out of no way, saving the very things that don't even save her - it was impossible for me as a child not to see how glorious Black women are. We're something to behold.


The truth is, Black women are tired. Tired of being described in ways that remove our humanity. Black women are labeled as emasculating and therefore not worthy of love. The thought is that we're here just to support systems, even if they’re from our own people. We have needs, hopes, dreams, and concerns. We deserve love, space, peace, and safety. Our lives are more than blanket statements about our intelligence, educational and income levels, family dynamics, bodies, hair, and artistic ways in which we choose to express ourselves.


“The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.”—Malcolm X

My nana used to say that you have to know when saying nothing says it all. She was right. Everything does not render a response. I found strength in not responding to that woman. And blocking her was icing on the cake.


So yes, I’m a Black woman who writes about and for Black women. And if that’s disappointing, well, I can’t remedy that. Not even if I wanted to. If somehow my decision to write a book centering Black women renders anyone pause, so be it. Life is too short to conform to the ideals of what others want you to be.


The unmitigated gall, right?