I’m 5’4″ and very much an introvert. I love my personal space and I value my small circle of friends. I love going to the museum, the symphony, the Opera, visiting local coffee shops and farmer’s markets.
The only physical attribute I gave was my height. When I mentioned the things I like to do, did you have an image in your head of what I looked like? Was my race important or did I seem like a laid-back individual?
It would be great if we could all enjoy living without being judged based on what we look like or what preconceived notion someone has about race. That’s not the world I live in.
Everyday I come in contact with people, one thought that comes to mind is if I’m being treated a certain way because of my skin color. And if you think racism is dead, it’s alive and very present in the world. Colorism is an issue, too, but I will keep it simple.
I consider myself a friendly person and someone who is easy to get along with. But if I feel like something was done with ill intent, I’m not going to be happy about it. But as a Black woman, I’m on guard as not to appear to be the ANGRY BLACK WOMAN!
It’s a terrible myth I contribute to some TV shows that perpetuate the stereotype. The shows portray us neck rolling, finger snapping, dang-near yelling at others just to have a conversation, bad attitude having women.
That’s definitely not how I view myself or my Black female friends. We’re caring, kind, compassionate, loving, driven women.
We are so many things to so many people. We don’t walk around ready to start fights ( there are some people who do and they come in all ages, shapes, colors, and genders).
So let me do the honor of speaking on behalf of myself and my close friends who identify as Black women and giving examples of our humanness (because society has failed us).
- We can be assertive and go after what we want. Calling us intimidating is not a compliment.
- We have emotions and can express them if we’re happy, sad, displeased, hangry, or loving.
- We can express our opinions if we know we’re played. We’re not angry – you just got caught and now you’re defensive. Remember, your emotions belong to you, not us.
- We can be introverts, extroverts or ambiverts.
- We can disagree with you and be respectful at the same time. (Shocking, right?)
- We are friendly, but sharing every detail of our lives will not happen right away. We have to trust you first.
- We need our space and we’re not dolls. So please, no fingers in hair, unnecessary hugs, shoulder rubs, smelling our food (personal pet peeves), or eating off of our plates without getting consent. It’s the little things that go a long way.
- We love to laugh and joke. But putting others down to get a laugh is not our thing.
- We want, deserve, and command respect.
- We are capable of love. Loving others and loving ourselves.
I hope when you encounter a Black woman that you remember that she is a human with emotions and opinions. We want to be valued just like everyone else. We’re not angry, we’re tired of being walked over and singled out.
Like Aunt Maxine said, we’re reclaiming our time.
Note: Aunt Maxine is U.S. Representative Maxine Waters.
Photo credit: Tech Inclusion