“I date Kings, not guys with Slave Mentalities”
As it is Black History Month you should expect to find a common theme within this month’s blog posts my experiences, joys and frustrations as a Black woman. So here is the first of four posts...
There are a few things in life I am extremely passionate about, and being Black is one of them. I am so proud to be Black, I can’t even begin to tell you. When I think of what we’ve been through and what we have overcome as a community, I take great honour in being Black. This life isn’t easy, particularly when we are governed by a system made to prevent us from succeeding. Nevertheless, I see so much strength in being black, and a woman I can’t imagine being anything else.
Subsequently, I find nothing gets my back up more than when disparaging comments are made by Black men and women concerning one another. We fight so hard to be equal, so why do we insist on tearing each other down whether it be by standards of colour or behaviour. My intention for this post isn’t to come across as “woke”, I just think it’s high time we stop enabling ignorance to continue to exist within our communities.
So, fast-forward to a conversation I had a few months ago where I was overheard watching a clip from an episode of Love & Hip-Hop NY. Two men in the same room proceeded to ask what I was watching. I told them “Love & Hip-Hop”, to which one replied, “Ah man, they sound ghetto!” When I think back to the clip it was a dispute between an African-American female-rapper, Bianca and another African-American cast member. Now, I haven’t actually watched a full episode from the last LHHNY series, but, as someone who follows Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta, it was exactly what I would expect from the franchise. The other man proceeded to tell me that is why he prefers to date white women as opposed to black women because “only Black women behave like that”. For anyone wondering, both men are Black. I considered showing them an episode of Mariahlynn, a White female- rapper behaving in the same way during another confrontation, however, I feared I would be “jumping the bullet”. Instead, I asked them to elaborate. During a lengthy discussion, I was told “80% of Black women and men have a chip on their shoulder”, and that Black women were "always loud and aggressive", unlike White women.
While we are all entitled to our own opinions, and rightly based on experiences, what bothered me the most was this man is a father to two young Black girls. His insistence to boldly advocate a thought process that diminishes the value of Black women is detrimental. As a father, it should be your goal to empower the image your daughters have of themselves, particularly as young Black girls, not demonise it.
Having spent five years at a predominately White secondary school, I became accustomed to defending and explaining my ‘blackness’ to my ill-informed White peers. However, to two Black men, twelve years senior who have grown up in London, I expected better. The Love & Hip-Hop franchise is entertainment. I'm not disputing the idea that people of shared cultures, experiences and gender may exhibit similar behaviours or share thoughts, however, these factors are not definitive. It doesn’t speak for everyone. I’d go as far to suggest that this man’s experience of certain women was more significant to the calibre of women he engaged with, not their colour.
Given the black community fight such stigmas on a daily occurrence, I will never understand when we perpetuate such prejudice within our own communities. Stereotypes breed ignorance. By all means, we are entitled to have our preferences. Nevertheless, those preferences don’t require you to bash the alternative.
You grow up being told not to see colour, but as a Black woman, colour is all I see. I used to blame society for that, but I feel our own communities are to blame too. Contrary to the favoured image of Black women in film and television as aggressive and subpar, we are in-fact passionate and strong-willed women - that’s what being Black has taught me thus far. I’m aware not all men will agree with the views of those ignorantly displayed by the male I was talking to, but, to those that do I think it’s high time they look further into their issues with “Black women”. Perhaps that “issue” lies with themselves. Better still, stop suggesting it’s a woman’s “blackness” that makes her unattractive, as you wouldn’t dare have that conversation with your Black mom, aunts or grandmothers, OKUR!
Please see below a conversation I loved earlier this year on BKChat Ldn about colorism: