You know it just hit me, black women have to overcome so much in this world. They have two historical factors working against them along with society stereotypes; being black and being a woman.
In history, both black men (really all black people in general) and women have been persecuted. Black people were kept as slaves/property, not allowed to own anything or make any money. Black people were seen as objects and not people. We all know (or should know) that as time went on, slavery became nonexistent and black people gained rights, gradually. Now white women were always seen as people but they were considered a little less than white men. White women did receive the right to own things and to be their own person way before black people but their right to vote came after that of a black man’s. You can say that all of these things are of the past but racism and sexism still exists today. Black women have to overcome obstacles put in front of them due to their race and sex.
It has been proven in office studies that male workers tend to be paid more than female workers even if they are performing the same job and it has also been proven that a white person will get a job over a black person. So a black women has to endure lower pay to a male counterpart if she HAS a job and if she doesn’t, hope that a white person doesn’t go for the same job that she is going for. You may disagree with what I am saying but society tries to portray itself in a way that ‘life should be’, meaning everything is equal and success is determined by how hard a person has worked for it. All you need to is look up the statistics, they’ll surprise you but the facts don’t lie.
And the stereotypes….oh there are many. Basically I’m going to breakdown the black women stereotypes into three categories: Mammy, Jezebel, and Sapphire.
‘Mammy is the Aunt Jemima black woman. She is fat, almost a mother earth figure, but she has no sex appeal. She is happy with her life of faithful service to white people. She smiles and laughs. Maybe too much. She has a good heart but she is not particularly bright or even all that trustworthy. In the 1960s the matriarch stereotype took her place, which in turn gave rise to the welfare queen in the 1970s. Jezebel, named after an evil queen in the Bible, is a loose woman who wants sex all the time. Yet at the same time she uses sex to draw men in to get what she wants. Sometimes it is money. Sometimes it is to destroy them. Hip hop videos and Halle Berry’s in “Monster’s Ball” push this image of black women. Angela Bassett refused the part in “Monster’s Ball” for just this reason. Sapphire, named after a character in “Amos ‘n’ Andy”, always seems to have her hands on her hips while she is running her mouth – putting down her man, making everything into a fight, never taking anything lying down. She is an overbearing, hard and undesirable woman who drives men away – and so winds up alone. Michelle Obama comes dangerously close to being read this way’ (Stereotypes)
So basically black women are looked upon as poor, dumb, overbearing, undesirable smuts who no one wants to deal with. People even try to make the First Lady into a ‘stereotypical’ black woman. And I can bet that after reading the descriptions above, you probably have categorized a black woman into at least one of these categories.
So the question at hand seems to be, how to black women break free of stereotypes, history, and the continued persecution (however ‘slight’ it may be) to become successful, groundbreaking members in society? The ones that emerge will definitely be called different and/or weird because they don’t act like a ‘typical’ black women but really there is no ‘typical’ feature of any race. Everyone is different with their own gifts/talents. Celebrate yourself and what you have to offer without trying to conform to what society wants you to be.