Understanding the “strong Black women” thing

being a strong black woman christian

Yep I am one.

I learned how to be one from countless Black women in my life.

I learned how to be one from the women in my community.

I learned how to be one out of sheer necessity.

I am a strong black woman. Being “one” has been both a blessing and a curse.

“Most Black men can’t handle a strong Black woman”

I heard this comment on television the other day and it really bothered me.

It bothered me so much that I created a podcast in which I was almost yelling at my sweet listeners.

I was yelling like a fed-up mama instructing her wayward daughters. My fussing was not so much in anger as it was in concern.

I don’t want them to repeat the mistakes of my failures nor to failures of so many before me.

If you are NOT a Black woman, I invite you to please read on. It may give you insight into other women in your life or help you empathize with women of color.

“Most Black men can’t handle a strong Black woman”

I’m sure you’ve heard this statement before.

Usually when we hear it we, as black women, take a little pride in it. I kind a puff up a little bit and say YEAH! Most often I’ve heard it to refer to black women who have to raise children alone or who get people “told” when someone steps out of line.

But, the reality is some of the elements of being a strong black woman actually harm us in the long run.

Let me begin by saying Black women have had to be strong out of necessity. For years we’ve had to figure out who we are by defining our own selves (aside from how the world defined us).  We have had to be extraordinarily resilient in unimaginable pain and violation.

I have one example.

For generations, the world told us we were ugly.

It said we were unattractive because the way our hair hangs (yet Caucasian women would get curly perms); it said our skin tone was horrible, yet, they would bake for hours under the sun for a tan. Worse yet, the beautiful symmetry of our full breasts and curvy figures were considered “fat” yet they would get implants. Popular culture has always maligned us in media and in popular opinions. Still, we survived.

Please know, I’m not being angry or bitter.  Just, stating my truth.

So, in spite of all this, black women had (and continually have to) define and embrace their own brand of beautiful. It’s sort of ironic because we were appealing and beautiful all along. Society just never embraced it.

Need more proof?

Consider the attraction the slave masters had toward Black women. That doesn’t mean that anyone else was ugly, it just means that we were not as ugly as we were portrayed to be.

Sure, some would assert it was about power…as most rapes are. I declare “WHATEVER!”

During that patriarchal time, slave owners already had power…even power over their own wives.

Black women survived and endured so much. We, as Black women had to be strong-willed and strong-spirited just to survive many forms of domination and rejection. That may be why so many of us are perceived as impudent. In fact, it’s in our DNA to be strong and unconquerable. Can you understand that?

About the Black man.

Also, historically our men have been abused and programmed to believe they were weak and useless.

As I mentioned in my podcast, this dates back to slavery as well. The slave master knew he had to keep the black man in a state of submission, insecurity and self-doubt so he brainwashed him through mental and physical manipulation.

Only then could he conquer him and master him. The Black man could consider nothing his own…not even his Black woman.

The trickle “forward” effect…

The long-term result was a man who likely shut down parts of himself toward his Black woman. He likely taught his son the same. His son saw this “shut down” as normal (because dad did it) and he repeated the pattern.

For example, how could a man claim a wife to be his when, at any time, a white slave master could come and invade her.

Black men of old likely viewed woman’s certain way as a result. Sure, he could love her, but could he really open his heart to her and allow himself to truly commune with her? At any given time she could no longer be his.

I’ll bet in some ways, he hated her because she could never be completely his.

So before you judge the Black families and communities, think about the pathologies that have likely been passed down and contributed to present-day brokenness. I’ll continue this in my next post. I want to talk a bit more about this perception of “strong Black women”

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6 thoughts on “Understanding the “strong Black women” thing”

  1. Thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts regarding this subject…

    This is right on point!!! These are some of the same conversations that I have with my husband and daughters. You just took it to another level.

    Thank you so much for being Obedient and sharing this from your heart ❤️

  2. Thanks, Brittany. It’s such a sensitive topic (I think that’s why I got a few “unsubscribes”), but maybe it will help us understand one another better as we discuss things like this? Thanks again for commenting!!! 🙂

  3. Wow! This is truly powerful insight into the psyche of so much that still goes on today in the black community. I just watched a show yesterday that also addressed some of the colorism in the community as well when it comes to standard of beauty. Thank you for taking time to really explain this for others to understand how the cycle still continues some even in today’s society.

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