6/30/2016

On Supporting Black Women


A few months ago, I had a wonderful conversation with close friends in my circle about the struggles of black women and the overall feeling of not being fought for by men, especially black men. We explained that black women have never been allowed to express all of their humanity freely. We have always been "too" something and simultaneously expected to be oxen strong enough to carry our communities; we have done so. Sadly,we have never been given the support or praise deserved from anyone. I know that it is possible to change the narrative about black women and the reality for black women. To do so would be revolutionary.

One of our male friends asked how he could support us better. After dialoguing some more with them about the pain of being black and woman in this country, I attempted to give him actionable steps. I decided to post here as well and I have expounded on some of them more. Now this is not an exhaustive or exclusive list. There are lots of ways for men to support black women. This was just my answer to a very close friend who was sincerely asking for practical advice. 

ONE: Celebrate us publicly.

TWO: Don't let your friends say negative and damaging things and just laugh. Cite examples from your life that are different. They may need help realizing what they have internalized. 

THREE: For better or worse, social media matters, so post positive images of black women.

FOUR: Encourage us for more than our physical beauty. Extol our minds, work ethic, brilliance, tenacity, ingenuity and strength. Basically, praise our whole being. 

FIVE: Openly challenge any threat to us being able to exemplify our full range of humanity (anger, joy, sadness, intellect, rage, disappointment, etc). Fight alongside us for the right to be as tangibly human as the next person. 

SIX: Internally fight the tendency to believe what everyone else has said about us.

SEVEN: Fight for equal pay and equal power.

EIGHT: Care when we are murdered and assaulted as much as your care when a black male is. Show up for us. 

NINE: Educate your children about black women throughout history. Openly challenge and critique the narrative that is taught in schools with your children. 

TEN: Do not explain away male privilege to us, listen to our thoughts and consider our experiences thoughtfully. And if you ever have an opportunity to yield the floor to a black woman for her to express her perspective, pass the microphone proudly.

I would love to hear your thoughts about how to support us more in the comments. I'm sure my friend would appreciate it too. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

YES!! Absolutely.

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