As an African American woman, people expect me to be one of the following three things according to everydayfeminism.com:
- The sassy friend
- The oversexualized woman
- The helpful maid
These being 3 ridiculous stereotypes that could die off and I could easily forget them. Out of these 3, NONE of these sound like any of the African American women I know. These are the exact opposite. I know many black women who are dedicated, passionate and loving. Using myself as an example. This past Saturday I was given the opportunity to spearhead a community event.
If you have never heard of Hashtag Lunchbag you should be staring at the Google search bar right now looking it up. I have been going for almost a year now, and finally worked up the courage to bring it home. This required a month of preparation, hours of shopping and an early morning or two. Nevertheless, my team was able to get it done and it was a success. 372 bags over 60 people in attendance. This event required a leader, not a sassy friend/leader who wants to be in control. It required the one thing that is not on that list:
4. The woman who loves with her life.
My mother always tells me and has ingrained it into my mind that the greatest will always be the servant. The person, and in this case, the woman who is willing to give back not just take, take, and take some more. As a black woman, when we look in the mirror we shouldn’t see a sassy friend, an oversexualized woman or even a helpful maid. You should see strength, power, a leader, passion, love, compassion, a fighter. It takes a brilliant and strong woman to see beyond the stereotypes and start seeing herself as an original woman. NORMAL SHOULD NOT BE ENOUGH ANYMORE. It is not enough anymore.
As black women, loving comes naturally. In retrospect, loving with our lives should be just as natural as the two-strand twist that you have in your hair. This is a woman who loves with her life, the total opposite of the three things African American women ‘apparently’ are. I get it defining who you are outside of the typical stereotypes can be a challenge, and even Carol Moseley-Braun knew and it still brought her to say this, “Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others, is one of the most difficult challenges I face.” This woman was a Black politician and a lawyer, she probably struggled the most to define who she is in the fields she chose, but she chose to be powerful and define who she was regardless.
As hard as it is to define you, still choose to love others with your life. Choose to love you with your life. Choose to love life your life. You can do it. I see it in you. This woman is never considered a stereotype because she defined herself, and that kind of woman is powerful beyond measure. Her strength oozes out, and her beauty needs no words.