What does it mean to be Black & Female?
I have no idea. I couldn’t tell you, show you, but I am going to attempt to figure it out in so many words and see how far I get. Maybe this will just be a start to get the brain going for what’s to hopefully come.
To start, this is not a race or gender thing to create any sort of sparks. This is simply an exploration. The idea came to me in my Monday night class as I watched my professor be, shockingly enough, “black”. Some already have a preconceived idea of what it is to be black but it’s not just that. I watched her be so in tune with her intersectionalities, with herself as a teacher, a female, African American, all of it. It was intriguing that I felt really out of tune.
Because I am mixed, of two or more races or however you want to put it I am “stuck up”. I am not sure how that came to be but it is what it is. For the people that know me, that is somewhat true but not because I’m of two races, and for those who don’t know, I’m Jamaican and Polish. Yeah! I had the same thought too. In class we discussed female’s black and white, as well as the treatment of women over the years.
The main focus was somewhat African American women due to the articles we had read. We discussed what it was to be black, that blacks were to be loud and obnoxious, not go into a dark and scary room when it clearly looks like something bad is about to go down, the list goes on. I even found a Facebook meme depicting this, with Scooby-doo and it was funny, and true. I do not fit the loud part, sometimes, the obnoxious part, sometimes—I’m not all black? I guess you could say that if you are using those standards. So, am I not black at all? Not really sure on that myself.
I am however a female, the doctor, my mother, society, my friends, have all affirmed it for me so I guess I am in agreement with them. I’m so happy! As a female I have set roles as determined by society and my environment. As myself I say I don’t feel like being a maid to anyone or kissing the wrong end of anyone. Yes, I have choices but they are limited. Yes, men have more choices and opportunities than I do but that does not mean I am not qualified or not capable of doing what a man can do.
That is all because society says so. But then if I don’t do that there’s—either way I’m trapped in what I do or don’t do. I could go on but it would take forever! I mean it, women and some men probably having been trying to explain it for years. So what am I getting at here? To be black means I’m set up, to be female means I am trapped. To be both means, to me, that I am going to do what I want and live my life because either way I get a double edged sword. I’ve already shaved my head, kind of, had a design and am now rocking all natural short curly hair.
I have multiple piercings, I am not wearing big hoop earrings or speaking in slang; does not mean I’m not black. I do not have to fit to the stereotypes of being black or being female. I just have to fit to what suits me and so far, I think I’m doing a good job. I still don’t understand what it means to be black and a female but I am going to find out.