New Voices

On Being a Black Woman

by Hailey Manuel | Black | 18 years

*based on a picture I saw yesterday that said "Dear white people, listen up. especially gay white boys. You do not have an inner black woman. Never have and never will."*

You have no idea what it feels like to be a black woman.

To not be wanted by men of other races, but also of your own because they hate the reflection of their black features in you. because they want “cute, mixed” babies.
as if black kids can’t be cute. 
as if they think they and all their relatives were ugly children. 
as if you were an ugly child, which you most certainly were not.

To constantly fear that others think you’re only successful in the tech industry because you're a black woman, 
as if you aren’t smart or qualified enough.
as if you don't study hard for your interviews and aren’t passionate about your work.
as if it can’t be possible to get a job just because you’re good, but because of your race and gender.

To be told that being black has “come in handy” during college application time in high school. just like it came in handy when you were a little girl on the school bus being called the n-word and would instead walk home rather than face the boy who mocked you on that bus. 
as if you didn’t get into your colleges because you were smart enough or had enough extra curriculars.

To fear for the lives of your male relatives because they might get harassed by a rogue police officer, but
to also fear for your own safety as a rogue officer might try to take advantage of you because a “jury would never believe a black woman”.

To constantly try to be better than everyone else, because if you don’t do well in a class you might poorly represent black people.

To never fully be able to let go, just to make sure that if anything does ever unfairly happen to you, there would be nothing for the media to say except that you were a good girl with a bright future because you kept a squeaky clean image.

so no, you don’t have an inner black woman.
and you never will.

-h.m.

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