Chances are, if you’re an African-American woman, you have been bombarded all of your life with all sorts of nonsense masquerading as facts about your heritage, physical beauty, intelligence and contributions black people have made to American history, or your general overall worth to American society. This is UNACCEPTABLE. No other culture is so beset upon with such vehement disrespect as our culture. We’re looked upon as a race of people who serve no real purpose in this country, and generally speaking, we’re portrayed to the world as worthless, baby-makers or criminals who speak the language of “Ebonics” and collect public assistance, rather than pursue education that’ll result in gainful employment or businesses ownership.
It’s believed that we have no inner drive to contribute anything but problems to American society. The full reality of our lives is far from these unfortunate stereotypes. These lies are perpetuated and manipulated so often by outsiders to our community that even people who come to the US from other countries arrive with a perverted vision of the average African-American person. It’s past time we right these wrongs committed against us.
Being an African-American female, I can personally speak to the unjust, mean-spirited lies about my personage that are so constant I have learned to put up my own walls to the abusive talk in order to exist here. These walls are my vibranium armor (Black Panther reference 😏) against the persistent unfair and unjust pummeling my character takes from ignorant, ill-informed people who don’t even know me.
To discuss every unjust belief about African-American womanhood would not be something totally accomplished in an article, so I’ll just touch on the subject of our beauty. The African-American woman was blessed with as much beauty, and in my personal opinion, more beauty than other races of women. That’s not to diminish the beauty other women naturally possess, but I happen to personally feel that our full lips, curvy hips, wavy/curly hair, almond-shaped or doe-like eyes, high cheekbones, and hourglass shape have been so often imitated and plastically duplicated to the point of people believing they do it better than God.
To this I say, “Not so fast!” Let’s open our eyes to how we’ve been spoon-fed lies about our physical beauty, ladies. I was raised in a family that taught all girls that our God-given physical beauty is but one reason to walk with our heads held high, no matter what the media at large says about us. (Thank God for strong and proud African-American family bonds!) Black women have been told our facial features are too large and misshapen and our skin is too dark to reflect beauty, yet cosmetics companies and the cosmetic surgery industry pedal our beauty. Full lips, high cheekbones, and exotic eye makeup tricks to reshape or contour eyes, and not to mention, spray-on tans to give the appearance of exotic beauty and opulence. REALLY?! How many Sistahs were whispered about and had their ample posterior was ogled as they walked by?
Well, obviously, the smack talk was just the green-eyed monster rearing its ugly head in other women because now all the butt-exercises, implants, built-in fake butt shapewear, and shots for a more “coke bottle body” is rampant. Hmmm…I guess filling out your yoga pants in the seat isn’t as undesirable as we (Black women) have been told. After all, you can’t twerk with a flat butt! Even our hairstyles are “in” now. If I have to see one more fake, locked-up or renamed cornrow style that the latest Non-Black reality star family (you know who I’m referring to) is sporting and reclaiming as theirs, I am going to SCREAM!
Sistahs, wake-up to the fact that we are naturally beautiful, and no media outlet, cosmetic company, plastic surgeon, or society in general can take our brand of sexy and do it better than us! “Black Empowerment” scares people. It flies in the face of an unjust society that wants to vilify or degrade any aspect that concerns African-American women (and men). That’s why it’s so important for Black parents to take up the gauntlet and arm their children with the true knowledge of “Our Family’s Legacy of Greatness”. To quote a Black man (Mr. Jesse Williams) who defines the awakening that I pray for our people to manifest, “What I’d like to see us do is to return to a space where it’s okay for folks to be proud and outwardly Black in public…” My Sistahs…don’t swallow the lies…YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!!
Dale Francis-Forteau is an African-American free-lance writer currently living in NYC with her husband and two grown sons. Her love of the written word was instilled in her from an early age and influenced by the numerous family members who have worked as educators. An alum of The Bronx High School of Science, Mrs. Francis-Forteau has recently returned to college and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.