I cringe when I hear the phrase “strong black woman.” There’s a negative, warrior-like connotation with being a strong black woman. Don’t believe me? Google image the phrase! I can’t carry the world and your problems on my shoulders. I’m still trying to tackle mine. I cry. I don’t have an attitude. I’m not mean-spirited. I need help. Help around the house. I need emotional support. I can’t handle most things. Climbing the corporate ladder and opening up certain doors is easy for me. I’m smart…and street smart. I’m resilient – I know what to roll off my shoulders and I know how to be assertive. I’m a go-getter. But I’m not aggressive. I want a husband. Not sure what you’ve heard, but I need a man. And depending on the economy, I want 4 kids. My parents didn’t attend college – my mother was my age (28) with 4 children. I’m very familiar with the struggle. I made it out of Englewood in Chicago alive. I had a stable upbringing and I see the value in family. Future NYT Bestselling Author, my Soror, Jamilah Lemieux, addressed the issue with being labeled a strong black woman in Clutch recently:
I never wanted to be a “strong Black woman”; in fact, I bristle when people call me one. I’m Black and I’m a woman and I happen to have a number of things about me that are strong: my mind, my personality, my resolve, etc. But putting them all together under that title reduces us to some sort of monolithical fembot who’s able to shoulder all burdens because she’s unable to feel. I don’t know about all of you, but my shoulders aren’t always broad enough for all your stuff and mine, and feeling? I like to feel. I need to feel.
By making “strong Black woman” so much a part of our identity, by having that “I got this” (“this”=everything) attitude, we set unrealistic expectations for ourselves. We deny ourselves the ability to be human..Call the NAACP and tell them we need another word funeral. I never want to hear the words “strong Black woman” again. I want my sisters to feel as free to be publicly and privately strong or weak or both as they please without feeling that they are somehow required to put on a front of infallibility.
I would have assumed that the black journalist/blogger/life & relationship coach crowd would have retired the phrase, Strong Black Woman, after Lemieux’s piece..but then I stumbled upon an article on Black Voices titled, “10 Tips for Men: How to Date a Strong Black Woman.” While I understand the author’s desire to support and encourage strong black relationships, I’m a little uneasy about this post. His 1st tip, “Never Portray Yourself Larger than What You Are.” We all have a representative. While I agree that we should not put on a facade when meeting someone new, I’m not entirely comfortable with you putting your all out there on the line for the sake of being compatible with a strong black woman. In fact, no one should be that open…initially. I’m actually quite curious about the author’s extended definition of a strong black woman. I’m not here to criticize his post (I’m sure he had good intentions) but the last thing black men need is a long list of demands, or do’s and don’ts, on how to date a strong black woman. This type of advice is what scares men away! Dating is hard enough. Dating is not a sport and it shouldn’t be treated as such. Be easy, have fun and go-with-the flow of things!
Check out the full list here. What are your thoughts? Are you tired of the phrase strong black woman? Do you agree that we need to arrange another funeral with the NAACP for the phrase – strong black woman?