Nicki Minaj said it nearly 24 hours ago on twitter.
Omarosa said it nearly two years ago to a live studio audience.
My mom said it to me nearly 15 years ago before first grade.
The most important thing that all little black girls must know in order to succeed in anything is that we – as both black and woman – understand that we have to work harder than everyone else.
Many children of color are familiar with a version of this speech – the race talk. The speech in which parents of color try to condense centuries of European colonialism, oppression, and erasure into a few sentences at an elementary reading level in order to prepare a small body for the impending weight of the world.
Yes, it’s that heavy.
While some white children cope with the crushing reality that Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy are actually mommy and daddy, children of color have to wrap their heads around the fact that they will inevitably – at some age and at varying degrees – work harder and receive less simply because they were born in closer proximity to blackness.
For BLACK WOMEN – again for emphasis – BLACK WOMEN!
We have the unfortunate intersection of being both female and black, and at that intersection a whole new identity is born. We do not possess the few privileges of black masculinity nor do we possess even the few privileges of femininity because what is feminine – much like what is white – was/is constructed out of European colonialism/globalization. To be feminine is to be fair, sweet, meek and mild, lovely, and all other adjectives synonymous with light.
Women of color do not meet all of those characteristics. Black women in particular are the complete and total antithesis.
Western culture, specifically American culture, is built off of black culture and black labor. We contribute to food, music, fashion, vernacular, attitude, movement, and all that’s considered desirable. Our continual ingenuity and sweat is needed to feed this.
But while our labor is appreciated, our bodies and lives are not.
You have to be twice as good as them to get half of what they have – and sometimes they take that half and call it their own.
I cannot begin to describe the mental toll it takes everyday knowing the world wants everything you have to offer – excluding you.
Black girls critique these differences in treatment, express their feelings, question the societal norm, even in the most articulate, polite, and clean-packaged way – and we are rejected.
We are jealous, bitter spirits against feminism! We’re pitting women against each other!
The strength that black women and girls are forced to hold onto in order to survive is often mistaken for an absence of feeling.
P.S. Yes, I am triggered. Part 2 will elaborate further.