Embrace Being #AStrongBlackWoman
The other evening my daughters told me “Mom…don’t worry…everything will be okay. Remember, you’re a strong Black woman.” When I heard those words spoken by my 10 and 13 year-old daughters, I wondered whether they said this because they’ve heard other people tell me this or because they truly believe that I am a strong Black woman. I have heard this phrase countless times. Not only do people frequently tell me that I am a strong Black woman, I have told other women the same.
The phrase "strong Black woman" is meant to raise one’s spirits during difficult times. Sure, many of us may need this level of encouragement from our fellow sisters and extended support system. However, I wonder if any of us think about the burden that comes along with being a “strong Black woman”.
✓ Are you allowed to show vulnerability?
✓ Are you expected to always operate from a basis of strength?
✓ Are you allowed to say that the burden of being a strong Black woman is too much?
Being a strong Black woman comes with an enormous amount of responsibility. I recently made a decision and felt it was necessary to stand firm with my decision. Initially, I questioned whether it was the correct decision, but after assessing the situation at hand, I realized that part of being a “strong Black woman” includes making decisions that may be difficult but absolutely necessary. Part of being a strong Black woman is exhibiting a sense of determination and confidence. We must recognize and acknowledge just how phenomenal we truly are.
While there are times that I don’t feel like being a “strong Black woman”, I am reminded that “with all of the demands that a Black woman must meet, it’s no surprise that strength advances a virtuous claim about any Black woman whose efforts and emotional responses defy common beliefs about what is humanly possible amidst adversity” (Beauboeuf-Lafontant, T., 2009). I will embrace the notion of being a strong Black woman with the caveat that there will be times when I won’t have the energy to be strong…I will simply want to be at peace and free. Free to be...ME.