Hard Truth " Unashamed" : Collaboration with Anita Asante

Mar 13, 2016

I was recently asked by my girl Anita to write a review on her previous post Unashamed.  In the post she highlights so many issues that we struggle with as black women. Anita keeps it real and uses her own experiences to outline how society has manipulated our blackness through stereotypes, in doing so sometimes are worth is put into question.

For more of Anita please check out her blog www.thehardtruthsite.wordpress.com

When I was asked to share my thoughts on Anita’s post I was a bit anxious. I wasn’t sure what I was going to write. Not because I was afraid about stepping out and talking about my blackness but afraid that I would be misunderstood. I was unsure if I could express myself and still extend grace on the issue at hand.
 I came across this quote the other day:
“Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.”- ― Blaise Pascal
I learned a very long time ago that truth is a noun that lies in a definition of the unknown. Everyone’s definition of truth is different. Misunderstanding a person’s truth is a product of ignorance. A black person’s ability to express their frustration for justice in movements such as #blacklivesmatter has resulted in the ignorance of greater masses refuting the cause to say that #alllivesmatter. They fail to recognize that what is on the surface of what they see is something that has been deeply rooted within us.  I don’t know any white person that has “contemplated changing their skin color to feel accepted by the society around them. But I know many as myself who contemplated manipulating their blackness– the beautiful handiwork of God to fit the image that has been socially profiled as correct.
This quote resonates profoundly with me. It is clear that those who do not love truth have opened themselves up to deception. The reality of being black is hidden to those who haven’t lived it or walked in the shoes of a black woman. The “Unashamed” post highlighted so many struggles and significant matters in our community today. The fact that different shades of our black skin tone is rated on some type of scale to prove self worth or value is disheartening.
Blackness has been defined as ugly to the masses, from saying that our nose is too big to being compared to gorillas—whiteness has established this falsehood, and blackness accepted it. It is problematic because along the way many of us have forgotten to love ourselves by truly embracing our individuality and our uniqueness of being “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:14. We have been asked repetitive questions on our hair, our culture and even language. But I believe that many have chosen to not learn about who we are because they don’t care and is simply not important to them.

It’s true that black stereotypes have become a laughing stock for those who know nothing about the culture or the people. If you speak your mind and are able to freely express yourself, there are assumptions that you’re “too loud, an angry black woman or probably struggles from daddy issues and is trying to be heard etc.” But when it comes to our art, our history, and our music we become somehow relatable. They have forgotten that behind the rhythm and voice that our lives do matter; that those who paved the way shed their blood for us so that we could have a voice to make a change. Undeniably, our aggression isn’t because we’re angry; it’s a cry, a hope that change happens in a world that adapts to change so quickly. I’ve seen celebrities like Kim Kardashian rock things that black people have created and then given the credit for what was originally ours; it’s sad that they only consume what they like, and disregard the rest; but when black culture sheds light on how wrong or unfair it is, it’s rejected.  Our identity has been stripped away because we constantly have to explain ourselves, especially how we do our hair– something that really bothers me too. And to be honest, till this day I don’t understand how white culture doesn’t get how black women maintain their hair (but that’s another rant for another day).
Stereotypes are mediocre; they are everywhere and exist outside the black community. But I believe that we have to fight 10 times harder to get our voice heard because of what has been manipulated to represent reality. If we want anything for ourselves, it has become a problem because it’s easy to eliminate our blackness and anything that we can identify with. They have executed the chance to be heard with coming up with ludicrous ideas of eliminating black history month or complaining that #blacklives don’t matter but all lives do.  Our society mocks us, and like Anita said “We have allowed the stereotypes and social media to neglect the beauty of black diversity”. I also found it even more difficult when your own kind has a hard time accepting you; when it’s hard to make eye contact with that black girl in the mall or any social surroundings. Because she is probably programmed in her head that you’re rude and will be ready to fight her at any given moment if you look at her in the wrong way. We have internalized the falsehood of what it means to be black by believing the stereotypes—in the shows, and the music we listen to.
It’s quite sad that we allow stereotypes to determine our perceptions of people; that, in this day and age, our very being of being black is challenged in different aspects of our lives. I remember growing up my mother drilling it in my head that I need to work harder because finding a job would not come as easy for me as it would for a white female in our society
I’m so happy empowering movements have been created.  In some areas we have failed to recognize that we aren’t against each other but we are one. Another black woman isn’t my competition. I don’t hesitate to support Anita and vice versa and it’s so beautiful because I see that together, we can do so many things.
I’ve befriended and come across some of the most intelligent, eloquent black people; their creativity is out of this world. I’ve had discussions with men who want nothing but to represent the ideals of manhood be leaders of the communities that work so hard to tear them down. Our insecurities run deep as we find ourselves questioning our abilities because of challenges we face as black people. The truth is that those who choose to view us superficially will never fully understand that we are created in the image of a perfect God. He is the foundation of our being and he doesn’t see color but a parallel love for all who are created in his image.
I’ll never shun my truth that I’m a black woman who has fed into the lies of who I really am. I find myself questioning my abilities, my beauty and my worth because of what these social media outlets chose to label as beautiful. I don’t doubt that my sisters and brothers feel this way.
So how do we deal with those who just don’t understand the truth?
We teach them. We extend grace. We love them. And most importantly, we love ourselves, so that even if those we love don’t accept it, we eliminate the falsehood that has been masqueraded as Truth.
The issue of our blackness doesn’t end here but in progress let us love our neighbors as we love ourselves | Mark 12:31|

For the sake of love, 

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