Malcolm X gave a speech in Los Angeles at the funeral of Ronald Stokes, a man who was one of seven members of the Nation of Islam who were killed by the LAPD at a mosque that was being monitored by the police department on April 27, 1962. Malcolm X said, “The most disrespected woman in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman." This was in 1962.
Today, not much has changed. Black women are now more educated and independent than ever before. However, we still receive the treatment that implies we are not as beautiful or as deserving of love and respect as those of lighter and fairer skin complexions. For instance, a few days ago, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine on the phone when we started to talk about women of different races and his preferences. He told me that he preferred White and Hispanic women, calling them “perfect." When I asked how he felt about Black women, he stated that Black women were more “aggressive and high strung” than other races, as well as more “dramatic." It made me wonder, “You're dating a Black woman at the moment. Is this how you view the woman you're in a relationship with? Is she not perfect in your eyes?"
He then went into detail, stating that White women don't get enough representation, as well as Hispanic women. I somewhat agreed with him in regards to Hispanics. However, Women of Color are not as represented as White women are in the media and in society. Hollywood has a history of whitewashing films that originally had people of color and would rather give roles to White men and women instead of Black, or Hispanic. So, I mostly disagree with him. Even at work, I have heard people say “White is right." These people are Black men. They are so confident in themselves and the color of their skin, yet will say that “White is right." That is frustrating in and of itself. Besides the conversation with my friend and the work situation, this has been the same issue on social media as well. I was going through Twitter when I came across this photo:
It shows women of different skin colors from lightest to darkest. This photo has been used in ways to degrade black women. Here are some examples:
“Line up from Good woman to whore." Whore? Black women are considered whores because of their skin color now? Black women are degraded by being called ugly and having our beauty be compared to Eurocentric beauty standards nonstop, yet are hypersexualized by pop culture and society itself. Then there are the stereotypes: the “angry” Black women who emasculate their men and have raging daddy issues.
None of these stereotypes are true about ALL of us.
Yes, Black women are angry. Wouldn't you be angry if you have to hear offensive comments about your race and gender constantly? Wouldn't you feel anger if a man of your own race says that they prefer women of different races because the women that are the same race as him are too “aggressive” and “dramatic?" You wouldn't be angry if people attempted to touch your hair, mock it and your features, only to try and mimic them for themselves and on top of that, no one else notices it and believes that you're too “sensitive” about it?
I would be and I AM angry about it.
Black women are constantly criticized and it is a neverending issue/double standard in our society. While we are criticized by many, especially on social media, Black women are recently being praised for their beauty and their looks as well. It is as if things are slowly turning around for us. Granted, we still have our issues and people will have their opinions, good or bad, about us and we have to take that and keep moving forward. Yes, Black women are still being praised and ridiculed for their beauty and their confidence. Now it seems as if we are coming together to protect one another, which is a huge change for the better. However, as long as we have people in the world (friends, coworkers, social media), who believe that Black women shouldn't get the representation and appreciation they deserve, it won't happen.
Malcolm X said, “The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman." I say, “Let's change that!"