Mint Editor’s Choice: A Triple Threat
I vividly remember a card my mother sent to me while I was in boarding school. On the front was a picture from the civil rights movement and inside after greeting me, she wrote that as a low-income black woman, I had three things against me. But no matter what, I was going to succeed despite that. And like a typical mom, she sent a snack as well.
I’m most likely paraphrasing what she wrote and I don’t remember what month of the year she sent it to me, but I remember that picture and the poignant message inside. Perhaps since Black History Month just ended and Women’s History Month just began, I find myself thinking of that card and what it means to have triple the adversity and maintain triple the determination.
I often laugh at the irony of there needing to be a black history month and a women’s history month. Black people have pretty much set the foundation for America and women give everyone life. So you can imagine what the black woman does for this country! There needs to be a celebration year round!
See, for me being black is at the base of my womanhood and being a woman is at the base of my blackness.
One cannot exist without the other. So it’s times like this when I revel in what it means to be a modern day young black woman in America. It means things like New York City just passing a law so that companies cannot discriminate towards black women with natural hair. It means seeing professional black male athletes make videos saying they only want light skin babies, with all non-black women surrounding them. It means seeing that black women make up a small fraction of all major corporate professions. And it’s even larger things, life-threatening things, like realizing that the black maternity mortality rate is higher than some “developing” countries and that black women are dying giving birth no matter their income level.
I think back to that card and its message inside. Usually, the saying is that black people have to work twice as hard to get half as far. It’s true…but what about the black woman? For me, it means triple the adversity, but with triple the determination.
I’ll let you all in on a secret…it’s hard being a black woman in America. It’s also one of the most phenomenal, invigorating, and special things that I get to take part in. Despite the fact that America and the rest of the world doesn’t want to acknowledge the wonder of black women, every day I get to see that wonder and history run through my veins. I get to see that perhaps the world does see how great black women are because they try to diminish our light at every turn. I get to look up to black women like Michelle Obama, Beyonce, Ava Duvernay, Rihanna, Bozoma Saint John, Regina King, and the list could truly go on forever, but I’ll stop here. Women who are trailblazers, women who look, sound, and are like me. I also get to see black women who aren’t famous, like my mother or my friends, kick society’s norms to the side and work hard.
So when I’m not laughing at the need for a black history month and a women’s history month, I’m trying to find the opportunity to uplift the women who fit into both categories, the women like myself, who are both woman and black. Who cannot be one without the other. The women who may have triple the adversity, but no matter what and despite all odds, have triple the determination.