For the last few months, I’ve been bombarded with tons of articles, research, and personal encounters with the social issues of black women. I took all that information, and decided to use it to write a personal letter to black women. I’m hoping to encourage us as whole, and possibly change the way we perceive some of our issues.
I want to begin with why I named this article Love Thy Self. The second commandment is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. This is the simplest, yet most misunderstood commandment of them all. To love yourself as you love your neighbor is a simile. To do something like or as you do something means that those things should be the same, equal, or at least similar. To love thy neighbor as you love thy self means that the love you have for someone else and for yourself should be the same. Not less, not more- the same.
Commandment Three: Love Thy Fellow Black Woman
This is basically the same concept of love thy neighbor, except the neighbor that we fail to love are other black women. All through my life, I got the nastiest, dirtiest looks from other black girls. When I was in third grade, I began hanging out with only white girls because they were the only ones who didn’t make fun of me for “talking white” (Read more about it in Black Children & Education: Closing The Gap Between Black & White Students).
Even now, black women of all ages give me the most unwelcoming looks, and sometimes talk to me rudely. I’m a nice girl, I look at people and smile. I always say, “Hey, how ya’ doin'” to people I don’t know. I usually get it in return, but I don’t always get it back from black women.
I really can’t put my finger on exactly why this happens, but I believe it’s rooted in envy, jealousy, and insecurity. You see, most of the women who do this to me have a similar image. They are overweight and dark skinned. I am slim and brown skinned. I believe these women have an issue with their own image, and they took it out on me because I don’t look like them. Personally, some of these women were attractive themselves. So, why hate on me?
I’m not the only black woman who has experienced this. Most of us have, and most of us know what it’s about. But I don’t know how many of us think it’s about what I think it’s about: Men.
Men set the beauty standards. Black men chase light skinned women in our presence. Black men make music about what kind of booty, hips, thighs, hair, and skin they want their women to have. Like Lil Wayne says, “I like a long haired, thick, redbone”. (FYI: A “red bone” or “yellow bone” is a light skinned woman.) When we get jealous of other black women, it’s simply because we believe that woman is going to take all the men from us.
We have a man shortage in the black community. A lot of our men are in jail, dead, in the streets, or simply just don’t want to be with us. Some rather date other races. All of this creates strong competition with our fellow black women, and with women of other races.
We have this small amount of men available to us, and we have to compete with each other, and other races to have them. I don’t know how many times a black woman has looked at me with fear in her eyes when they saw me near their man. There’s always this constant insecurity that someone may take our man from us. Or better yet, a constant fear that someone may take the few men that are left.
All the disrespect that we show each other is a defense mechanism. It’s a way to annihilate the enemy: the light skinned girl, the girl with good hair, the girl with the nice body, the “long hair, thick, redbone”, etc.
“Love thy self” is the way to stop this. Self love is an amazingly powerful thing. You wouldn’t believe the things you won’t put up with or go through just simply because you love yourself too much to do it. Once again, self love is equivalent to the love you have for your neighbor, so to not love yourself properly is to not love your neighbor properly. It’s no wonder that these women seem to be so hateful to others. They probably are hateful to themselves.
You are a beautiful person. You can’t hear this enough. Some of us don’t hear this enough, but we need to start telling each other. When a woman tells me I’m beautiful, it means so much to me–much more than it means when a man says it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to hear it from a man, but it’s even better to hear it from a woman.
The golden rule applies to everyone. Treat others the way you want to be treated. If you are envious and hateful to others, you are setting yourself up for people do it to you. If you want to be complimented and appreciated, show someone else some appreciation. Compliment someone else. It’s really simple.
For women who are always hated on, try this: smile at them, wave at them, say hello, “kill em’ with kindness”, as they say. It works every time.
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