In the 1950’s and before, women were expected to be docile, fragile creatures who had no opinions – especially about politics. Then the 1960’s happened, and women started letting their voices be heard, and, loudly. But, clearly, there are some men, who, even though they appear to champion rights and so forth, still have the same mindset. If you are a woman, and you challenge a man with a differing opinion – suddenly, you are no longer someone who is wanted in their circle. Because you are ‘just’ a woman, whose opinion, apparently, does not have sufficient value. Apparently if a woman cannot lift heavy items as a man can, her opinion loses value. Granted, there are some men, (few), who do not respond in this way, and thank God for them. They make a woman feel appreciated and respected.
This also extends to issues about race. If an African-American woman brings up race as a possible reason for some reactions- then she faces the double whammy effect. She is suddenly distasteful. How dare she be so politically incorrect?! ‘Oh my! It’s the race card! ‘ But the truth is that it is not ‘the race card’, it is a woman speaking her own truth, without hesitation and without stuttering.
For far too long African-American women have remained silent about how they really feel, and more likely than not, to be accepted in other circles to try and appear ‘modern’. From the slavery era to today – some African-American women take the attitude of trying to get along to far, pretending that it is okay to sell their children off into slavery; pretending it is okay for the master to rape her; pretending it is okay to be force to breed with the man of the master’s choosing for the purpose of creating superior babies. And today – watching as her son is railroaded into prison and pretending to not be angry about that along with all the other indignities she has to face during the course of just one day. The angry Black woman is sooooo yesterday – just grin and bear it ‘girl‘. Pretend that everything is okay.
Yet African-American men and men who are members other ethnicities feel entitled to speak their truths and expect everyone to accept it with a smile and a pat on the back. But those same men drop their jaws in shock and surprise when an African-American woman does so. And she is ostracized and shut out as her punishment. It doesn’t matter if what she has to say has merit, she should just blend into her surroundings and keep her mouth shut – because, after all, she is ‘just’ a woman.
This is what makes so many relationships dishonest – the need to have a woman ‘pretend’ so that she can ‘fit in’. The late Lena Horne, a famous African-American singer who married a White man and, with whom, by all accounts, (including her own), had a great marriage. She did, however, state in an interview, that, during the 1960’s, her husband did not understand her need to speak up about racial discrimination. And some of their most difficult discussions and debates surrounded this issue. He just didn’t get it and wanted her to keep quiet. She didn’t – and eventually, he came around to understanding – but it took time. What if she had kept quiet? One of the most powerful statements that the civil rights movement made, (her public presence and support), would never have happened. Thank goodness for her courage and her voice.
It is frustrating and disappointing when an African-American woman, or any woman for that matter, sees and feels others recoil when she speaks her mind and her truth – just because it makes some people uncomfortable. I say that their discomfort is an unfortunate side effect based upon hearing the truth – especially from a woman.