The everyday struggles of being a Black woman

The neglect of Black women starts from birth

Alea Hoof

“The most disrespected person 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. “- Malcolm X.
Black women have faced an unmeasurable amount of oppression. We experience racial inequality with childbirth, colorism in our own community, and harsh stereotypes. Never have black women been able to develop a culture, instead we’ve had to conform to society’s ideas and expectations of a black woman.
Tiffany Johnson is a survivor of neglect from the medical field. “I do feel that the quality of care changes according to your race and economic status. There are individual providers (nurses, doctors, etc.) that I don’t believe personally feel that way however they are governed by policy and procedures that often limits their ability to provide quality care, “ Tiffany Johnson said.
According to CDC (Center of Disease and Control Prevention) “Black Women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.” We are most likely to die or have complications within our pregnancy because our health and needs are not taken seriously.
“We are thought often described as “brave” or “strong” but are vulnerable due to lack of medical care and as victims of crime”, Dr. Leitz, licensed marriage and family therapist, and a child custody recommending counselor, said.
Many doctors dismiss what black women say when they believe they are experiencing complications or are in pain. We always must hold up to the standards of being independent and a “strong black woman.” When expressing our feelings or pain and speaking up about what we go through we are often are not believed. This falls into why we are not taken seriously when telling doctors about our pain during pregnancy and become vulnerable when they do not listen to our needs.
Colorism is a huge issue in the black community. Many black girls with kinky hair and dark brown skin don’t grow up seeing girls that look like them on TV. If black girls of a darker tone did see someone that looked like them on TV the character was stereotyped as ‘ghetto’. This messes with young black girls’ self-esteem and leads them to these ideas that they aren’t pretty enough if they don’t straighten their hair or dress a certain way.
We often also face colorism within our immediate family. “I experienced colorism a lot within my family. All my grandma’s kids are light/Brown skin making most of my cousins the same. Whenever we get into arguments the first thing that they call us (the darker skinned cousins) gorillas & start comparing our skin to other dark animals and / or objects,” East High sophomore NyAsiah Gully said.
Black women have been the blueprint for many trends. Things black women did that were considered “ghetto” became trendy when non- black women did them. Black women wore long acrylic nails and were bashed for wearing them. Now, you look and see everyone doing the same thing without the backlash. We wear colorful wigs and get called every harsh name in the book, but when you look at non-black, people wear them they become “cute” or “stylish”. To this day when a black woman wears her box braids to work, she gets labeled unprofessional and gets side eyed from her non-black co-workers. Once non-black people started to appropriate this aspect of black culture it became “just hair”. It wasn’t ‘just hair’ when black people were fired or sent home from school because their hair was a “distraction to others”. Calling it appreciation of the culture is a statement of ignorance; people can appreciate culture without copying it. Black women deserve better.