10 Ways to End “Black Woman” Stereotypes

Portrait of Smiling African American Woman

Every race has its stereotypes. And we’re all aware of the stereotypes directed at black women. There are stereotypes that depict us all as ghetto, loud, argumentative, bitter, etc. I don’t like to be stereotyped-especially negative stereotypes likes the ones I’ve listed below. That’s why, as a black woman, I’m very mindful of my words and actions. NOTE: This story appeared on Madamnoire.com, I (Sabrina) did not write this post, but I agree with it — hence why I posted it on my personal blog.

Stereotype: Angry
How to end it: Smile- Black women are often stereotypes as being angry. And sometimes many of us do walk around with scowls on our faces. And this, for some people, confirms their suspicions about us being angry and bitter. But combating this myth doesn’t take much. In fact, one simple and highly effective way of dispelling this myth is by smiling. Smiling instantly makes you and the people around you more comfortable.

{RELATED ARTICLE: 15 Interesting Facts About Smiling}

Stereotype: Argumentative
Be Less Defensive- Yes, life can be unfair and black women are sometimes disrespected. Some Black women try to counteract this by being overly aggressive with everyone they interact with. I don’t think it’s necessary- and there are better ways to handle people than by trying to dominate them. Furthermore, not everyone is out to take advantage of and/or disrespect you. Don’t make it your life’s mission to “check” everyone that crosses your path.

Stereotype: Loud
How to end it: Listen- My friend’s grandfather used to say,“Only a fool got something to say about everything.” And I completely agree.

Stereotype: Always on CP Time
How to end it: Be on time. We may joke about it among ourselves, but operating under CP Time can damage your personal and professional reputation

Stereotype: Unprofessional
How to end it: Be mindful of your environment. It’s not cute to be the co-worker that talks like they’re at their girlfriend’s house, when they’re at work. While a certain tone and speech is appropriate for certain settings- it may not be for another. Be a black woman who’s mindful of your environment and the people around you.

Stereotype: Uneducated
How to end it: Be a well-rounded woman. I think it’s important to be a well-rounded black woman, because you’ll be the type of woman that can hold a conversation in various circles. If you’re the type of woman that loves a Lil’ Wayne song, also be the type of woman that can name the three branches of government

Stereotype: Black women are hoes
How to end it: Dress like a lady. As Black women (and women in general), we can’t dress “loose,” and then get mad if we’re objectified by men and labeled as over-sexed. In order to get respect, we should act and look like you’re worthy of respect.

Stereotype: Ghetto
How to end it: Don’t model ignorance. Media has definitely helped to perpetuate a perception of black women. And while it’s fun to enjoy some of the television drama and antics on shows like “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”, realize that the goal is purely entertainment. Don’t use some behaviors (and you know what I’m talking about) that you see on shows like RHOA as models for personal etiquette.

Stereotype: Superficial
How to end it: Be a woman of substance. Occupations like “professional gold-digger” shouldn’t be on your list of aspirations. Be the type of women that works for, and deserves what she has.

Stereotype: Unwed, baby-factories
How to end it: Make it a priority to establish a relationship before making a baby. Seventy-percent of black children are being born to unwed, single black mothers. Being a single mother is hard. Stability (having both parents actively involved) is important in raising a child, and phrases like “baby daddy” and “baby momma” make light of this issue and glorify a dysfunction in the black community.


My ‘OWN’ Introspective of OWN’s ‘Dark Girls’ Film

I feel asleep… and I didn’t get a chance to watch OWN’s ‘Dark Girls’ with everyone else, but I did watch it. I had even fathomed actually watching the program, to much apprehension, because I thought that it would only reiterate the ‘Colorism’ that I already knew existed, and a repeat would be annoying. It did in-fact repeat what I already knew, and thankfully it wasn’t annoying — while watching the program I smiled at some of the subject’s commentary professing love of their black skin, and for the other program subject’s commentary — I frowned and was embarrassed at some of their self-hatred.

Majority of the film was an introspection for Sabrina, most documentaries like this are. Fortunately, I’ve never known or heard of a “paper bag” test until an ignorant rapper named Young Berg made this term into a controversy… I never heard of it. I’ve never heard of the One-Drop Rule until Soledad O’Brien’s CNN’s Black In America brought it up (horrible program by the way).

Me Mom Aunt

Me, My Mother and My Aunt @ the Stevie Wonder Concert

Was this a testament to the rearing of my mother, and beautiful siblings? — I’d like to think so — my butthead male cousins included, (as a kid they put raisins in my nose, cruel I know…lol). However the people in my family never made me or my sisters feel like were not beautiful.

My mother did somethings growing up; very few, that were attributed to her lack of knowledge. My mother tried to bleach my knees and elbows because they were really dark. Now it maybe, because I was a rough child, who fell and scraped every part of her body, but that was just my skin color, and mom tried to lighten them —  not my entire  body, but just those dark areas. Again, I have to say my mom never made us feel less than what we were… ‘beautiful’. I always thought my sisters were beautiful, If I never told them, “I’m sorry” and I’m telling them now… “You’ve always been beautiful to me.”

My sister Maria, with her innate ability to interact and engage with people, made her the most popular girl in school — I saw this and was amazed, my sister Tawanda, who was such

Mom & my sister Maria

Mom & my sister Maria

a pretty chocolate girl; however, I’m not sure she truly ever realized that. I also have another sister Sybal, who didn’t grow up with us, because she was adopted, but  re-entered the family. And she is a light-skinned version of my mother, very scary how they are twins. My sister Tawanda had two daughters (my nieces) one brown-skin like me (Taree) and (Jena); whom a troubled society would deem the typical light-skin good-hair child, but I had never saw anything other than my little apple-headed nieces, whom I enjoyed torturing as a kid…lol.

My family never saw the colorism that society projected, and I have my mother, siblings and my father’s family to thank for that.

In elementary school, I was never belittled for my skin color or called ugly, but I was given a nasty name among my classmates, in fact we were all given names, and before I tell you my class name — do know that it’s not for obvious derogatory reasons, because they told me why. It was ‘monkey’ — I poked my mouth out a lot, much like the animal would, hence ‘monkey’. Other classmate names — African-American as well, were given animal names like Cow; unfortunately for the obvious… Beaver, unfortunately for the obvious, and Chipmunk among others ;-P — we were just kids, acting like kids. I never felt any colorism, I did; however, notice the favoritism towards the light-skinned girl(s) in the class from the dark-skin boys, but it never made me feel inferior, I’m not sure why — I’ve always felt secure in my skin.

As I got older entering junior high and then in high-school, and I can’t ever recall a time that I ever felt insecure in my own skin, but as soon as I reached college (HBCU), my self-worth sky rocketed. As soon as I stepped foot on campus, all I heard about myself was beautiful and pretty, this enamored me, because I’ve never heard this from men or women back in Milwaukee. But as soon as I reached the Carolina’s, I’ve never felt so beautiful from my own people. Furthermore, the reason that I have ‘PRITLDY’ on my vehicle license plate(s) WI & NC, is not because I just wanted to be vain, but because, that’s what I was called on campus, that’s what it reminds me of. (Insert Smile)

I don’t know where else my secured behavior cultivated, but I’m happy to know I

Me & Mom leaving Hawai'i

Me & Mom leaving Hawai’i

fortunately didn’t have to experience the denigrated hate from my own people about my skin tone.  Do I consider myself a dark girl? no; brown girl; yes, African-American Girl — proudly. And at this very moment I can’t help but think of the VH1 Gossip Game episode, where a conversation between JasFly and the K.Foxx had me scratching my head. Admittedly, I initially frowned at the response from Jas, I got the impression she was disassociating herself from Black Women; HOWEVER, I should have known, and I feel like an ass now, to have not known, that this is reality t.v. and editing for a controversial-drama angle is rampant (read her blog and you will understand). Shouts to JasFly… I truly like her character and she represented well.

Family, I just love my black skin…. I truly do, and I do NOT want to trade it. Now… I do loathe some of the baggage that comes with being black in the 21st century (job searching, office politics, media portrayals etc.), but I don’t let it define who Sab [pronounced like ‘cab’, käb with an ‘S’] is. It wasn’t necessarily a journey for me, because I’ve never hated my black, but it was something that grew in self-assurance over time.

Would it be wrong of me to point out that I’ve experienced, and even laughed at others for their envy of “us”? Yes, some of them actually do envy us. Two True Examples.

Example 1) I made a trip home, and I was feeling myself one day…lol (we all have those days) and as I was walking toward and then passed a Caucasian woman who spotted my black beauty — that she had to take a double look (my peripherals saw this, and my eye-rolling reaction was spotted by a gentlemen, who laughed walking toward me) Why the eye roll? I felt like… “What? We can’t be beautiful”? …and you have to make sure that that’s what you really saw?.

Example 2) I was in a store recently…and I was talking to a Caucasian woman that had her daughter with her, and I heard the little girl (age 6-9 years old) say very softly that I was pretty to her; while her mom brushed it over and continued to talk to me, I heard the little girl say it again; however, I unfortunately ignored the little girl and continued to interact with her mother, because I knew it was making the mother uncomfortable to hear.

Soon I may be embarking on a promising potential career opportunity, that will allow me to lend my voice to a movement, which celebrates the beauty of African-American women, and I am ecstatic!!! I hope that I get it, because I want little black girls to feel like I do, I don’t want them to have to grow up, and have to figure out their natural beauty — I want them to know it now!

I’ve always felt like my ‘Black Is Beautiful’ and… it is. I don’t need OWN to tell me that, but what I did love about the program, was there was a CTA (call to action) portion of the film.

When the little girl said “black is not just a color, but it’s an essence of who you are, and who you will become.” I cried of happiness, because I love me, it’s intrinsic… and I’m so incredibly proud to know that she knows this too.

I commend OWN for its efforts of casting yet another light on Colorism, but I think there are still millions of black women who already know that their ‘black is beautiful’.

– Sab [pronounced like ‘cab’, käb with an ‘S’]

Hashtag: #RoundTableDiscussion

Yesterday evening I attended an event at Pisces Sushi Bar & Lounge — the event dubbed #RoundTableDiscussion is a dialogue series where you have some of Charlotte’s sharp, passionate and most stylish people — who come together and dialogue about topics ranging in the realm of relationships, love and dating in Charlotte (Which is an extremely hot topic here) and dating will always be a hot topic. This was a fun time, fun because the ambiance was chic, the people where good looking and stylish, wine was flowing, sushi was rampant (not for me I don’t like seafood) and you never know what you’re going to learn when you come to one of these events. I’ve been in Charlotte for a little over a year (from Milwaukee) and I knew immediately that this was a hot topic — as it is in many metro cities of thriving young single-blacks.

“…some of Charlotte’s sharp, passionate and most stylish people.”

The event was hosted by Shanard Smith @DaBestDressed. Him and his team put a lot of detailed effort into this event — from the hashtag name-tags to addressing each attendee by name — adding that personable touch. The attendee make-up entailed 40 some people — ages ranging from late 20’s to early to mid-30’s. The topic of last night’s event was the “Independent Woman” — this is almost always synonymous with black women (le sigh).

The conversation delved into discussions on the problems that successful women endure when making a substantial salary, ranging from not finding a man on her “level” (I loathe this term), to finding a man that is comparable to her salary grade, but he’s very much promiscuous and not really into her as much OR the man that is into her, worships her entire being, but he’s making substantially less. This topic has been discussed quite often and I can tell you the conversation went everywhere, it got professionally heated — I inserted a few stink faces…lol at some perspectives, but it was a galvanizing conversation for the passionate person — not an event for the meek.

…don’t give me the flowers and candy…get me some red bottoms.”

There comes a point where we have to say, so what’s the plan of action? Because this issue…yes this is an issue — that has been beaten up and I am TIRED of being the butt of the single black woman statistics jokes …well not me me, but you know what I mean. When I woman says “…don’t give me the flowers and candy…get me some red bottoms.” *insert stink face* Yes, this was an actual comment that I could not believe my ears. You don’t wonder why we’re stereotyped anymore, that’s why.

1) ..they are not red bottoms..they are Christian Louboutin’s!!!

2) …she has a right to have standards.

3) ..she’ll be single for a long while in Charlotte with that prerequisite

4) …she’s why I make the conscious decision to exert staying away from the numerous stereotype’s placed on us. ..I love sista’s who can just BE…BE different, and not “trying” to be and you feel that from her. (digressing)

I won’t turn this into a novelette — overall this was a fun professional chic event — filled with beauty, sass, loquacious statements, funny perspectives, stink face perspectives, that’s well worth attending. I am a genuine fan of people — who I perceive to be #goodpeoples success. I also love the exclusivity of the event, because it keeps it fresh, fun and conversational. – Sab