Won’t let my freedom rot In Hell.
Imma keep running ‘cuz a winner don’t quit on herself.
Before we begin asking questions about who we are, we are told who we must be. Confined to simplistic binaries, we the Black women of the world are told that we can only be what whiteness is not, we can only be what masculinity is not. At the end of this short piece, I want every Black woman to understand herself not in relation to men or to whites, but in relation only to self existence. Womanhood is not the opposite of manhood. It is not a means to balance the world. Blackness is not the opposite of whiteness, it is not all that whites fail to be.
On the contrary Black womanhood does not necessitate a definition that relies on our oppressors for existence or for relevance. Nah. We, the Black women of the world, we just are.
Brainwashing Us Into Binary Definitions: A Complete Mind Fuck
You’ve heard it a million times. The Yinyang theory of gender. One that tells us that women are the opposite of men. If men are leaders, women are to fall in line as followers; that men are dominant, and thus women must be subjugated as we are submissive. They say that this is the “natural” way of the world. Rather than allowing us the full range of living expression, women are pushed and confined into arbitrary boxes of definition that construct women as only what men cannot be.
You’ve heard it a million times before, the Yinyang theory of race. One that tells us that Blackness is the opposite of whiteness. If whites are pure, Blacks are tainted, while whites are innocent, Blacks are perverted, if whites are gentle, Blacks are aggressive brutes. Stripped of the full range of living expression, Black people are pushed and confined into arbitrary boxes of definition that construct Blackness as only what whiteness is not.
If whites are beautiful, we are ugly.
If men are rational, we are emotional.
Before we begin to discover who we want to be, we are told that we must choose from the leftovers of white supremacist and patriarchal intersections of doom. That we can only be what men have not claimed, and what whiteness does not hold.
If whites are good at business, we the Black women of the world are not.
If men are free to fuck, we the Black women of the world are not.
To ensure domination, we are constructed in identity only in opposition to the power of manhood and the power of whiteness. We are allowed to only be, what they are not.
Bamboozled into these binaries, we are not allowed to be free. We are limited from the beginning. Psychological chains bound us to justify our subjugation and ensure our passivity. Low self-esteem haunts us, we seek approval from the bodies of our oppressors to feel whole.
“Lemonade” As Resolution
Seeing Beyonce center Black womanhood unapologetically is why I write this piece. Because it stirred within my soul a resolution to my existential angst, a resolution to my attempts to define myself outside of those who define me.
This piece does not claim that we are rational like men. This piece does not claim that we are beautiful like whites. This piece, like Beyonce’s Lemonade, teaches us that we just are. That we need not be in relation to whiteness to be, that we need not be in relation to masculinity to be.
We are neither opposite nor similar, differing nor the same. We just are. We are our own. We have available to us, all of the options that the universe offers us.
We are rational, we are scared, we are emotional, we are feared, we are beautiful, we are angry, we are ugly, we are sacred, we are resilient, we are powerful, we are burnt, we are soothed, we are happy, we are devastated, we are confined,
and we can be free.
Black womanhood, we just fuckin’ are.