Updated: Dec 20, 2020
I’ve been on this journey of awareness and identity for myself and especially my identity as a black woman. What I’ve become more sensitive to are the nuances that while they may seem small, have significant impact. For example, the unique intersection of my identity as a woman and a black person in this world. Understanding how being black and being a woman are so critical for how I show up.
This is where my exploration of helping black women and women of color heal their internalized oppression was birthed. I recognized the unique fabric these identities weave, squeezing us into spaces and places where we don’t fit, zapping our strength and energy, and ultimately losing who we are.
My friend Tai Davis recently sent me an article about the killing of Joyce Queweay by her boyfriend and his best friend in 2016. This occurred in the home where Joyce lived with her boyfriend, and within the presence of their children. Joyce was beaten to death because Aaron Wright, her boyfriend, said she would not submit.
This really impacted me, as all these stories do. Inside of a white male supremacist culture, then black women find themselves in a double bind. There is no experience of black women inside of the insidiousness of racism and white supremacy where we were seen as anything other than property; working long unbearable hours, enduring emotional and physical torture. We have continued to bear the weight of the "strong black woman" archetype inside of a cultural norm of patriarchy that says women are weak, fragile, unequal, and need to be taken care of.
So we find ourselves at an intersection where we are uniquely positioned to again find ourselves invisible.
"You're black, you're poor, you're ugly, and you're a woman." (The Color Purple, Alice Walker)
Above is a quote from the movie "The Color Purple," said by the character Mister in reaction to Celie becoming empowered to leave him. Enter again, Joyce Queweay, young black woman, beaten to death by two black men because she would not submit to a patriarchal and racist norm that kept black women in a place to shoulder the physical and emotional labor of not only our community...all communities. We took on our families pain and trauma and were forced to suffer from the hand of racism and the internalized oppression it creates, and hold the pain and trauma of our oppressors.
These nuances are so critical in SEEING black women right?
So where is our hope? Our hope is in “decolonizing” our minds and in intentionally naming and making visible the experience of black women. It is in seeing, naming, and witnessing our worth and value...to see ourselves and our entire beings as holy and sacred in this world.
Let's explore and reframe the weight of the "strong black woman" archetype to be a container where we find our strength in our own wholeness, our own stillness, our deepest care for ourselves, and from that deep place we catalyze our own becoming.
Let's face the discomfort of change and courageous conversation and take a stand for our own well being.
Our white allies can face the discomfort of naming and dealing with your own internalized white supremacy and amplify the voices of black women in your spheres of influence.
Racism will kill us...discomfort will not!
I want to amplify this group, Girltrek.org that is getting black women out to walk in their communities and change their communities and take care of themselves first. The fabric of black women's strength and power is so beautifully woven here. I just finished their Black History Bootcamp and walked more and learned more each and everyday. I love this!!!!
Adria Kitchens is a Certified Feminine Power Transformational Coach, Facilitator and Leader and mother of three amazing adult children living their passions in the world. She has been personally mentored by Dr. Claire Zammit, creator of Feminine Power and founder of Evolving Wisdom, for over a decade. She has a MBA, MAFM from Keller Graduate School of Management, a BA from Johns Hopkins University and is a native of and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.