To the passive black women with revolutionary souls, just know that you are not alone. It is a fine line between being a sellout and existing in spaces where you are subject to racism, disrespect, and complete ignorance. I am there, too. I am there, tip toeing down that fine line hoping I don’t sway too much in either direction.
When a white woman, looking you square in the face, tells you that her hair is worst than African hair (of course while your afro is out and wild), do you let your revolutionary flag wave high? When your usually overly aggressive and loud white female boss pulls you into her office to talk and you respond in her exact same tone and volume and she suddenly feels attacked and like you are being aggressive, do you show her what loud and aggressive really is like? When a white man comes up to you and refers to you as chocolate, do you slap him and remind him that you are a woman, not an edible object? Or do you grin, showing your back teeth, and accept his mere recognition of you as a compliment enough? When you find yourself being the token among your white counterparts, do you turn down your rap music, enunciate your words, and remind everyone that you too have a college degree? When they say that you are so articulate, with a mixture of astonishment and wonder in their voice, do you take it as a compliment and write about it later, not addressing the issue with referring to you as articulate? When a white woman, chatting with you about motherhood, suddenly asks you if you are a single mother as if she already knew the answer, do you lie just to avoid proving her right and stuffing you back into the stereotypical box?
I know, passive black women with revolutionary souls, there has to be a line drawn. There has to be a point where we don’t allow people to disrespect us, stereotype us, and spew their racist hate all over us. I know that, in the moment, there is this silent moment that runs across our minds where we have to decide how we are going to react. Will I correct this person that tried to touch my afro? Or will I ignore her mishap and laugh it off awkwardly and internalize my anger? In that moment, sometimes we have to choose to speak up, demand respect, and let people know that, while we are approachable, cheerful, and pleasant; we are not to be disrespected.