are not to be blamed for their “selfishness” or their seemingly lack of openness to being escorted around town or for their weariness and borderline hostility towards those men who seek their attention.
single, independent, highly educated black women spend most of their lives fighting. though many do not admit it, theirs is a daily struggle for respect, opportunity, respect and more opportunity. being a minority is tough enough. being a woman comes with its own frailties esp in this post feminist era. then add to that the inherent toughness needed to slough through years of academia and you’ve got her. at first glance – skittish, distrustful at times, unwilling to allow anyone into her heart or to take care of her.
start w/ the the inequalities arising from being a minority. yes we all know it’s a new century but people are not. they still hold grudges, hate, belittle, maim and neglect others not like them. one of the worst case scenarios is the case of benign neglect. when i was in medical school, during my anesthesiology rotation; i was paired with some men. even though i was there right along with them, the attendings would never take me along, they would never talk to me, they would just leave me be. i would spend some time wandering the back of the or, trying to figure out what i was supposed to do. i was the only black woman there. for days i wondered what was going on until i met up w/ a black male anesthesiologist who talked with me at length about what was really going on in the dept; in particular the concept of benign neglect – that the white male anesthesiologists weren’t actively trying to limit my education experience by conveniently leaving me out and making themselves scarce but that by not pulling me into their circles as they did w/ my white male counterparts they were doing me an even greater injustice.
curiously enough after one particular white male attending saw me talking at length w/ this gentleman, i noticed that he began to include me in his rounds–seeking me out when in the past i had no hope of catching his shadow, let alone the man himself. i can’t deny that i’ve always thought there was an association between my “schooling” and his late attempts to make me a part of the team
what about all the patients who refuse to acknowledge that i’m a doctor? even after i’ve slowly and painfully introduced myself as DR So and So they still call me nurse, social worker anything but the MD that i am.
then there’s the double whammy of the media. black women are hypersexual, demanding, loud, talkative, hard-edged bitches. there is no general allowance for our vulnerabilities, deep feelings, sensitivity or our gentleness. when that’s all that the people at large see continuously some of it seeps into their psyche. which makes sense b/c the ideas were created by a racist society afraid of its moral depravity and they passed it down to their descendents. it’s circular really. the ideas started with them, propagated in the media and then fed to the masses. even Oprah Winfrey for all her “fabulousness” is always a BLACK woman. ask yourself; why is the default white?
lastly is the idea of higher education. no person who has ever attempted to get a PhD, JD or MD will tell you they breezed through their education. every last one of them has horror stories about evil harpy advisors, jealous lab-mates, vindictive colleagues, failed exams and feelings of worthlessness, helplessness and hopelessness. to survive is to persevere. to persevere is to believe strongly in the dream that once captured your senses and work on sharpening your sensibilities concerning that dream. again, you must be driven to get through these often spiritually damning years. you’ve got to have that thing pulling at you to keep keeping on…
it’s not difficult to understand her once you understand the cultural climate that she must have lived through to appear to be this fantastic, well-dressed, well-paid, highly intelligent woman. the same single mindedness of vision that has pulled men to greatness is the same one that pulls women to greatness. there is no difference in the pull. the only difference is in the perception of the pull. woman are still perceived to be incapable of doing anything other than birthing and cooking. we all know this is not true. we all know that even from ancient Biblical times there were women in government (Esther, Deborah) and throughout the centuries other women have arisen w/ the destiny of glory reflected in their eyes.
in order to do well you’ve got to be driven. women are driven as are men. capiche? capiche.
so the next time you very cute, intelligent, ambitious, very eligible Italian, Puerto-Rican, Kenyan, Egyptian, French, Spanish, Romanian, Russion, Indian, Ecuadorean man sees a black woman whom you fancy – don’t be afraid to ask her out. and when you do, take your time with her, remembering all that she’s had to go through to get this far. be patient. you never know what manner of pearl is hidden within…