There’s no tell-all manual or guidebook for how to be black woman and flourish in a society quite like the one we live in today. As a result, many of us are stumbling clumsily along the way, having to unlearn and decolonize our minds as we wake up to the numerous toxic systems of thoughts that have been generationally passed down through the black community (such as elevating and idolizing loosely textured hair and light skin). To help speed along this process, I’ve compiled a list of tips that will not only help you better navigate this racist, colorist and misogynistic world, but will also equip you with everything you need to thrive.
1. Operate With Your Safety In Mind First, Not Your Ideologies
It would be nice if black women could be as carefree, whimsical and politically bold as we wanted, but we also have to be aware that doing such is likely to make us the targets of hate groups or ignorant individuals. The truth is, actions like protesting, speaking out about boldly about controversial political issues may put you at risk of violence. Statistically, black women suffer higher rates of physical and sexual violence and higher rates of psychological abuse. According to a 2015 Violence Policy Center study, we are “two and a half times more likely to be murdered by men” than white women, and are often the victims of homicide. The chilling facts reveal that more than nine in ten Black female victims knew their killer. Even young black girls are not immune, as they are expelled and suspended at higher rates than other races of girls.
While this certainly doesn’t mean we need to live our lives in fear or cowering to other people—it does mean that we need to be conscious of the way society’s perception of us affects our safety. Take extra precautions to ensure that you’re spending time with people who value you and that you’re sharing your life and opinions in an embracive environment.