Brea Jones/ Staff Writer
As a black girl, it’s hard growing up and constantly being told about your faults — whether they were truly yours or just a stereotype created by media. For years, African American women have been constantly put down and underrated by society.
In an online survey, students on BBC were asked which group of women they thought were underappreciated in society. Out of 47 votes, nearly 50 percent of people voted for black women as the most underappreciated. Black women simply seem to be at the short end of a systematic disadvantage.
There’s a lot of hostility between black men and black women. Black men constantly talk down on black women by reinforcing the outdated and disrespectful stereotypes.
Even at a young age, black men have a tendency to speak about their distaste in black women, stating that they’d never date a black girl because they are too loud, too controlling or too ghetto. It’s as though black women aren’t able to have any emotion.
These are just some of the common phrases heard by black women; I know I’ve heard it a couple of times.
It’s wrong to pick the flaws of a few individuals and bash the whole community for it because one person doesn’t reflect the whole community.
The workforce is another place where American American women are underappreciated. Growing up, I was constantly told by my mother that I’d have to work harder than other people around me because I was at a double disadvantage: not only am I a woman, but I am a black woman.
It’s common knowledge that women get paid substantially less than men in almost every field. Women are paid 80 cents for every dollar paid to a man. Black women are only paid 63 cents for every dollar paid to men, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.
Even a black woman with a higher degree is paid approximately seven dollars less than a white man with a lower education, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
During March of 2017, there was a trending hashtag #BlackWomenAtWork that told the true stories of what African American women endure to earn a living. While white women may have been surprised by these stories, for black women, it just seemed like an average day.
“Every day we are told that our body language is wrong, that both our silence and our speaking are ‘combative,’ that our mere presence is intimidating, that our looks matter more than our work, that our natural hair is ‘unprofessional,’ that we couldn’t possibly have attained our station by our merits, are looked over and ignored, or endure a worse pay gap than our white women counterparts,” activist Brittany Packnett said during a Mashable interview.
Every word of this statement is true. Whether they choose to admit it or not, every person has observed and judged a black women at least once in their life, from how she styles her hair to the way she articulates her words.
Instead of bashing black women, we need to step up and ensure that black women feel valued in today’s society.
Black men need to stand up for black women and stop bashing us because of stereotypes seen on media outlets. Other women need to speak up for black women because we as women share similar struggles.
And black women need to stay strong during this fight. We have been fighting for equal rights for years, but it seems the fight has progressed to fighting for respect and basic appreciation.
The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.
Photo by Karina McInnis.