ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: black women

Jezebels, Mammies, and the Dehumanization of Black Women

Popular culture informs much of our understanding of the world and the people around us. For better or for worse, we rely on stereotypes—created from both personal experience and depictions in media—to interact with society. This power can often be used for good by introducing majoritarian individuals to the experiences and existence of marginalized people. Too often, however, popular culture’s influence only serves to perpetuate racist, bigoted stereotypes about marginalized people. This is especially true in how Black women are depicted in the media. From movies to tv shows, music videos to theatre, depictions of Black women tend to fall into one of two categories. The first, the hypersexualized jezebel, can be seen in portrayals of the sexually active, sassy Black woman often used as a foil to a more… Read more »

Save Yourselves And Leave Black Women Alone

“Strong,” independent,” “resilient.” There was a time in my life where I saw these characteristics as noble and empowering. An affirmation that was important for young girls to hear multiple times throughout their life. However, I quickly realized that these characterizations had their own separate meaning when referring to Black women and girls. Lately, especially on Twitter, I’ve been coming across multiple posts reinforcing the same tired message that Black women will save the United States; that we will right the oppressive past of this country and create an equitable future for all. In light of this, I want to reiterate what has been said by Black women before me and will be said by Black women after me—we are not your mules. We will not “save” this country, we… Read more »

Stuck: Black Women And The Country That Hates Them

In December, I wrote a 12-page paper for a feminist theory class that analyzed the historically violent and parasitic relationship between black women (and those who identify as women or are perceived as women) and the United States. As I wrote the paper, I asked myself how all the black women before me were able to get through their lives knowing that they would continuously be disrespected and dehumanized by their own country. With each sentence I typed, I felt pain and stress thinking about how America has sucked the humanity from black women and still expects more. By the end I was physically and mentally exhausted. I am still exhausted. In the past week, I’ve read countless reports of black girls going missing in D.C. and their disappearances going… Read more »

Reproduction of Race Science: How My Health Care Education is Teaching Racial Bias

“You have to push harder when you give black women epidurals, you know, because black people have tougher muscles.” This is how an acquaintance of mine in nurse-anesthetist school described his recent clinical experience administering epidurals. Where did this person learn this? Was his assumption racial bias he brought to nursing, or was the racial bias taught as a part of his health care education? How are such flagrantly racist biases circulated as “scientific truths” in the medical community so that practitioners are emboldened to state them as fact? Easily, if my first semester in nursing school has taught me anything. Racism and race science is a part of our curriculum. For example, one instructor taught my class that “black women have a higher breast cancer mortality rate. We’re not… Read more »