I attended a forum on interracial dating at my college for a school wide race awareness week. Shockingly this discussion on interracial dating took a turn when a question was asked to the panelist. An audience member asked a Caucasian woman dating a black man about the response she received from black women. The woman answered the question and within a blink of the eye (it was longer than that), the words black, women, and intimidating hit my sound system. Fortunately, there were many black women in the room but surprisingly no one addressed the claim.
Who seemed intimidated to you?
I along with the other entire black woman sat in the audience silent. My silence was different. I felt that the forum was on interracial dating and my response would have totally changed the discussion. I believe other black women’s silence was for their own reasons as well.
After the meeting I discussed what happened with a few sisters. Some of them were tired of always having to defend themselves. Others didn’t want to come off as combative so they let it go. While some were confused how they could even appear intimidating. Some didn’t know why this was a problem, should we apologize for our confidence?
Often times I have heard from various people on campus that myself and other black women were intimidating but there reasons for why seemed unsatisfactory. “You don’t smile”, they say. I am walking to class, maybe I have a test, and maybe I am focused about my work. Of course we smile; I don’t think anyone has to walk around cheesing everywhere they go.
After hearing other reasons similar to this, I realized why so many people are often intimidated. They cannot handle the woman of color’s presence, especially in an academic setting. When I and my other black female classmates walk on campus are strength is felt. We are serious, professional and confident.
Why is this problem? Are we not nearly reflecting what any healthy young woman should be?
There are black women all over the world. Every one of them has a story and challenge that they have had to bear in their perspective cultures and societies.
Black woman in America are the daughters of slaves and their strength has been established since the beginning of time. So the pain, sweat, tears, and drive run through are veins.
So I ask you again, should we apologize for this?