North Texas Daily

Black relationship dynamics demand emotional labor from women

Black relationship dynamics demand emotional labor from women

Black relationship dynamics demand emotional labor from women
September 18
10:00 2018

While to the naked eye black love is endearing and seeks to rebuild strength to a crippled community, it tends to isolate one over the other – black women.

Oftentimes in the case of black women, “black love” means always being a safety net or a helping hand to black men through the good times, the bad times and the neglect. We are taught to be strong and to never show signs of burden or weakness, not for ourselves, but for the benefits of our families and our partners.

We are taught to shoot for the stars but are yanked back by our ankles if we dare to leave Earth’s atmosphere. We are taught to strive in our roles as the backbone, the therapist and the cheerleader, but are reprimanded when we ask for the same support in return or when we try to be that for ourselves before anyone else. And because our love is rooted in the notion that its strength is measured by our sacrifices, we tend to view focusing on our own wellbeing as selfishness.

Black women are often taught to carry the weight of the world upon our shoulders. We are taught to conceal ourselves in hopes of being accepted into a society that was not created to accept us. Our mannerisms and our features are often belittled but praised when non-black people copy them. Though we are taught the only way to find true acceptance and love is within our black community, it is often the source of our self-depreciation.

In Childish Gambino’s most recent music video “Feels Like Summer,” the image of Michelle Obama coddling Kanye West may have meant to display the undying compassion and loyalty that black women have for black men. But the image managed to undermine itself by also conveying that it is the duty of a black woman to be the backbone for all black men, no matter the lack of loyalty they receive in return. From being referred to as an “ape in heels” to receiving national outrage for her nutritional advocacy, Michelle has never been coddled. So why should Kanye?

Black people are not the only ones who value coupling with our own, but there is often an extreme double standard when we do. In the past when a black man dated outside of his race, he was often “dabbed up” for flying outside of his bounds. But when a black woman did it, she was often seen as a traitor who was drowning in self-hate. Because in the past — and still to an extent in the present — black women are seen as less than other women, so when black men date outside of them it is seen as a step up.

Although interracial dating and its double standards are not as extreme in the black community as it once was, there are still those who feel this way.

I don’t think black love is the boogeyman that seeks to prey on and chain black women in the night. When done right, black love is what cultivates us and gives us power when we feel like we have none. But too often people choose to use black love in vain and take advantage of black women, breeding double standards and ill will stereotypes. In a society that rarely accepts us for who we are, black people must be each other’s backbones.

Featured Illustration: Chelsea Tolin

About Author

Kaitlyn Ingram

Kaitlyn Ingram

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7 Comments

  1. Ice Qween
    Ice Qween September 19, 08:47

    Yes, Lady Ingram, it’s about time someone opened the doors of our (Black women) secret closet and turn on the lights. Thanks for a wonderful article ?

    Reply to this comment
  2. Elese
    Elese September 19, 20:43

    This article is such a great read and holds all truths. As a fellow black woman I’ve myself had to coddle a felw black men but at the end I was left coddle-less. We have, we are, and we will always be the dynasty of all. Black women really do rock! Continue being fearlessly great!!!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Car
    Car September 20, 08:06

    Your article is a hidden truth. We black women coddle our men and make excuses for their indiscretions. All the while ostracizing black women who do the same indiscretions. Wrong is wrong no matter what gender does the wrong. Please continue with your thought provoking articles. Loved it!!!

    Reply to this comment
  4. Di
    Di September 21, 08:19

    Very good reality check. Keep shining the light.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Tsucutie
    Tsucutie September 22, 11:15

    Loved all of this!!!

    Reply to this comment
  6. AD
    AD September 24, 06:36

    Thanks for empowering black women to take care of themselves.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Sonya
    Sonya September 25, 19:52

    Bravo, young lady! Well written! I pray that this article reaches every woman who is struggling with relationship issues. Not just outward relationships but her relationship with herself.

    Reply to this comment

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