I can either be the bitchy black woman
or the meek house girl.
For women of my complexion there is no middle safe ground.
I’ve studied the moves, the tone, the ideation of a non-threatening, yet self assured white woman and imitated it perfectly.
It doesn’t work.
It doesn’t work because I’m not the issue, my response isn’t the issue, my womanhood isn’t the issue.
The color of my skin is the issue, the kink in my hair is the issue.
Any man is entitled to me, based on the darkness of outer shell covering.
Imagine living in that.
Imagine living in a shell that gives people power over you. That entitles them to treat you in ways that confound even the most resilient human spirit.
We are at a bar.
A man approaches my white girlfriend. She is wary and uninterested, the conversation is tense and unwanted but ends abruptly and safely. We come out unscathed.
She is my shield.
Her whiteness saves me.
I’m at happy hour alone, lamenting a hard days work.
The first thing I feel is a hand on my ass, I feel a hot breath on my neck.
Telling me how sexy and appealing I am, commentary on my body, and assertions of what is to come.
I shift in my seat and the hand moves to my arm and hardens to a grip.
Or walking along the side of the road with my dog,
and a man stops his car near me, gets out and walks up behind me.
Asking my name, imploring me to stop moving, to come with him, to jump in his car and be with him. Objectionable characterizations of me are inserted ad hominem.
I have to run.
Every woman experiences these horrors on the reg.
But as a Black Woman I cannot win in any arena.
I cannot defend myself without becoming the very thing that invites such vitriol and I cannot hide or whimper and victimize myself.
I cannot seek help from my lighter sisters, because they don’t understand the effect of my dark skin on male behavior.
They don’t see it, they don’t feel it
and in turn