black women: let’s vote, but we must also be there for each other
November 8, 2016
Several years ago, as I stood in the doorway of my assigned polling place, ready to make a stand and cast the very first presidential vote of my life, I found myself unexpectedly stunned and awed by what I saw before me:
There were four voting booths; three were occupied, leaving the second from the left empty, and vacant for me. The voters in question were hunched over slightly as they scribbled and marked their choices as to whose hands to leave this country of ours in the most historical Presidential Election of this country’s history: Barack Obama or John McCain.
And every, single voter was a young, Black Woman.
Countless times, the importance of having my voice heard as a Black Woman in this world that perpetually (and futily) attempts to silence us, had been taught to me by my Black family, mentors, and so forth.
I wasn’t without opposition; far too many say, “What’s the point of voting? It doesn’t matter, anyway.” or, “Things will never change no matter who you put in office,” and even, “My vote as a (Black Person) doesn’t matter at all; it’s a joke.”
By Jacqueline-Elizabeth*, AFROPUNK contributor
Of course, I myself had (and have) reservations about voting; however, that didn’t stop me from registering to vote the day I turned eighteen, nor did it make me judge unfairly other Black People who refused to vote. Our ancestors died for our rights to choose and not to choose, because that’s what freedom is.
I was driven by the motivation to drive out those negative thoughts and insecurities of believing my voice–particularly in the case of being a Black Woman– wouldn’t reach the ears it needed to hear. Black Women are (and have been) shamed into silence for far too long.
We as Black Women have had our dignity, humility, and essence stripped of us time, and time, and time again.
We are degraded by this country’s (and world’s) perception of Black Women who are viewed as “angry Black bitches”, “welfare queens”, “ignorant”, and “bitter”.
And yet, we aren’t even allowed to possess the inalienable right to be righteously furious, hurt, soultorn, and ill of heart from being told we don’t matter, nor are we “allowed” to express our pain and suffering without it leading to complete invalidation of trivialization of our struggles because we are Black Women.
We fight, scream, and cry for the same rights white people continue to possess freely simply by being born white; whereas every Black Daughter born, however, is born with (and ultimately inherits) a Death Sentence, and all that comes with it.
We weep and shout to make a stand as the weight of our chains continue to bog us down with sorrow and fear for an uncertain tomorrow. We fight our battles alone because we are forced to fight alone.
And still, people have the audacity to ask why we’re just so damn tired all of the time.
That’s why, as I stood in the doorway of the polling place on that on that brisk Autumn morning, wondering with my heart heavy with emotion and fear, if my solitary voice would even matter. I was to the point of leaving.
And then, a realization was born within me, clear and impassioned as the sky at daybreak:
We as Black Women can only free ourselves from the chains that coil tightly around our voices, and yolk our very souls, by helping to free one another first.
Who can tell us what we can and can’t do? No one. We needn’t ever ask permission; and we certainly must not be “allowed” to achieve greatness. “Allowing” implies the given permission of a power over us.
No, thank you. We will fight, earn and own our own Greatness. Black Women don’t need anyone’s permission or consent to be the indomitable Queens we have always been.
Every day, more and more Black Women stand in solidarity instead of chomping at the bit to confront the imaginary rival we see in the eyes of every other Black Woman we pass by daily.
No longer should we be spiteful towards one another; no longer need we be bitter towards one another.
There are far greater battles in the world to conquer, and we cannot accomplish this by ripping each other to shreds over asinine issues amongst Black Women that only serve to distract and divide us (here’s looking at you “Team Light” versus “Team Dark” people. Black is Black; we are no better than the empty-headed racists that seek to destroy us every second of the day if we are targeting, belittling, fighting, and destroying one another over skin complexion and tones we literally have no control over from the moment of our Great-Great-Great (eighty years later) Great-Great Grandmother’s conception).
We’ve tried (and have been) fighting one another, and from what I can gage, it’s obviously worked out swimmingly thus far.
Now. Imagine what we could become when we stop being enemies and start becoming our own allies. We need to be #ProudNotPetty, towards one another.
We as Black Women need to own and honor the true birthright of what it means to be called “Sista(s)”.
We may not all get along at times. We may come from different backgrounds and have radically opposing views regarding certain topics. We may not even like each other.
However, when the first and last tear of trial, tribulation, and triumph begins to cascade down from our world-weary eyes, we must support and fight for each other like true sisters are supposed to.
We must share in those tears; we must share in the triumphs, and we must trust in our own Black and Beauti-filled selves to help one another usher in a new era of solidarity amongst Black Women everywhere.
It’s in our joined hands; our lifted voices, and our shared song. Ours.
As I approached my polling station, flanked on either side by Black Women, the woman on my left still filling out her ballot turned to look at me.
Instead of glaring at me, or my getting offended at her looking at me, she smiled for the very same reason I smiled back.Words needn’t be said, for our smiles conveyed a simple, unspoken message:
“I’ve got you, girl. I’ve got you.”
*Chicago-born and raised Androgynous AltModel and Pokemon Master, Jacqueline-Elizabeth (AKA Kurosune Suicide / JaxJax Attaxx of the SuicideGirls, and Cosplay Deviants) developed a lifelong love of reading and writing at ages two and three, scored her first big writing gig as Nerdy But Flirty’s first, Black writer, and was later recruited by the Jace Hall Show (now TwinGalaxiesLive!) as also not only their first Black writer, but their first female one as well.
Her interests include watching anime, cosplaying, modeling, reading manga, gaming, 420 shenanigans, surfing, increasing her number of tattoos, rainy days in bed journaling, and writing about anime, manga, and hentai for Jamie Broadnax’s site, BlackGirlNerds.com
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