Ain’t I A Woman? The Experience Of Black Girl Pain

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Black woman

A common thought has been playing in my mind the past couple of weeks.

The idea of Black girl pain and the negative experiences that black women experience on a daily basis for just being — both Black and female.

Today I had an experience where I was almost intentionally run over by two black men as a fear tactic because I was ignoring their catcall.

Also earlier today:

A Vietnamese man kicked me out of his nail salon after I told him I didn’t like my nails.

A Black millennial couple talked sh*t and laughed amongst each other about “fighting me” while I was waiting for my dumplings at a Thai restaurant.

The Black female bus driver yelled at me for taking two seconds to take my MetroCard out.

Lastly, I had a panic attack and broke down in tears because a Black female counterpart had been consistently picking fights with me in my place of work.

This all happened in one day.

A day where I was already experiencing a lot of anxiety. A day where, the night before I didn’t have a great night. A day where I was feeling sick to my stomach.

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If you have a smart brain you might be saying to yourself, “Well this might be a reflection on you lady, what did you do to cause all this?”

But as a self-aware and honest person, I say to you — nothing really.

All of these occasions happened with mostly strangers, mostly other minorities, mostly for stupid trivial reasons, and mostly in cases where I wasn’t an aggressor.

Was I in a bad mood today? Yeah. Hell yeah. Perhaps that negative energy was being sensed but I didn’t deserve how I was treated.

When a white woman is in a bad mood people feel sympathy, when a Black woman is in a bad mood people feel — anger?

The thought never is, “Awe she’s having a bad day, I hope she feels better" or “I wonder what she’s going through”.

This leads me to the bigger conversation I’ve been having with myself about the lack of empathy in the world for Black girls.

When people think of Black women they already have narratives in their minds about who and how they think we are.

They think small of us.

Before we open our mouths we are already fighting an uphill battle of mental perception.

People think of the way Black women are painted in pop culture.

Ghetto. Loud. Aggressive.

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A good example of this is when I was in Miami.

A group of Hispanic women was arguing with a group of Black women.

As one of the Hispanic women begins throwing physical plates at the Black women she’s screaming loudly to them, “you ghetto bitches, you’re so ghetto.” As if somehow being the person throwing plates is classy and refined?

It bewildered me.

But then, and get this — security began shoving the black women.

But even worse than the negative outside perception is the fact that there's no one really on a Black girl's side —  not even other Black women.

We hate, talk down to, and have problems with each other despite understanding that the whole world is not for us. Not white women, not Black men, not white men…. so on top of the world lacking sympathy and empathy for us, we lack empathy for each other.

Speaking for myself, amongst other black women I’ve experienced the most anger, jealousy, and pure vitriol.

I’ve had more acts of violence perpetrated against me by Black men than any other demographic on people on earth. More threats. More “b*tch this, *bitch that,” more disrespect.

A lot of the time I feel unsafe in my own skin, with my own kin. This is quite strange to me because I’m a Haitian immigrant who grew up in a black country.

It’s been an emotional day and more than anything I’m tired.

I’m tired of having these kinds of experiences.

I’m tired of being treated like sh*t.

I’m tired of assholes.

I’m tired of being anxious.

But most importantly, I’m tired of the fact that Black women are so unprotected, unloved, and unsafe.

I’m not sure what will fix this problem, I am just here to capture the emotion.

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Benedith Laure is a Haitian American Writer from New York City. Her writing focuses on poetry, cultural commentating, life observations, and business. For more of her work, follow her on Medium

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.