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4 Social Stigmas that are False about Black Women

Social Stigmas Associated with Black Women

The social stigmas that exist about Black women are completely non-sensical. I mean maybe that’s needless to say since most stigmas are wrong in some way. The over-generalization we do as people should really be illegal. But then so many of us would be in jail!

Unfortunately, there are tons of false information circulating as fact about Black women that won’t ever be retracted. As a Black woman myself, I find the gall of some media outlets and the stories they write unnerving and outrageous. Remember when Psychology Today published a blog post by Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa titled “Why Are African-American Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?”

 Firstly, it seems the gatekeepers let that one get through the gate. (And I used to love turning to Psychology Today about dating advice, too!). Secondly, Dr. Kanazawa definitely tried it when he has obviously adjusted his last name from Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa is a celebration honoring African heritage in African-American culture. (I’m sorry! I had to do it).

With all the inaccurate articles out there about Black women being read, shared, bookmarked, analyzed, criticized, texted, and agreed upon by bigots, I’ve decided to push one out there that can clarify some of the stigmas you are consuming!

1. Black women are resilient

Many Black women take comfort in their resilience. Generally, we feel great about overcoming the many barriers we have encountered. We’ve survived chattel slavery. We single-headedly sustain our homes while Black men are imprisoned and murdered. Indeed, these achievements are praiseworthy. Plus, we’re the most educated group of women, and we’re founding the most businesses than any other group in America.

However, I want to pose a realistic question. Are we truly resilient if we are suffering internal and external health consequences from enduring these circumstances? Furthermore, if the circumstances we are withstanding, such as traumas like rape and abuse, are rarely taken into account, are we truly resilient?

Resilience is “the ability to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.” That means in order for us to be resilient, we must recover from situations quickly. And the research has found that we aren’t actually recovering from the harmful conditions we’ve experienced. Dr. Joy DeGruy’s book, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing, calls attention to the theory that Black people haven’t arisen unscathed by the repeating trauma we continue to brave today since our enslavement. I’d say at best, we are managing to trudge through the systemic oppression we continue to face…somewhat.

2. Black women are less desirable for dating and marriage

Couple on a date
Couple on a date

In 2014, most men rated Black women as least attractive compared to women of other backgrounds on the OK Cupid dating app. According to Rudder, company stats showed 82 percent of non-Black men had some bias involving Black women. Researchers from the University of Texas found that less than two-thirds of black women are married by age 40. Meanwhile, nine in 10 white and Asian women and eight in 10 Hispanic women are married by that age.

A 2009 study found in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization showed that the likelihood of marriage for Black women decreased as skin shade darkened. The study revealed that by age 29, 55 percent of light-skinned Black women were married, while only 23 percent of darker-skinned Black women were married. These studies indicate the extent of biases that exist regarding the desirability of Black women within America.

It’s been know for quite some time that intermarriage is on the rise within the United States. Regarding Black folks, Black men are more likely than Black women to marry people that aren’t Black. A 2015 Pew Research Center study found twice as many recently married black men were intermarried than that of newly married black women. However, this doesn’t mean that Black men and Black women are not getting married.

Howard University professor and research analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Ivory A. Toldson, Ph.D. and Bryant Marks, a psychology professor at Morehouse College and faculty associate at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research have dedicated research that debunks the myth that Black men don’t like Black women. Notably, they have found that 88 percent of Black men have Black wives. Other groups of men don’t tend to go for Black women.

3. Black women have bad attitudes

Megan Thee Stallion isn’t the physical incarnation of Black women, okay? As an artist her work involves conceiving a character she can embody for her own personal reasons. While she may flaunt a female pimp alter-ego in her professional career as an artist, that is simply a persona. I use her as an example here to exemplify how the perception of Black women gets misconstrued via the media and through pop-culture. Let’s face it. Hip-hop perpetuates violence and aggression. It’s also what’s fueling those tik-tok trends your teen is so excited to mimic every single day.

One thing is for certain: a bad attitude isn’t something anyone likes being on the receiving end of. So, why then, do we so readily go on to label Black women as having bad attitudes? Characteristics such as spunk and confidence don’t logically equate to one having a bad attitude. People seem to only abhor the strong-willed and those who command respect when they threaten the patriarchy. But aren’t these all prized characteristics in the workforce, entrepreneurship, relationships, and in life in general? Perhaps, when men possess them, sure. These are healthy traits overall (but then again, all traits can have cons when used in counterproductive ways).

Sidebar: Megan Thee Stallion has a college education. The belief that hip-hop artists are uneducated is just another false ideal hidden amongst so many other stigmas out there.

4. Black women aren’t good enough

Time and time again, Black women are compared to our female counterparts of different backgrounds in terms of appearance, behavior, and educational level. The factors above compound to often mislead people into believing stigmas about us. Our value is then perceived as less than other groups of women. Trivial beauty standards, the exclusion of healthy images of Black women in the media, colorism on a global scale, and the inherit bias many Americans have that has transgressed beyond borders contribute to how Black women are perceived. However, loads of stats exist that expose just how valuable Black women are. The fact is people who are racist or biased toward Black women can’t ever find an inkling of one reason as to why they are worth anything. And that my friends, requires no statistics to prove.

The moral of all this: stigmas really get us nowhere.

So, as my fellow sistas would say, “get your facts straight” before you try to speak about us. And please remember that stigmas are usually unfair and unwarranted. Obviously, we are intelligent enough to interpret them. And for the dudes out there that don’t want to date us…that’s really a bad look because once you get you one of us, you’ll find the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice. Oh! That’s a saying within the Black community.

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