(Becoming Part 1)

I am Black.

I am a Woman.

I am a Black Woman!

By: Chelsea Davis-Bibb, M.Ed.

I have been reading the book Becoming by former first lady Michelle Obama. Almost halfway through, the book has been compelling, interesting, informative, reflective, and just pure excellence. Michelle Obama is thorough, honest, and amazing in the story she has to tell. It is her story, through her own voice.

When we were first introduced to the Obamas, I immediately fell in love with their family and the woman that Michelle Obama has always been. No matter what, she has always remained classy, and true to who she is as a person. She is a great role model for young girls and women. As a young African American woman myself, I truly admire everything about her.

As I read her book, there are several things that have resonated with me. In this editorial and a few to follow, I will be exposing some of the things she mentions and how I believe it relates to our society. In the preface of her book, Michelle Obama mentions how she has been viewed since she stepped into public life. She states, I’ve been held up as the most powerful woman in the world and taken down as an ‘angry black woman.’ I’ve wanted to ask my detractors which part of that phrase matters to them the most-is it ‘angry’ or ‘black” or ‘woman.” This stuck with me because it made me think of how Black women are viewed in today’s society. Are we all viewed in this same way? It has been said that one person can ruin it for many. Is this the same for this case? How do you view Black women? Do you view us a strong? Resilient? Or perhaps beautiful to name a few? Or are we just viewed as angry Black women?

Black women have had their own challenges to deal with just like Black men. Black women have had to compete for equality such as race and gender, and Black women are still breaking barriers and becoming the “first African American woman” to do things. We are faced with the duty of being the rock of the family, and having to stay strong against a racist society, and even keep our spouses encouraged when they are (Black males) the most discriminated against in the world. We are also constantly held against certain stereotypes. One being that the Black woman at times is both the mother and father due to the fact that people think that Black fathers are all dead beat dads. Further, we are viewed as being not good enough due to our skin color and even our hair because it may be the furthest thing from straight.

In addition, in some instances we are viewed negatively because of some of the stereotypes of Black women from our own Black culture. Men and women rappers have viewed the Black woman as beautiful if she has “curves,” which include a small waist, big butt, and weave down her back.

Not to mention the clothes we are supposed to wear, which is little to none. We are viewed as sex objects. People who are sexualized. It doesn’t help that Black women take part in