I am no longer flattered when people ask me to do things because I am “so good at it…” I will not be punished for a job well done. I will not be overworked and underpaid. I will not do free labor (there must be some kind of reciprocal exchange, which does not necessarily mean money but means I don’t prostitute my gifts). —rboylorn
I read this Crunk Feminist article How to Not Die: Some Survival Tips for Black Women Who Are Asked to Do Too Much and thought this . . .
(Unedited) Close to the end of last year I sent an email stating, “I am not a robot. I am not a workhorse. I am asking for consideration…” There was an attempt to reprimand me for advocating for myself. I did not and would not accept or internalize this attempted reprimand.
I share this not as a bad ass, I share this because so many sistas I know (and don’t know) suffer in silence. We need to make ends meet, I get it, but we are crapped on and it is a very GENDERED THING.
In acknowledging gender I also realize something. Brothas just gotta stay alive, not get dead. I do not say this lightly, nor is it meant to reduce anyone’s mattering or make light of state sanctioned or any other violence. But real talk, the expectations for Black men are far fewer than for us, Black womyn.
We are expected to be all things, to all people, and we get no cookie, reward or anything else, but hypertension and dis-ease. No, we are not victims, but brothas get worshiped for the shit we, as sistas, are expected to do automatically. For example, a Black man being in their child’s life. Duh, that should be an expectation, not a shock or a parade to be had when it happens. I digress. I do gendered work. I have a front seat to gendered programming. Whereas sistahs are expected to nurture, fix and go above and beyond. And it’s considered noble and cute if brothas nurture and/or fix ish.
I am a mental health counselor. A therapist. A(n) art therapist. A youth worker. A womon. A Black womon. A wellness ambassador. A thought leader. A creative. A healer. A space holder. A witness bearer. A(n) innovator. A humon.
Mammy is the most well known racial caricature of African American women. She was created during the era of American slavery as manufactured evidence that black slave women were content and even happy to be slaves, and thus, that slavery was a humane institution.
Talking to a sista-friend the other day about “being mammyfied.” Womon of color in helping/caring professions are often mammyfied. (Shout out to NikNak for hipping me to the term “caring professional.”) Womon of color who exist in the nonprofit industrial complex are often mammyfied. This article hits home in so many ways. It makes me want to weep.
I will not let people use me. I will not feel guilty for saying no. I will ask for what I need. I will walk away if I don’t get what I need. I will fight against injustice in the world, starting in my own life! —rboylorn
As a therapist/counselor and as an artist, people are always asking me to do something for free. It’s unnerving. Do you know how much MONEY & TIME I have put into cultivating my craft!?!?!?!? Do you know how much I’ve done to be all this “black girl magic”!?!?!?!? I am worth it ALL. I deserve it ALL. I will not be penalized for my greatness.
I say this all with sooooooo much humility and grace. I say this in accordance with knowing and being a reflection of God.