Black Women Are Not Expected to be Emotionally Vulnerable
Black women’s resilience dates back to the dawn of humanity and it was called upon during the painful history of enslavement and racial oppression, where they were subjected to abuse, violation and exploitation. Black women learned to survive dehumanizing conditions by becoming skilled in the balancing act of appeasing her slave master by complying with his demands, while still making sacrifices to meet the needs of those who were dependent upon her.
Researchers have suggested that the cultural expectation of fortitude in African-American women fuels the myth of the “strong Black woman,” which compels her to push for unrealistic levels of self-sacrifice, self-denial and ensuing emotional distress. White women have not had to bear this cultural burden.
Dana Stringer argues in her EURweb article, “Hidden Dangers of Being A ‘Strong Black Woman,” that because Black women are not permitted to be transparent about their personal suffering, the internalizing of pain, disappointment and unmet needs have greatly contributed to the “anxiety, stress, fatigue, anger, uptightness, irritability, insomnia, overeating, addiction, shame, guilt and depression” that so many of them suffer. This poses on of the greatest threats to their health and overall quality of life.”