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Black Women Mythology
Maya Angelou

The myth of the STRONG BLACK WOMAN (SBW) is so simple and so clear that it is somewhat amazing that we are still bamboozled.

You see, we – being the black women who are the “johns” of this particular scam – think that being an SBW is something to which one should aspire; we feel complimented when we are included in the category of others similarly valorized; and we blame ourselves for any indication that we are falling below the standards of the SBW.

Is this not the most delicious trick ever played on anyone?

The greatest achievement the rest of the world ever achieved was convincing black women that SBW existed, and that our job was to grow up into one. Black women are raised to be SBW in the most exemplary fashion possible, and faithfully to remain one without pause or rest until the grim reaper relieved us of the burdens of our mortality.

It is really terrifyingly, astonishingly and ineffably well-crafted, this myth. Insofar as, so long as we are kept either desiring, or believing ourselves actually to be, Strong Black Women, there is no amount of pure nonsense, abuse, overwork, ingratitude, exploitation, underappreciation, and just plain shit that we will not put up with.

You see, SBW, of course, can make $10 stretch into meals for a week, clothes for everyone, payment of bills, and school fees, etc.,— this is just a well known and, indeed, required characteristic of SBW.

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