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Monday, September 17, 2012

Starting the Conversation: Why Black Women Are Mean (Part 1)

*Editor's note* I'll be posting on Tuesdays and Thursdays ONLY until further notice. 
Why do black women have such nasty attitudes? 
Why are black women so mean to each other? 
What is wrong with black women? 
Why are black women so mean to other people?
How can we help black women? 
Why are black women so angry?

There is no shortage of stereotypes about black women. We're known for our rolling necks, stereotypically loud voices and the proverbial chips on our shoulders. Black women have so much to be angry about. Our men leave us with illegitimate kids, our mothers didn't nurture us and our friends are jealous of us. Isn't that how the story goes? That's what the media told me about MY black experience.

Why are black women so mean to each other? The answer is not easy. Let's take a look at an example that will hopefully start the conversation.

My most recent memory of a black woman being mean, hateful or jealous towards me is from last year. I had landed a prestigious internship and I was enthusiastic about it too. Not like "oooh I got free bacon," but I still went out and got new clothes and shoes so I could look the part. I was ready to work hard and pay my "dues." There were several black women in the office, but most of them were in administrative roles. Everyone in the office tried their best to help me assimilate into the office culture. The young men were noticeably extra helpful. There was one older black lawyer and it was clear they thought I had to meet her. When we finally met 2 weeks into my internship she was cold. I was disappointed, but I attributed it to her being preoccupied and I let it slide. She was twice my age, had let herself get outta shape and single. I figured she had bigger problems than forcing herself to be nice to me. I always made sure to speak to her whenever I saw her in passing. Several times she did not speak back. I know she heard me. She was petty. 

When she did strike up convos with me, she made sly remarks about my wardrobe asking how I could afford certain suits, shoes and dresses. Nevermind that I worked in retail part time. Instead of "Oooh girl you look fab! Where did you get that?" It was more like "Oh hey, I see you're wearing the suit I was waiting to catch on sale. Aren't you JUST an intern?" I didn't think much of it, because having a fabulous wardrobe comes with haters. *Flips hair*  It was obvious she was making a point to passive aggressively show me how much she didn't care for me. 

I thought I was tripping for even thinking she would single me out. She never held the door for me even if I was 2 seconds behind her, but she held the door for other people. She would say a cheerful "GOODMORNING" to everyone else and then hit me with a *sigh* before forcing out a simple "morning." She would ask everyone around me whether they wanted to order lunch, but would make it clear she was leaving me out. I was confused. This woman was twice my age acting worse than teenagers. Why? Cuz haters gone hate. 
She went out of her way to walk past my desk one day and told one of my supervisors she saw me sending a personal email on my work computer. This might have been trouble for me if my supervisor didn't know I was the head coordinator for a school-wide gala. 

On my last day, she pulled me to the side and started with, "I just need to tell you to watch how you treat people." She must have seen my "What the fuck?" face because she went on to explain what she meant. I stood there staring at the lipstick on her teeth thinking, "Damn this heffa really needs some d*ck." BTW, ratchets made a song about that. Listen here. I couldn't resist adding it at the end of whatever she said. Why? Because the solution for all bitchy women is good d*ck, right? She said, "I don't like how you treated me this whole time (and I need some d*ck)." She said she saw me out in public the same week my internship started and I didn't speak to her. If she had come to me she would have known I had NEVER been in the area where she thought she saw me. Instead of saying something to me, she held on to that ONE THING for the entire semester! 

"It bothers me that you did that (and I haven't been d*cked down in a while)." She went on for about 15 minutes and all I could think about was how much she needed to get laid. She went into how I would "regret my actions" saying she could keep me from getting work. Although she was NEVER my direct supervisor, she maintained, "Based on the way you've treated me, if my HR girlfriends ever called to ask about your work here I would not recommend you." I let her go on & responded, "I appreciate the feedback, but I know if God has opened a door for me no man or woman could close it. If it is your desire to try, I welcome it." I decided against telling her about the lipstick on her teeth. Rumor has it that the REAL reason she wasn't pleased with me is because a younger attorney (younger than her, older than me) had taken an interest in me since she wanted him for herself. 

A few months later, I saw her at a hoity toity fundraiser. I was the youngest person there and my group made sure I got to rub elbows with the most important people there. Imagine her surprise when I turned out to be the brilliant young woman everyone in the room told her she just had to meet! I took great pleasure in seeing her face fall to the floor. For the first time, I made eye contact with her and saw her for what she was. She was single, over 50 and at a fundraiser with her flabby tits pushed up into her chin. She had lipstick on her teeth (again) and I smiled as I told her to check her teeth. I saw the look of terror on her face as she realized had spent the night flirting with younger men who failed to tell her about the lipstick on her teeth. At that point, I felt pity for her. She was not a mean person, she was threatened by something she saw in me. Silly woman saw me as her competition. LOL! If she knew better she woulda stepped me and I could have given her some pointers. 

I'm willing to bet most black women have had a similar experience. Another black woman has been mean to us for no apparent reason. It hurts. I wish more black women spent time building up each other, but we don't. We're more likely to tear down that bad chick who commands the attention of the room before we compliment her. Ain't that bad?

Talk to me. Have you ever wondered why black women are so angry? Have you ever had a black woman be mean to you for no reason? Have you ever been mean to someone and they wondered why?

Tune in Thursday for part 2! 

Twitter: @LegallyRatchet1


Anonymous said...

Ever occur to you that she probably thought the same thing about you?

Rickeysha said...

I occurred to me that she probably thought I was stuck up, but until she told me WHY she was mean I didn't know what her deal was. Her perception of me was based upon a case of mistaken identity, but instead of addressing it with me she thought it was more appropriate to belittle me. THAT is the sad part.

Miss Dread said...

Great read! I too have encountered situations with black women where I coukdn't understand why I got the cold shoulder, rolled eyes, or just out right disrespect. In most cases it boils down to intimidation... *flips hair* Lol.

Rickeysha said...

Most of my encounters have been with older black women. I really don't get it. Why be intimidated? I'm just a cute, funny and smart woman wearing a fly ass suit LOL!

Candice said...

This is a SAD truth, girl. I have had this experience with professors, bosses, and peers. When I walk into a room, I'm bringing A+ every time. A lot of our sisters, especially those who are older and SHOULD be mentoring us, get intimidated and try to throw shade. It is hurtful, although I try to laugh it off. So, I make a point to mentor and encourage Black women every chance I get to counter balance some of that bull ish.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this has been the story of my life. Great read.

I'm an attorney, one of the cool and conscious ones (-: and have experienced the same from other black female attorneys and professional women, especially if they are single, or political (the group that's always afraid you'll run for elected office or become popular.) I've always rocked a suit and have been very fit, no children. The hating is incredible; mo matter how much you smile and try to be nice. Funny though, these same women's assistants usually like me more than them. LOL

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