It would seem that, in a world finally beginning to celebrate the accomplishments and existence of Black woman, a world where we have a stage to be more vocal than ever before, one could appreciate the acknowledgment that Black women are special.
That’s not because we’re superhuman or because we’ve endured the scourge of standing at the intersection of both gender and race, but because we simply exist and for so long, no one would advocate and/or proclaim that we were, in fact, human.
And even though it would appear the tide is turning — both Essence Magazine and ELLE Magazine released February covers celebrating Black women in Hollywood and activism — the latter publication gave platform to a Black woman who sees the celebratory hashtag #BlackGirlMagic as problematic.
The hashtag lends itself to the “strong, black woman” archetype, Dr. Linda Chavers writes in the ELLE article “Here’s My Problem With #BlackGirlMagic,” a trope that also supports the forgiving Black women who “suffer in silence.” Black girls aren’t magic, Chavers insists, and to push that agenda is to reinforce the historical and otherwise untrue theory that Black people are superhuman.
“Black girl magic suggests we are, again, something other than human. That might sound nitpicky, but it’s not nitpicky when we are still being treated as subhuman,” Chavers writes.
Chavers, who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, says for those living with illness or disability, the “magic” part of the hashtag doesn’t ring true. For her, there is nothing magical about coping with a challenging illness.
“One attitude I’ll never take on is the idea that I can be a ‘magical black woman,’ she says. “That somewhere within me is some black girl magic. Because there isn’t. Everything inside and outside of me is flesh and bone and a nervous system (with bad signaling). Nothing magical.”
Saying we’re superhuman is just as bad as saying we’re animals, because it implies that we are organically different, that we don’t feel just as much as any other human being. Black girls and women are humans. That’s all we are. And it would be a magical feeling to be treated like human beings–who can’t fly, can’t bounce off the ground, can’t block bullets, who very much can feel pain, who very much can die. When I see “black girl magic,” I think, was Sandra Bland not magical enough? Renisha McBride? Miriam Carey? Perhaps she’d been trying to be magical and, failing, started to blame herself instead.
Article Courtesy of Hello Beautiful
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