Evolution – seems like a strange word to be using in this space. The word makes me think about growing, changing, developing – becoming something new and different. I don’t think we give enough thought to how much we all grow and change each day or month. It’s only when you look back on your life that you realise how much you had to change. When I think about us Black Women today, I really believe we’ve evolved and are continuing to do so. What do I mean by saying Black Women are evolving?
A life going nowhere
We know that alot of our people are coming from a legacy of poverty and struggle. Whether it’s the poor conditions our fore-parents were raised in or the struggles we’ve experienced in the Western world. Being underrepresented and living lives or economic struggle left generations going no-where with their lives. No education, no opportunities to travel or build wealth created lives with unfulfilled potential. Millions of lives started and ended in poverty. So these Black women didn’t have opportunities to grow and change.
The foundation of our evolution
When our parents migrated to the Western world seeking a new better life, they had no idea of the struggles they would face. While they fought racism and struggled to fit into a new culture, they worked so hard to open the way for us to have opportunities they never had. Everything they went through put us in the position to develop our lives in ways they could only dream about. Our access to education, to rent or own property have given us the chance to make changes to our lives.
Taking our space in society to evolve
Main stream society hasn’t made it easy for Black Women to evolve. The white world told us with words and actions that we shouldn’t expect too much. We were not expected to rise above a certain level. The outdated idea that we were seen but not heard. Us Black Women are still actively working to ensure we have the room to grow and change in the way we are entitled to. While as women we’re often the back-bone of the family, we have evolved from being tied to the kitchen sink to showing society who we want to be. Yes we’ll cook our mother’s dishes- the fried chicken or jollof rice but we aren’t confined to these spaces anymore.
Moving past family and society’s expections
From all I’m saying here, it’s obvious that us Black women have been held back by social and economic disadvantages. But some of the other barriers have been harder to identify or admit to – family barriers. Those who are closest to us and love us are there to support and protect us as much as possible. But alot of us know that sometimes we have carried the weight of our family’s opinions to the point where it’s stopped us achieving more with our lives. Whether it’s our parents who want us to be a doctor or getting married because it’s what ‘women in our family do’. It’s these mental and emotional barriers we have to be honest about; especially when they impact us living our best lives.
Black Women’s growth leading to change
Today us Black Women are moving into lifestyles that are creating a shift from where our mothers could only hope to go. While our fore-mothers were only valued for their abilities to bear children, be wives and cook, we have taken this a step further. While raising our families, getting married and building careers, we’ve continued to shift our lifestyles. Our lives have moved beyond the kitchen, to sitting in offices and departments where we are showing that we can lead and manage. Those of us who aren’t in the corporate space, are running our own businesses, shifting the opinion that Black Women are not good capable of achieving anything with their lives.
Where are Black women going next?
With all of the changes we’re seeing in today’s world, there are no limits to where us Black women are going. This Blog could never be big enough to hold all our achievements from the past and what we’re doing now. We’re seeing our older women take their place as custodians of our culture, providing support and advice. While those of us in mid-life work and careers are supporting a Black woman’s voice. Our younger Black women and girls are designing their own lifestyles and careers. Whether that’s building an online hair business, working in the arts or music – our progress is growing.
I’m hoping that you’ve seen some of the changes I written about above in your life and your family’s. If the changes you want haven’t happened yet, I’m hoping you have the courage and the plans to go and try because this world and us Black women need more of us to keep evolving for the lives we deserve to have.