My Sister’s Keeper: When Are We As Black Women Going To Start Being Honest With Each Other?

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If you ask me, black female culture is on the decline. In attempts to appeal to the lowest common denominators within the demographic, representation has suffered for us as a whole.

Not limited to entertainment and media, black intellectualism is failing, too.

Dominated by womanist ideology, mainstream black female intellectualism is becoming a self-castrating brand of thought rooted in willful ignorance, victimhood and group think.

Despite correlations between single motherhood and poverty, and the fact that black women are twice as likely as white women to live in poverty, the vocal majority continues to argue that failed “reproductive rights” policies rather than sexual irresponsibility and a 75 percent out of wedlock birth rate are to blame for many of the ails plaguing our community. Yet, given that 79 percent of Planned Parenthood clinics are disproportionately located in predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods, black women have more access to free birth control, abortions, and “educational” materials than most.

Hashtag activism asserting #BlackPowerisforBlackMen is used to complain of marginalization and misogyny, only for the likes of MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, a leading voice in the community, to encourage young women of color to twerk for cash.

A route she clearly didn’t choose for herself.

She’s not alone, as it’s not uncommon for prominent voices to dish out advice they wouldn’t purposefully implement into their own lives – leaving one to question why some of us continue to ride this bandwagon.

Of course, it’s more popular to justify prevailing behaviors rather than challenge the status quo within, to adhere to a linear ideology. Most would rather hear that the softcore p**n they post on Instagram is a manifestation of independence and sexual liberation as opposed to the self-objectification it actually is. Or holding on to on sexism and racism as a crutch to avoid behavioral accountability.

This was evident in the #StandwithJamilah hashtag following EBONY’s formal apology to Raffi Williams, a black conservative the magazine’s digital editor inaccurately accused of being white. Supporters cried sexism and racism, not because it was actually true in this instance, but because so many of us have been conditioned to take on a victim position – to pull gender and race cards when they need not apply.

But victimhood is a losing mentality; sexual promiscuity is littered with lifelong consequences, and single motherhood severely limits your options, professionally and romantically. Time and time again, socioeconomic studies prove these assertions to be correct.

While right and wrong may be relative to the eyes of the beholder, wisdom is longstanding. The successes and failures of various ethnic groups is heavily influenced by decisions to embrace or reject wisdom and learn from that of others.

On account of sisterhood, do we not owe it to one another to spread truth and wisdom? While it might not get you voted Most Popular to give your friends, and family the truth when it’s necessary, it’s for the betterment of the community as a whole.

L. Nicole Williams writes about the intersection of lifestyle, relationships, social economics and politics. Her commentary has been featured in the New York Times and she has made several radio and TV appearances. Follow her on Twitter @iamnicwill or visit
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