A Letter to All Black Women in College

By Shanique Wright on June 10, 2017

Dear Black Women,

What do you prefer, apples or oranges?”
“Neither.”
“You are anti-environmentalist.”

“Netflix or going to the movies?”
“I don’t care.”
“Introvert.”

Red or white wine?”
“Neither.”
“Are you calling me alcoholic?”

“Chicken or steak?”
“I’ll pass.”
“Goddamn you vegetarians and your judgements!”

You always end up being the “bad person” when you choose not to pick a side. The social and political atmosphere of the United States forces individuals to have a position on every issue and usually your social circle forces a bias.

College campuses are riddled with groups, sororities, and clubs, all forming allies around some movement, with evenings spent at rallies and meetings trying to fit in with society’s ideal of a “productive college student.”

You need to stop and focus on you and your mental and physical health and growth. Keeping up with the Joneses isn’t as important as keeping up with your self identity and that is something most college women fail to recognize before it’s too late.

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With racial issues plaguing the country not everyone can be an outspoken activist on issues pertaining to black lives and feminism. Yes there is a glass ceiling and wage gap but frankly every third party has different ways of dealing with injustice. Not everyone chooses to protest; some choose to write, others mobilize, most of them advocate on behalf of others and some call out the sexist bastard that they encounter at the drive-thru.

If someone chooses to have a neutral stance let them choose how to respond without being held accountable of choosing to be passive. Black women on campus shouldn’t be forced to feel like bystanders when they don’t spend their evenings protesting in front of the city council. We all fight our battles as women daily!

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As a black woman sometimes I feel the need to pick a side when I’m being bashed on choices I choose to make. Natural women scrutinize other women for wearing weaves and artificial hair and acting “white” but really they are the same ones who turn up their nose when we expose our 4c roots.

The Natural movement has been challenging black women daily to embrace their true identity and wear their real hair out. Easy to say miss kinky 4A … with 8 a.m. classes and late night studying sometimes we prefer not to deal with our hair. Wash and go styles are all fun and games until shrinkage and breakage happens. In addition, a $200 protective braid isn’t as affordable as most natural hair gurus make it out to be.

Getting the approval of other black women isn’t as important as finishing college with as little debt as possible. Get your priorities straight.

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When women wear makeup they’re being laughed at by other women who claim to be “team natural.” Okay, “miss lip-gloss wearing, coconut face scrub beauty … don’t judge me for wearing makeup because it is my choice.”

They throw harsh comments like, “you’d be ugly without it” and, “Thank God for makeup” as if we are endorsing a sin and satire will purify our “wicked doings.”

Well, everyone  is entitled to their own decisions. So the next time you feel the urge to judge a woman for wearing 10 layers of foundation, just remember we are all entitled to our own decisions. We should instead compliment that lady in the hijab for making her eyeliner on point or that woman on the bus for her clean cut contour. It takes skill! Makeup is an art just like music and dance and it is overdue that women start to respect each other’s decisions.

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You’re too fat.”
“Damn she’s skinny.”
“What are you mixed with?”
“You should do more jogging.”
“Have you tried that new weight loss cream? Pill? Liposuction?”
“You are beautiful!”

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There are always some body experts scrutinizing your physique. Being a college student can be stressful because not everyone has the time to exercise when they’re juggling two jobs, 17 credits, and a boyfriend that insists on using his pizza coupons every night.

There is a popular saying that we are our worst critics but someone made a typo in that statement. Society is our worst critic with its standards and expectations. All we want to do is wear Uggs and pajamas to that 8:15 a.m. lecture without feeling guilty of not giving a damn.

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What you wear doesn’t justify who you are and neither should it account for what you are.

No matter what the situation is, we need to allow each other to make our own decisions and exercise the utmost respect for them. There are far greater things on campus that need more attention than that girl’s crooked ponytail and bleached overalls.

Yours truly,

An Unfiltered Black Woman

Shanique Wright is a Jamaican native with a passion for writing and doing research on social issues and ways to help end global poverty. She is the founder of the blog layeredonionz where she provides discussions on issues surrounding politics, race, class and gender.

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