“Reclaiming my time!” This phrase spoken by Rep. Maxine Waters to Treasure Secretary Steven Mnuchin during a House Financial Services Committee quickly spread throughout the internet. How many times, as a Black woman, did we want to say that we are reclaiming our time?
It was such an empowering moment that it quickly became a meme. Anytime Black women speak the truth, the memes will follow. I believe that for 2021 it is time for Black women to reclaim their time, worth, and energy. We have expended enough.
It is time for Black women to be selfish.
It is time for Black women’s backs not to be bent carrying a nation.
It is long overdue for Black women to put themselves first.
It is time for Black women to stop living a back burner existence.
This country continues to show us what it thinks of Black women.
We will steal from you, Black women.
We will take from you, Black women.
We will co-opt your creativity, Black women.
We will work you until you are sick from being sick and tired, Black women.
We will ignore your pain, Black women.
We will pay you less, Black women.
We will pretend we are listening, but we truly aren’t, Black women.
We will ask to “pick your brain” over coffee instead of paying you a consulting fee, Black women.
We will let you be the backbone for us while we break your back, Black women.
We will call on you to save us, Black women.
We will expect you to sacrifice, Black women.
We will demand that you fix it, Black women.
We will profit off you, Black women.
We will call on you only during election season, Black women.
We will imitate you, Black women.
We will hype you for our gain, Black women.
We will share hashtags with no thought of what they really mean, Black women.
We will post resistance pics but not support policies for you, Black women.
We will let you and your children die in the streets, Black women.
We will do a Tik Tok dance even as you bleed out, Black women.
We will smile in your face all while hating you, Black women.
We will share your posts and not even talk about racism with our partners, Black women.
We will say you are angry even when your anger is righteous and justified, Black women.
We will cry first, so no one feels sorry for you, Black women.
We will be intimidated by you, Black women.
We will use you until we use you up, Black women.
And in the end, we will take all the credit, Black women.
Thank you for being our mules, Black women…
Maya Angelou said it best, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” What is it that we are not believing?
What more does this world need to show Black women for us to believe? How much more disrespect must we take, before we believe? How many more times do they have to steal our work, our creativity, before we believe? How many more Breonna Taylor’s, Sandra Bland’s, and Atatiana Jefferson’s do we need? This world has repeatedly shown us what they think of Black women.
In a 1962 speech, Malcolm X said, “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.” That was 58 years ago. Not one thing has changed.
It is high time for Black women to believe what this nation is showing us and MIND THE BUSINESS THAT MINDS US!
Black women are not required to save this nation. Black women do not have an S on their chests. Black women need to retire their capes. Black women are not born into this world to save you!
Black women, your focus is protecting, keeping, and saving yourself and your loved ones. Your focus is taking care of YOU!
SEIZE THIS MOMENT, BLACK WOMEN. This season is for YOU! FOR US! AND ONLY US! Stand in that! Stand with Black women in that knowledge. By us working together for us, we are a force to be reckoned with!