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Published on 6/1/2009

Ladies, listen up! Now come in a little closer to your computer screen. Open up your mind for a minute… now hear me out. Sista, STOP IT!

Now as I shout this statement between my ever calm keystrokes, I’m hoping to generate the same cataclysmic effect, as if I were standing in front of you prepared to drop a verbal a-bomb.

When some people think of women, they generally tend to go with the same ridiculous ideologies; fragile, docile, weak, fit to only be housewives, and so on and on. Now when you throw in the word “Black” to that statement and ask a few folks what dances around in their minds, you unearth a completely different set of stereotypes: Ghetto. Unintelligent. Bad attitude. And on and on.

Now you know as well as I do, we are not defined or committed to any labels brought about by the hypocrisy of others.

We didn’t come this far by caring about what everyone else thinks about us; we think highly enough of ourselves. We march to our own drum and think to our own beat. But no sooner since the day we began heading down that trail of independence, along the way towards salvation, we forgot one important principal. Our life may not depend on how the world sees or treats us, but how we see and treat ourselves.

Now I know you understand where I’m coming from already. Everyone reading this is intelligent and filled to the brim with mass opinion – and I’m certain a few of you will share those waking thoughts. But even with an aptitude for understanding and an inherent ability to try and show a world that wronged us a tiny bit of grace, when it comes to how we treat each other in the sisterhood, sometimes that logic never makes it past the surface of ourselves.

As I comb through the comments on Clutch, ride the city bus on my way to work in the morning, post up the bar at a local night club, or chill in the corner reading my book at a Barnes and Noble, the story seemingly remains the same: Sistas can be vicious when it comes to how they treat other Sistas.

My question is, why?

Now before everyone begins to think that I’m generalizing, and throwing the entire Sistahood in this categorized philosophy, I understand completely that it’s not all of us that run amuck with a ‘take no prisoners attitude,’ but this crucial train of thought does dance between a few.

I’m privy to the rule that we Sistas have to be Strong Black Women in order to exist and maintain our sanity, but being impervious shouldn’t depart from having a loving and proper attitude towards our own in any setting.

When we argue, we throw venom and when we fight we bring our Vaseline. Every open discussion we have with one another whether it’s in the street, on the phone or online in a forum, shouldn’t start out on an even keel and then end in destruction. And what are we so mad about anyway, someone else’s opinion about natural hair or Kim Kardashian? People are going to do what they do no matter how much you try to persuade them. I think we should be more concerned with North Korea being in possession of nuclear warheads. That’s a more explosive topic than feeling the need to drop bombs from behind a keypad. So I ask you, what’s really relevant?

Let me repeat myself… Sista, Stop It.

It’s one thing to have a gentle debate, but why does every discussion have to lead up to a shower of insults? Most people welcome new ideas in a general conversation. Part of what makes us unique is the fact that we don’t follow mass opinion, we bring our own beliefs to the forefront. But unfortunately some of us Sistas neglect to play fair and enjoy the idea of arguing. Instead of agreeing to disagree or allowing others to remain locked in their ideas (whether ridiculous or not), we put the gloves down in a fair boxing match and begin biting ears in an attempt to reenact a verbal Holyfield/Tyson fight. A sign of losing, if I do jest.

The cattiness between us is not a beautiful disaster; it’s an intruding nightmare, and I think it’s time we wake up.

These below the belt shots about our Sista’s intelligence, weight, aptitude, skin color, her natural hair vs. her relaxed tresses, her education or lack thereof, does nothing to actually get your original point across, rather it brings you closer to fitting the stereotype of the Black Woman as some of the world sees us.

Remember, there’s beauty in being indefinable.

As the old saying goes, ‘you catch more flies with honey.’ Do any of us really think the world is listening when we stand on our soapbox and gratuitously insult one another? Doubtful. But for some strange reason, like the worst horn resounding, most of us continue to press our lips to the brass and blow, even after the same statement has been made 15 times before us. Can you hear me now? Yes, I gathered your point the first time you said it, now I’ve just decided to stop listening.

Because we rock so many redeeming qualities, I know we can do better within the Sisterhood instead of spending our afternoons putting each other down or going well out of our way to attack one another.

When I think of the term, “Ladies First,” that men use to exhibit their traditional manners, I think it’s a clever ideology we should adopt as our own. We should learn to put each other’s feelings first before we rise to our traditional occasion and interact carelessly with one another. A Ladies First mentality will go a long way.

Ladies, let’s learn to fight fair within our discussions, and not put one another down. Let’s learn to agree to disagree and allow our counterparts the right to their own opinion. Let’s learn to embrace our Sistahood, no matter the shade, the race, or the person. Let’s learn to just be and let things be, because not only are we losing a war with the world for respect, we’re losing the respect we are supposed to have for ourselves. Get it together ladies. The world isn’t going to stop to hear your thunderous cry about superficial matters, but they will pause the moment you weep with a song of relevance and sincerity.

..and before you start bringing any negativity to this positive article, please refer to the beginning and reread this piece again. Can you hear me now?

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  • Meli

    Amen to that. Well written and thanks for sharing.

  • Meek

    This needs to be screamed from the mountain tops!!! This needs to be a movement. We need to declare 2010 Years of the Lady!!! Let’s uproot the venomous seeds that Jim Crow recklessly planted ions ago, that has plagued us as a people for generations, and rekindle the sisterhood that once reined supreme!

    I will post this on Facebook and myspace.

    Kudos Ms. Alaina L. Lewis, well said. You should write a book!

  • Thanks for the kind words Meek! I’m working on that book right now at this very moment!! : )

  • Trudat

    Though this post is on a postive note:

    can we really just boil it down to “stop it”?

    Females “act” a certain way because it is either condone or it is look upon as what she should be doing: girls learn how to behave from the females around them, and what people SAY they should act: its a code that is never broken: if you say there is no code: then you are either lying to yourself or in the code and dont even know it

    As females we get our personalities from the society we live around: as much as I WISH we could all “get along” and do the whole kumbaya bit: its not realistic.

    Many females who typed: amen and i agree: are the same DAMN ladies who cant stand a certain female because the way this female: smiles, stand, sit, speak, or blink her eyes

    I am so tired with the whole lets come together: its fake and again unrealistic………

    While I will be Open for that day: i am not naive

    A greater post would be: Let’s get to the root to WHY women hoot and holler: its way too complex and too deep

    The closest a women could do to “stop it” is shutting their mouths or walk away from a situation….

    sigh women will always be women

  • de

    I have to say I may be one of the few that don’t think all black women are this evil. I just don’t. Yes, some have attitudes, but because of life’s experiences I won’t make it about me. Yes, I have had my run ins, but they were just that, nothing to go run type cast a group of women over. And yes, there may be communities more susceptible to black woman anger. But I have to say,from experiences I have not ran into bad, angry, mean, horrible black women. I guess I just don’t expect anything from them, like I don’t from any woman as they shouldn’t expect anything out of me.