From the “psychologist” researching if Black women are least attractive, to the myriad of “relationship experts” that dole out advice on what women are doing wrong, criticisms of Black women seem to be en vogue these days. Regardless of polarized judgments, assertions and even sometimes-pointless commentary, no one is above criticism. Neither you nor I. Neither the Black man nor the Black woman. Or even the emerging “winning White woman.” We all get criticized.

By the time you finish reading, I’m sure another article will be posted criticizing Black women. Also, by the time you finish this, I’m sure you will offer your remarks as well.

Before making comments, it is important to determine whether criticism is warranted. There is a difference between offering criticism and being overly critical. I had to learn this early on in life when I thought my two cents were always needed. Even if you didn’t ask me for my opinion, I would offer it. Nowadays, everyone thinks that they are subject matter experts. The difference is that while everyone has something to say, sometimes it’s not always helpful. Besides, every single thing someone says or does not merit a response.

Criticism thrives off of feedback. And unfortunately, we always respond immediately to the negative. Just like anything in life, it’s important what we choose to respond to.

Why are there so many articles criticizing Black women? Are Black women really that complex or are we all just in denial? With more and more articles published critiquing the relationships between Blacks, one can only wonder what the real motives may be.

But who do we blame?

Everyday we are inundated by relationship books, corporate bought-out magazines, blogs, and conversations devoted to Black women. Despite this topic being discussed over and over and over again, we cannot stop criticizing. As humans, we are hard-wired to communicate. We want to contribute our two cents even if no one asks. Because we are social by nature, sometimes these connections bring us together but under the wrong premises.

There has to be a way to hold Black people accountable for their actions without adding to the vigilant chorus of negative voices. How do find solutions to the out of wedlock birth rate, or the spread of STDs, or fact that many of our communities are failing if we don’t provide some level of substantial criticism?

Accountability is a term that can set off immediate hostility. We’ve turned it into a way to scold or punish others, however accountability can also be very empowering.   There is nothing wrong with having candid conversations. Giving constructive criticism can lend much needed assistance by providing feedback on things that can be improved and issues that can be avoided. Some issues plaguing our community needs to be addressed.

Like Black men, Black women have never been afforded an extra pass in society. Instead of recognizing the great challenges Black women face, considering Black men face some of the same issues, it is important to understand where and why these challenges exist. While Black women should not be exempt from having certain criticism imposed on them, we have to set realistic expectations. In a world where women are constantly beaten over the head with negative information by the media, and even abused by her own people, the least we can do is show some reverence toward our sisters when attempting to help.

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