“Don’t look at me wrong because I might slap you!” “Oh you wanna roll your eyes at me, you don’t know who you messing with.” The finger snapping or pointing, the eye and neck rolling, and let us not forget the smacking of the lips are all things that you might catch a black woman doing at any given time of the day, but why? Must of us (and I say us because I am guilty of these actions too) do these things without second thought. Somehow we have become the exact personification of what most people assume about black women.
I’m not saying that any of this is wrong by any means. Sometimes you have to give a little attitude to get people to listen up but some of us need to learn when it is appropriate to do so. A constant attitude is a turn off and makes people feel that you are unapproachable. It can also make you look dumb at times. Have you ever watched one of those court shows or the news for that matter and seen what you thought had to be one of the most ignorant black woman known to mankind. Is she really ignorant? More than likely she is not. We just assume she is because of how she is acting.
You don’t have to change who you are however you can change how you act in certain situations. When I was younger and got picked on at school for being too “proper”, I was told I need to adapt to my environment. I went on the defensive and went off on anyone who talked about me. I learned later on in life adapting to my environment meant you can be silly, crazy, or “ghetto” when you are around your friends and loved ones, you just need to know how to turn it off when you are presented with a situation where those things may not be appropriate.
Not everyone can take the full blown attitude of us black women. My dad once told me that my attitude was going to open a lot of doors for me but it was also going to hold me back in a lot of ways. I never quite understood what he meant until I joined the Navy and moved up in the ranks quickly. Within two years I was then in charge of giving orders to Sailors who had been in way longer than me. Giving attitude and barking orders was not working when I need things done expeditiously. It even caused some people to simply shut down because they felt intimidated. I would find myself having to explain to someone senior to me why I could not get “my people” to get the job done. I had to learn to adjust my approach when dealing with different people and situations.
That’s what we all need to do. There is nothing wrong being bubbly or smiling from time to time. There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing without talking loud and rolling our eyes. How about telling someone that you are grateful for their input and/or criticism rather than what they can do with it and where they can put it. Let’s all make a conscious effort to analyze the situation and turn on the appropriate attitude to deal with it.