Dr. Linda Chavers, a celebrated, educated black woman, took to Elle Magazine to denounce the #BlackGirlMagic movement. She had some fair points. The “strong black woman” stereotype can definitely make a black woman feel defeated for being unable to cope with an issue. The use of the word “magic” could be interpreted as discrediting achievements that black women worked hard to earn. However, I do think that comparing this hashtag to the ways in which black women were treated as though they were less than human is a bit of a reach. Chavers wrote that, “saying we’re superhuman is just as bad as saying we’re animals,” but that sentiment is something I can’t relate to.
#BlackGirlMagic has never made me feel animalistic. It has never degraded me. It has never disrespected me in any way. In fact, it made me smile, genuinely. It has inspired me. I love reading black women’s success stories, mostly because I am usually bogged down by stories of black women’s defeats, violations, and general oppression. As many articles written in response have reiterated, #BlackGirlMagic is a celebration.
[bctt tweet=”#BlackGirlMagic has never made me feel animalistic. “]
Everyone has a right to their own opinion. Chavers certainly has hers. I happen to disagree. Black women are magical, simply for continuing to exist in a racist, sexist world. We are magical for thriving in an environment that was never meant to foster our success. Honestly, how could we not be impressed with ourselves when we survive another day in a society that treats us so poorly? As Amy Juicebox wrote for Blavity, “#BlackGirlMagic wasn’t what killed Sandra Bland, it’s what got her name out there in the first place. #BlackGirlMagic wasn’t what put Marissa Alexander in prison, it’s what eventually got her out.” This new uplifting movement is an opportunity for black women to recognize each other’s strengths and weakness, but more importantly, it is to acknowledge the shining moments that serve to uplift us all.
My biggest concern with Chavers’ article is that it was published in ELLE Magazine, a publication that has nothing to do with the black community. In fact, it has been in trouble many times for lightening the skin of the people of color featured on its covers. That’s like a black man going to Fox News to give a condemning opinion on other black men (@Don Lemon). It’s ridiculous.
[bctt tweet=”So let black women be happy!”]
And Twitter seems to agree with me. Twitter users have created the hashtag #ChaversNextArticle to mock Chavers’ literal approach to common sayings and terms like “woke” and “lit.” Needless to say, the Internet has not taken too kindly to a black woman attacking a tool that other black women use to inspire and encourage each other. And that’s completely understandable. We black women are not given enough opportunities to celebrate our everyday wins and our lifetime achievements. We deserve an easy way to honor ourselves and our sisters across the globe.
Though Chavers introduced many relevant and important obstacles and offenses that black women face, she neglected to understand the point of the hashtag.There is no need to over-analyze and critique a hashtag that is clearly spreading so much positivity to an group of people constantly surrounded by negative portrayals of themselves. Black women are magical. We suffer from illnesses, mental and physical. We face indignities in our workplaces and beyond. We are flawed. But we are still here, fighting and surviving, graduating and accepting awards, and being too beautiful for European beauty standards.
So let black women be happy! Let us flourish and recognize the feats accomplished by other black women. Let us be unified by our common encouragement of each other.
That’s the real magic.