Sisterhood Among Black Women

In an online group discussion, I was having with other black women, one of them asked a series of questions. They were: “Do you believe in sisterhood among black women? How do you define sisterhood? How has your experience been with it? How did you find it?” Some of the women said yes and shared their stories of pleasant and wonderful experiences. While other women said that they no longer believed in a sisterhood because other black women betrayed their trust and hurt them multiple times throughout their lives. They long for a sisterhood but do not think it is possible. Their responses reminded me of some of the black women I have come across. Some of them betrayed my trust and never acted as a true friend towards me, but I have moved on. Their responses also reminded me of a notion that I have heard on a few occasions. “There is no sisterhood among black women.” It annoys me that there are actual black women who hurt and betray other black women for the sake of “getting ahead,” because of their own insecurities, and/or other reasons. It is a very complex issue that cannot be fully covered in one blog post.

Personally, I believe that there is a true sisterhood among some black women and that it is possible depending on people’s intentions. Black women can have a sisterhood, if other black women genuinely want a sisterhood and to work together to lift each other up. It must be a mutual effort. One person giving their all while the other person just takes is one-sided. And sisterhood does not have look exactly the same for everyone, people express support and love in different ways. As long as the energy is there, a safe space is being provided for each other, everyone accepts each other, everyone validates each other, and find ways to bond with each other, a sisterhood can be formed. True sisterhood should also be inclusive of all cultural backgrounds and forms of identity, such as trans women, women of various socioeconomic status, those who practice different religions and forms of spirituality, women with disabilities, women who engage in their sexuality in whatever way that they are comfortable with, and the list goes on. Side note: Black women or other marginalized groups of people providing a safe space for each other is not meant to be exclusive to other races, men, or other groups of people. It is meant for us to identify with others who experience similar societal circumstances that we experience and to provide support for each other. It is kind of like a temporary get-a-way from the discrimination and judgement we have to endure in the world on a regular basis. It is a form of community that helps to make us more resilience.

For most of my life, I grew up in environments where it was mostly black girls in the area. So, all of my closest friends are black women, since people tend to gravitate to those who we can easily identify with and who are similar to us. For example, have you notice people of the similar personalities and interests naturally find their way to each other in classrooms, the school cafeteria, workplaces, and other social events? Even though my friends and I do not talk every day, we do have in-depth discussions about our lives whenever we do get on the phone or meet up. We noticed that we face similar challenges and obstacles because we are black women. Usually I would think that problem is unique to me until we start talking and realize that we all endured it in some way. We read the stories of other black women and realized that they endured the same issues too. Noticing that we have certain things working against us in society cause us to work together to keep each other going despite the obstacles. I am very fortunate to have been able to build a sisterhood among my closest friends. There have also been cases where these women became some of my role models, which I talked more about in Every Girl Needs a Role Model

Below are my reposes to the questions that were asked:
Do you believe in sisterhood among black women?
Yes!

How do you define sisterhood?
To me it’s mean working together, encouraging and supporting each other, being genuine and honest, being comfortable with each other to talk about personal issues/vent, being secure in ourselves and abilities to the point no one feels like they have to compete with someone else, having reasonable expectations for each other, and learning from each other.

How has your experience been with it? How did you find it?
I have had a few toxic and draining friendships but I have also had some great and positive friends who I would consider sisters. The toxic ones did make me a lot more cautious and a little paranoid that everyone just wants to use me. But the good ones remind me that they are actually there for me and want the best for me.

How did you find it?
I honestly found all of them by accident, like we just gravitated toward each other and bonded over similarities. It was so natural.

Time to Focus on You:

What are your experiences with bonding or trying to bond with others? Have they been fulfilling? What have you learned from them?

And to any black woman reading this what are your responses to the original set of questions?

Disclaimer: I could have made this post longer. Since this is a blog and not a book, I tried to be keep it short but still tell a story. If you want me to talk more about something in post, just let me know.

Photo by Autumn Goodman on Unsplash

18 thoughts on “Sisterhood Among Black Women”

  1. In my lifetime, I’ve had some pretty awful experiences with trying to build bonds with black women. I find that it’s hard to build a sisterhood among black women without them trying to tear each other down. There is a lot of judgement within our own community of black women from the hue of our brown skin, whether or not our hair is natural or relaxed, our economic status, etc. From my own experiences, I’ve had women get close to me just because of the things my ex fiancé provided for me & the “perks” of being my friend when it came to the local entertainment world. I’ve had some who claimed they were my sister just to get closer to him so they could push me out of the way & have them. It’s a mess. I’ve also had a so called “best friend” just forget about our friendship & just drop me like it was nothing. She has since apologized, but that sisterhood between us will never come back. Those experiences have made me very cautious of befriending other black women. But I do have a couple of friends that I can say have never betrayed my trust or hurt me & we’ve been friends for years. Instead of tearing each other down, we should be coming together to uplift & encourage one another, but that’s wishful thinking.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Those sounds like some messed up and horrible experiences. I’m sorry that you had to endure those. It’s good that you have a couple of friends who haven’t betrayed your trust. I agree that Colorism and hair texture discrimination also play a role. And we should encourage each other

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They were messed up & horrible experiences…unfortunately. They have also shaped my outlook on new friendships with other women to this day. I’m very cautious…maybe even closed to the idea building a sisterhood amongst a new group of black women.

        Like

  2. I think sisterhood among black women is possible…just not possible for me. I have made attempts at bonding with women, but for some reason the notion is not returned in the same way. My husband says I’m a better friend to others than they are to me because I’m always the one reaching out to connect, even without reciprocation. I love to see black women sharing their lives together, supporting and encouraging each other but usually I’m watching this from the outside. But yes, I do think it is possible.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have not had any truly unpleasant experiences, but also, my life track has been throughout the world, so not much time to bond with people. The few friends that I havenow, that I truly consider “sisters” are my rock.
    My daughters have had a range of experiences on that end, but they have a consistent group of young women around them and I hope that they grow old together, and become the kind of friends that will be so entwined in each other’s lives that everyone thinks they are blood-related. I feel bad for the Black women out here that have had such horrible experiences.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing! I’m glad that you and your daughters has been experiencing good friendships! Hopefully they do stay close as they get older

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  4. I can say that I have also had issues bonding with other black women. I believe that I am approachable, open and social, but it hardly seems reciprocated. I’ve faced a lot of judgement and criticism and never understood why. Honestly, I think social media, television (Housewives of ATL, Basketball wives, etc) have all created and perpetuated that black women can only be frenemies and there is always an element of competition that I think stems from the insecurities we all feel as a marginalized people. Add in the competition for a black man’s attention and it gets even worse. Not only are we black, but we’re women, and have even more societal pressures and issues to deal with daily. So much emphasis on our hair, complexions, waists and butt sizes (thank you music videos and Instagram… NOT). And nothing on our intellect, personalities, and ambitions in life. When we start working on real confidence from within, not the vanity and false confidence we get from attention from others, we can truly gain some real, tangible self-esteem, that isn’t so fragile. We MUST love ourselves first!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree! It would be nice to see more of more diverse narratives of black women portrayed by the media. I know some people are trying to work on it but it takes time, funding, and such. A lack of confidence does lead to insecurities coming in the way of genuine support and actually being happy for others success instead of competing

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this post because it’s sooo relatable. As someone who grew up in a black neighborhood, many of my girl-friends were black at the time. A lot of my high school friendships were so toxic I had to remove myself. Girls were jealous and mean. But at the same time, I also think it depends on the type of setting you were in. Black women from Jersey may be totally different from black women in California or Florida, even going as far as the city. In college, I was able to build amazing relationships with black women some who I refer to my sis til this day. At times I keep my guard up when meeting new people, but it all goes back to characater judgement.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! And thank you for reading! Yea, the type of setting and people’s character does make a difference. I’m glad you were able to build relationships with Black women in college! 😄

      Liked by 1 person

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