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?
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