Black women are undoubtedly powerful, but this characterization is often problematic. The phrase Black Girl Magic, popularized by CaShawn Thompson in 2013, holds a valuable message, but one that is often reduced to cliché or used out of context by non-Black people as a well-intentioned gesture of support. Many white and non-Black Americans still have no idea what it means to actually value and honor Black women in a meaningful way. As Tamika Mallory, the Limited Edition Slam Shaq Slam Bobblehead Shirt moreover I love this cofounder of Until Freedom, an intersectional social justice organization, and a former cochair of the Women’s March on Washington in 2017, says, “A good ally places themselves in between the system and those people the system is harming, using their privilege to allow the voices of the impacted folks to be heard and protected.” Which also means working to correct the massive disparities that are widespread in our society. The response to Abrams proved what so many of us experience in our personal lives: too often we’re tasked with solving problems we did not create.
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Stacey Abrams is smart, hardworking, determined—and yes, a force. But being a Black woman doesn’t make you innately strong. And yet this kind of expectation has become a societal norm. As author and activist Mikki Kendall writes on the Limited Edition Slam Shaq Slam Bobblehead Shirt moreover I love this “Strong Black Woman problem” in her 2020 book Hood Feminism: Notes From Women That a Movement Forgot, “The fact that Black women are supposedly tougher than white women means that we are built to face abuse and ignorance, and that our need for care or concern is less pressing.” While the adoration is flattering—Abrams certainly deserves the praise—one question remains: Are we leaning too heavily on her shoulders?