The Cultural Identity Of The Strong Black Woman

2874 Words12 Pages
“ I hang my head from sorrow/ State of humanity/ I wear it on my shoulders/ Gotta find the strength in me/’Cause I am a Superwoman/ Yes I am, yes she is/ Still when I 'm a mess, I still put on a vest/ With a S on my chest/ Oh yes, I 'm a Superwoman- Alicia Keys, Superwoman Alicia Keys is reiterating an identity that is universally accepted by most African-American women (Harris-Perry 184). This is the cultural identity of the Strong Black Woman (SBW): self-reliant, tough, and hardworking. Stuart Hall defines cultural identities as, “[A] sort of collective ‘one true self’, hiding inside the many other, more superficial or artificially imposed ‘selves’, which many people shared history and ancestry hold in common” (Hall 223). SBW is a self-construction manifested by black women in the Americas. It is used a coping mechanism in response to pervasive sexism and racism. The SBW construct dates back to slavery because the image projects traits of all three stereotypes established during the era of slavery: She looks like the Mammy but is loyal to the black community; She does not require physical and emotional security from men, thus, she resembles the Jezebel; She is angry, just like the Sapphire (Harris-Perry 187). This paper unveils the unfavorable impact of the Strong Black Woman (SBW) cultural identity in the Americas. The argument is centered on the effect of this cultural image on the private sphere, public sphere, and the health of black women. The paper also proposes
Get Access