Chapter 6

Strength: Precious Mettle

In the summer 2014 issue of Bitch magazine,1 I wrote about a stereotype that both buoys and burdens black women. With shades of Sapphire’s hardness, the myth embodies the idea of African American women as perpetually tough and uniquely indestructible.

Strong. Black. Woman.

The words fit together like Blue Magic, sizzling hot combs, and Sunday afternoon.

We are the fighters and the women who don’t take shit from no man. We are the sassy women with the sharp tongues and hands firmly on our hips. We are the ride-or-die chicks. We are the women who have, like Sojourner Truth, “plowed and planted and gathered into barns and no man could head me.” We are the mothers who make a way out of no way. On TV, we are the ...

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