Henson thinks these phrases are dangerous because they minimize the pain of black women and suggest that they can overcome everything, including even the murders of their loved ones on the streets.
What might have been perceived initially as a declaration of power for black women took on a different meaning for Taraji P. Henson , who was often slapped with the label “strong black woman”.
It has also been labeled with the notion of “black girl magic,” but the winning star of the Empire Golden Globe actually sees these labels as damaging to black women and the black community as a whole.
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Perpetuating this image of a strong black woman, said Henson in an interview through Essence Welfare House ” dehumanizes our pain.” It depreciates our tears. It minimizes our pain. We are supposed to be able to watch our brothers and sons and fathers being murdered on the street, but we can bear it because we are strong. ”
“We can cope with it, we can manage it,” she said. “And it’s just not true. “
By dehumanizing them, it means that this deprives them of the permission to be human, to suffer like everyone else, to be vulnerable. As she says, it separates black women from the human race and places them almost like something from another world.
“We are not fairies. We don’t magically bounce back from the pain, ”she said. “We suffer and suffer like the others. “
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Another example of how this perception hurts black women and black culture in general, according to Henson, is what happens when black women are in the hospital or in the emergency room.
Black women tend to have their pain eased by hospital staff because “we can take it, or we are tough.” As a result, they may not get the tests, treatment or medication they need as quickly as a patient of another ethnicity.
She cited the example of Serena Williams, who “had a near death experience because what? She saw that she was tough, she is a strong black woman. “