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Social Justice Leader Tamika Mallory Sheds Light On “The Invisible Black Women”
Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for REVOLT

Social Justice Leader Tamika Mallory Sheds Light On “The Invisible Black Women”

Real women share accounts where their credibility or mere presence was ignored as a Black woman.

Culture & Entertainment

As always, the most recent episode of Red Table Talk did not disappoint. The topic struck a nerve with the team here xoNecole in particular because we understand that Black women are beautifully capable beings that deserve the same respect that other demographics are handed, sometimes even undeservingly. Social justice leader Tameka Mallory joined the RTT hosts along with several Black women who have been ignored and mistreated—"The Invisible Black Women."


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Accounts varied but the core of all their stories was the same. One woman was on a Delta flight when a man had a medical emergency and she told the crew she was a doctor but was asked if she had her medical diploma with her. However, when a white male came forward and said he was a doctor, they didn't question his credentials at all.

Another woman went to the emergency room as she was four months pregnant and was bleeding. Doctors were dismissive of her in the emergency room and when they finally admitted her hours later the doctor said some pretty terrible things to her. The staff was dismissive of the pain she was experiencing and she ultimately had a miscarriage.

Whether on a scale this big or not, these experiences make us feel small and are sometimes life-threatening. Because sharing stories like these make us feel seen, we asked Black women in our circles for accounts where their intuition, credibility, or mere presence was ignored.

Below two xoNecole readers open up on what happened to them and how they handled this type of racism rarely talked about.

There Was a Very Clear Aura of ‘She's Being Dramatic’

"Similar to the Black women who have experienced neglect in hospital and medical settings, I've also felt ignored and disregarded in that way. Last year, I experienced a miscarriage. I had what doctors called a blighted ovum, which is essentially when a fertilized egg never develops into an embryo. It causes somewhat of a delayed miscarriage, and the day I arrived at the hospital, there was a very clear aura of 'she's being dramatic' when I first came through the emergency room doors doubled over in pain and being escorted via a wheelchair.

"The doctor assigned to me had to internally inspect me to check for hemorrhaging (severe bleeding), and I was in so much pain that she wasn't able to stick the tool where she needed to. It was traumatizing and agonizing, and she just kept rolling her eyes and sighing in frustration despite my pleas that I was in pain and that I wasn't purposefully tensing up, which prevented her from being able to do the inspection.

"Thankfully, a nurse was there (who appeared to be a Latina woman), and she held my hand and spoke to me with much more grace (this was at the peak of COVID, so no family was allowed into the hospital rooms with me). The doctor returned later a little more empathetic, but still very neglectful of the pain and general discomfort I was feeling. It was disappointing, hurtful, and honestly made me never want to go back to a hospital again." Diamond Alexis, 27, Journalist and Social Media Manager

She Was Dismissive, She Judged Me, and She Was Cold

"Unfortunately, I had a similar experience as the woman who had the miscarriage. I went into an emergency room because I was eight weeks pregnant and at 4 a.m. on a Thursday morning I started bleeding. I knew what was happening and went to the nearest hospital. I told them my situation but there was no sense of urgency. I was sitting in the waiting room bleeding, crying and thinking the worst.

"My mother had to ask why we were waiting so long to come to find out this hospital had no OBGYN department and the ultrasound tech wouldn't be in for another hour. I got up to leave and some security guard, a black man, told me I might as well stay because they're going to charge me. I was disgusted, needless to say, they called me right after he made that comment.

"I went to the room to get an ultrasound and waited on results. The doctor, who was a white woman, asked questions as if it was impossible for a black woman in her thirties to only have been pregnant once or to have never had an abortion. She was dismissive, she judged me, and she was cold delivering the news."

"I did have a miscarriage and that experience made everything I was going through worse. Not to mention, I was waiting for my mom to get the car and the security guard told me I couldn't sit in the waiting room. I'm losing my first child, in pain physically and emotionally, and from beginning to end during this hospital visit I felt ignored and unseen." —Amiyah Deziire, Radio Personality/Motivator/Writer

Featured image by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for REVOLT

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It’s worth reading on your own to get the full breadth of all the foolery that transpired. But the Twitter discourse it inspired on what could lead a successful Black woman to accept lower than bare minimum in pursuit of a relationship and marriage, made me think of the years of messaging that Black women receive about how our standards are too high and what we have to “bring to the table” in order to be "worthy" of what society has deemed is the ultimate showing of our worth: a marriage to a man.

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The 2000s were a particularly bleak time to be a single Black woman. Much of the messaging –created by men – that surrounded Black women at the time blamed their desire for a successful career and for a partner that matched their drive and ambition for the lack of romance in their life. Statistics about Black women’s marriageability were always wielded against Black women as evidence of our lack of desirability.

It’s no wonder then that a man that donned a box cut well into the 2000s was able to convince women across the nation to not have sex for the first three months of a relationship. Or that a slew of other Black men had their go at telling Black women that they’re not good enough and why their book, seminar, or show will be the thing that makes them worthy of a Good Man™.

This is how we end up marrying men who cancel twice before taking us on a “date” in the Popeyes parking lot, or husbands writing social media posts about how their Black wife is not “the most beautiful” or “the most intelligent” or the latest season of trauma dumping known as Black Love on OWN.

Now that I’ve reached my late twenties, many things about how Black women approach dating and relationships have changed and many things have remained the same. For many Black women, the idea of chronic singleness is not the threat that it used to be. Wanting romance doesn’t exist in a way that threatens to undermine the other relationships we have with our friends, family, and ourselves as it once did, or at least once was presented to us. There is a version of life many of us are embracing where a man not wanting us, is not the end of what could still be fruitful and vibrant life.

There are still Black women out there however who have yet to unlearn the toxic ideals that have been projected onto us about our worthiness in relation to our intimate lives. I see it all the time online. The absolute humiliation and disrespect some Black women are willing to stomach in the name of being partnered. The hoops that some Black women are willing to jump through just to receive whatever lies beneath the bare minimum.

It's worth remembering that there are different forces at play that gather to make Black women feast off the scraps we are given. A world saturated by colorism, fatphobia, anti-Blackness, ableism, and classism will always punish Black women who demand more for themselves. Dismantling these systems also means divesting from any and everything that makes us question our worth.

Because truth be told, Black women are more than worthy of having a love that is built on mutual respect and admiration. A love that is honey sweet and radiates a light that rivals the sun. A love that is a steadying calming force that doesn’t bring confusion or anxiety. Black women deserve a love that is worthy of the prize that we are.

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Featured image: Getty Images

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