• Aya Miller

Why are Black women still ‘the most disrespected person in America’?

Aya Miller, Freelance contributor for The Run.


Why are Black women still ‘the most disrespected person in America’?

Malcolm X proclaimed the most disrespected, neglected, and unprotected person in America is the Black woman in a speech made in 1962. Now, 48 years later, why is this fact still true?


The answer lies in the questions Malcolm X posed before he spoke those famous words.

"Who taught you to hate the color of your skin?” he asked. “Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lips? Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet?"

Since then, our hatred of Blackness has evolved into something, arguably, more sinister.


The physique Black women are genetically predisposed to is lauded by many (i.e. the Kardashians) and recreated through different forms of plastic surgery. But Black women who naturally have the physique are derided and labeled too masculine or dog-like. This dehumanization carries over into how Black women are treated on a larger scale.


Black women are expected to be strong and bear racism and sexism. The expectation of strength has become so ingrained in our culture that even if a Black woman speaks out about these injustices, she’s ignored.

Female rapper, Megan Thee Stallion

Black men also contribute to the discrimination of Black women. A prime example is the shooting of Megan Thee Stallion over the summer. The rapper first shared images of her injuries and the story behind the shooting on Instagram after jokes circulated around the internet; “It’s not funny,” she said. “I didn’t deserve to get shot.”

It’s easy to wonder whether the public reaction would’ve been different if Megan Thee Stallion was substituted for a white female singer or an artist who more closely aligned with western beauty standards. In a country ruled by whiteness, the humanity of Black women is erased because we have Black skin, kinky hair, and big lips.


As seen in Megan Thee Stallion’s case, Black men can also propagate violence and hatred against Black women. This comes in many forms, one of which is the refusal to acknowledge how Black men may consciously or unconsciously be contributing to the disenfranchisement of Black women.


For women, western beauty standards have dictated anyone who is not white, doesn’t have straight hair, or white features is less beautiful and therefore less valuable. The notion is so ingrained in our culture that Black people must actively remind themselves Black is beautiful. Otherwise, self-hatred can develop and grow unnoticed. This implicit hatred is what Malcolm X was referencing and it has not gone away.


If you want to protect Black women, listen to us. Actively praise and promote our beauty, intellect, and sensitivity, because Black women have been disrespected, neglected, and unprotected for far too long.


Twitter: @Ayamiller22

Instagram: @Ayathetigerrr

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