What makes a Black woman a good wife? The list of “rules” for her to follow is long. But where do these ideas of what a “good wife” looks like come from?
Commentators like Steve Harvey sell countless books breaking down exactly what Black women have to do to be “respectable” enough to land a man.
Sadly, their advice - which is usually about being submissive and denying their sexuality - has a much longer, much more racist history.
Since before slavery, white people viewed Black women as over-sexual, “angry,” sub-human savages compared to white women. These stereotypes persist today.
Today’s “rules” require Black women to tone themselves down, conform to white beauty standards, lower their voices, and minimize their sexualities. They’re responses to these same stereotypes! They’re essentially saying, “a good Black woman is more like a white woman.”
The stereotypes also apply to men. They say Black men are violent and have uncontrollable sexualities, and so can’t be loyal.
They’re told masculinity depends on violence and controlling women, and they should be threatened if she has independence. These are all racist beliefs - especially the lie that non-Black or light-skinned women make better wives!
Instead of holding our people to racist, stereotypical standards, we can instead love and appreciate ourselves for exactly who we are! We can support loving, equal partnerships and thrive all together!