Dear Black Women,
I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the pain you’ve endured. I’m sorry for the sexual abuse. I’m sorry for the physical abuse. I’m sorry for the emotional abuse. I’m sorry for the way racism has taught us that having lighter skin is better than having darker skin. I’m sorry for the way the Black community has helped to engrave this into your psyches. I’m sorry for the love lost. I’m sorry for the love you never received.
I’m sorry for the continuous cycle of abuse. I’m sorry for the men who preyed on you and introduced you to sex way too early. I’m sorry for rallying behind black men and pushing you into the shadows. I’m sorry for shouting that black male lives matter louder than shouting that your lives matter just the same.
I’m sorry for all the initiatives put into place for saving our black boys while negating that your lives needed a “saving” initiative as well. I’m sorry that our Elders called you fast when you were trying to navigate into womanhood. I’m sorry we blamed you for your own rape and molestation. I’m sorry we condemn the way you dress as young girls, making you believe that if you dress a certain way it will better help men to focus on other things instead of you. I’m sorry we protect and love our boys while forcing so called tough love on you.
I’m sorry for your tears. I’m sorry that you sprouted breasts, hips and ass by the time you were a preteen and were beaten because strange men and even men in your own families started to look at you sexually. I’m sorry for the uncles, male cousins, grandfathers, fathers, and male family friends who raped and molested you. I’m sorry we make you prove he raped you, and that you didn’t deserve it, instead of making him prove he isn’t a rapist.
I’m sorry for being an awful friend for the first twenty-eight years of my life. I’m sorry I was taught to see you as the enemy and as competition. I’m sorry for seeing your colorful hair, long nails, and African-American vernacular as ghetto. I’m sorry for making fun of the way you speak and correcting you because I felt I spoke the “proper” English.
I’m sorry for entertaining your husbands and boyfriends. I’m sorry for thinking I could be happy by causing you pain. I’m sorry for gossiping about you and then crying when someone did the same to me. I’m sorry for the jokes the other black kids made about you being black and ugly with nappy hair. I’m sorry for seeing your light skin and wishing I could be you for a day.
I apologize for teaching you to love and protect the men who hated you. I apologize for it taking me so long to admit to these painful truths. I apologize for not loving you enough. I apologize for not supporting you more. I apologize for wishing you’d dim your light so mine could shine brighter. I apologize for allowing men to come between us. I apologize for ignoring your depression and calling you crazy. I apologize for the internalized misogynoir that it took me years to realize. I apologize for making you choose your blackness over being a woman. I apologize for my ignorance in my youth that caused me to condemn you to “hell” because you were gay. I apologize for missing some things in this letter that I should be apologizing for.
I’m not asking you to forgive me, because for so long you’ve been asked to “turn the other cheek”.The best apology is changed behavior so… I just want to apologize…
Nikki Michelle is an author and writer. Pick up a copy of her latest book Bi-Satisfied. Connect with Nikki on @NikkiMichelle84. Leave your thoughts below on this article.