Black Women “Holding it Down” is Killing Us.

Black Women “Holding it Down” is Killing Us.

How all the stress black women face wears on our health

Author : Christelyn Karazin

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Christelyn is married with four children.

We’re the only women in America who are PRAISED for working like slavery is still legal, while raising children virtually alone with no support, told by our parents, extended family and friends that we need to get an education and support ourselves, not out of self-actualization, BUT out of PURE FEAR.  Our parents tell us to be self-sufficient, because you can bet you’ll have to go life alone, meet someone long enough to procreate with, then eventually said person goes POOF! for a variety of reasons (proven; so don’t even bother trying to dispute it).  We’re also told that while we do EVERYTHING, we should let our men lead, whether he works or not, is abusive or not, lazy or not, a cheater or not, and terrible business man or not, or a baby-mamma creator or not.

And now (and probably always) all this stress is taking a physical toll on our bodies.  They even have a name for it: Sojourner syndrome.


Despite improvements in many aspects of health, African American women experience early onset of disease and disability and increased mortality because of health disparities. African American women experience stress and health disadvantages because of the interaction and multiplicative effects of race, gender, class, and age. Sojourner Syndrome is an illustrative and symbolic representation that describes the multiple roles and social identities of African American women on the basis of historical referents and adaptive behaviors that fostered survival and resilience under oppressive circumstances. Adaptive behaviors also precipitated health risks due to chronic active coping. Weathering describes the cumulative health impact of persistent stress and chronic active coping that contributes to early health deterioration and increased morbidity, disability, and mortality in African American women. An emancipatory knowing nursing perspective provides a viewpoint from which to examine social injustices that create conditions for the excessive health burdens experienced by African American women and to frame nursing actions that create opportunities to promote health and eliminate health disparities.

What the cuss is it going to take for us to realize that we are being duped, hoodwinked, sold down the river, beguiled, cheated and tricked out of our RIGHT to be feminine?  I’m seriously spitting nails at my Mac right now, because “The Black Woman’s Burden” (aka Sojourner syndrome) is not new.  It has ALWAYS been a matter of our very survival to take on so much.  And then, during the late 1960′s the culture shift turned against what some folks called the matriarchy-led black society, and said it was now time for the men to lead–regardless of whether or not they were equipped enough to do so.

Now, I’m not against a man taking the lead.  Especially if he’s bringing in the dough, makes good decisions–first for himself, then for me and his family– isn’t foolhardy and wants to spend our life’s savings on some ill-researched business venture.  In other words, I’ll let you lead if you DESERVE TO BE FOLLOWED.  Period; end of sentence.

Wake up.  Just…wake up.

Black ladies, don’t think I’m giving you a pass.  You must empower yourself and understand that you don’t have to passively WAIT for any old piece of man to show interest in you, then accept whatever scraps he gives you.  And there is NOTHING, I repeat NOTHING, wrong with choosing a mate who is financially capable to supporting you at least temporarily while you bear his children WITHIN wedlock.  Every other race of women teaches their girls to do this.  Animals INSTINCTIVELY know this.

Some of us need some serious de-programming.  You CAN choose.  You have a RIGHT to be loved by a emotionally healthy man.  It is not gold-digging to want someone who is educated and gainfully employed.  It is not your burden to help him raise his 50-11 kids out of wedlock.  You are not a bitch.  You are not a trick.  You are not a ho.  You are a woman.  A WOMAN.

Special thanks to Eliss for bringing this study to my attention.

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User Comments

  1. JoeClyde
    July 25, 2011

    This post jumps all over the place. From single moms. To single professional women. To attractive gold diggers.

    Regardless of your situation. It will always boil down to choice. I know the pseudo BWE hates that word. But honestly. If they spent less time demonizing black men, and more time truly empowering women with freedom of choice. Then they would probably get somewhere.

    You do not have to have a child. That is solely your decision. Which you can control. There is way too many pre, and post birth controls. For any woman to complain about being a single mother. If you are a single mother. You have to take some blame for making a poor decisions. Now. A dead beat is a dead beat. But It’s interesting how one guy can have 5 kids with 3 different women. As if these women didn’t know about each other. Come on now.

    Where is it written that Black women are solely supposed to marry a black man or vice versa. So instead of lamenting why are all these women single. Then pointing the finger solely at Black men. Sorry. If you are single. That is because of ALL men. Not black me. People are only as loyal as their options.

    Last but not least. Workout. Sad but true. A lot of young 16-36 year old Black women refuse to workout. Because of HAIR. That is ridiculous. Hopefully the Natural movement will catch on, and more Black women will incorporate physical fitness. Into their weekly regiment. Now saying that Black women are fat because of Black men. That is a weak excuse for a lazy weak woman. That is not strong.

    Down with the Black man blaming, and Up with the power of positive decision making. Have a great day.


  2. Lorraine
    July 26, 2011

    If you have a problem with this forum, why waste your time here? You are not adding constructive criticism, just bitter insults at bw. Of course everything comes down to choice, but when you have been indoctrinated by society or the greater bc telling you to stand by a bm no matter how sorry, judgement can be clouded. That doesn’t absolve from responsibility and consequences of bad choices, but it offers an explanation.

    You have said the same things over and over about bw (gold diggers, fat, lazy. etc.) Yet ww in the same situation have no problems attracting black men like you. I have seen this and it is known fact when all we have to do is look around. I bet you are not even sincere about hoping more bw going natural (so they incorporate working out into their lives)??? Really? WT????? First of all, you have something negative to say when they are natural giving preference to weave wearing ww among other things. How many bw have you sincerely volunteered to be a personal trainer to in order to lessen the obesity factor? Yeah I thought so, all talk. I bet you help out the wws in the gym where you work out and turn your nose up at the sister trying to get into shape.

    A secure, informed bm has no problems with these forums and messages because he knows truth is being spoken and that he is not one of the many guilty of the truths spoken here. If you notice, several bm are on board with the NWNW message. They don’t want to see their daughters fall into the trap that single motherhood can bring. They are responsible men who when they themselves have exercised poor judgement stand up and take responsibility for their part. Lots of great bm out there and they don’t go around belittling and blaming bw for all of their ills in society. Unfortunately one bad apple spoils the bunch and the bad bm have tainted the reputations of upstanding bm who uplift bw.

    Back to the post. It is on point and nowhere is there a blanket “black man blaming.” She holds bw responsible for their part but you can’t see that because of your intense disdain for bw. Don’t try to deny it, you hate us but that’s ok. Your kind has done more harm to bw and children than almost anything they could face in a racist society. In the words of a great bm Judge Joe Brown whose mission is to protect womanhood and promote manhood, “Go get you some man-training, son.” Come back when you grow up and work through your hatred of bw and have something positive and uplifting to say. This forum is for them, not you. Be gone!


    • joeclyde
      July 26, 2011

      You seem to be really stuck on White Women. Get over it. I’m not with a White woman. I have never been with a White woman. I have no desire to be with a White woman. White is not some ultimate goal. Unlike some people try to make it seem.

      I am dating a Natural Black woman now. I go to the Gym regularly. All is see is NATURAL black women working out. I see Tons of fat weave wearing Black women on the streets. You do the math. You don’t need a personal trainer. You could walk around the block or your high school track. 50+ Black women do it all of the time. It is just the 18-40 year old Black women. That you need a court order to get them to the gym.

      A Black man the truly loves Black women. Doesn’t want them to be indoctrinated with Bullcrap and whining all day long. We stood by and allowed this to happen in the 90′s. Why? Because we were “secure”. A lot of good that did. If we shut that down earlier. Maybe more black woman would be happier, and more responsible. No matter who they choose to date.

      It is not belittling to tell a woman. That she has the power to say no. It is belittling to tell her that she isn’t responsible for her life. Funny the loser Black men seem to have no issue going after the “good” girls. They seem to easily know the difference. But somehow, you mean to tell me that some black women are incapable of doing the same? Who is belittling whom?

      I don’t hate black women. I know that is just a sheild that SOME black women have. Because they believe the hype about Black men running to Non-BW. Sorry. I love my GF. We will get married, House, kids, vacations, etc. She is natural and dark skinned. I hope I have all girls.

      Take responsibility for your life and stop looking for others to do it for you.

      Have a nice day.


      • Kai
        August 31, 2011

        I wear extensions, weaves, permed hair and that has NEVER stopped me from working out and I’m 26 years old. I also believe with all of the pre and post birth control methods out here in the world there is NO reason for women to have children without them wanting them. But the message of NWNW does need to be spread out into the black communities where young girls and even some women are just not getting the message.