By: Ekemini Uwan
“What would become of you then?
What if, poof, every black female in the world
Your man-child left unattended
Lost without no one behind the steering wheel
Tell me, hmm
C'mon, how would that make you feel?”
Tired and tried. Forgotten and forsaken. Despised and denigrated. Used and abused. In the famous words of our ancestor Fannie Lou Hamer, “I’m [we’re] sick and tired of being sick and tired.”We are expected to saw, sand, and assemble the table, yet we are barred from taking a seat at the very table we built. When we attempt to take our rightful place, we are met with bemusement and incredulity from those who harbor nothing but contempt for us, as if we are absurd for seeking to occupy the space we created. Time and again, when election season arrives, we hear these tired and trite refrains from white liberals and their conservative cousins who exclaim, “We dodged a bullet!” “Black women saved us.” But when a bullet is dislodged from the chamber, it must penetrate or graze something or someone.
The questions are: who is taking the hit? Who is grazed by the bullet?
Angela Davis taught us saying, “Black women have had to develop a larger vision of our society than perhaps any other group. They have had to understand white men, white women, and Black men. And they have had to understand themselves. When black women win victories, it is a boost for virtually every segment of society.” Black women are not America’s saviors. We are not your superwomen. We are not your magical negroes. To deify us is to dehumanize us. To exalt us beyond our human station is to strip us of our agency. No one but the God who created us owns us, and only He is worthy of exaltation.
Read: Matthew 11:28-30
At this time, the religious leaders were oppressing people by requiring them to do more than the Old Testament law required. They held others to standards that they themselves would not uphold. So it is for us—Black women—in America, for we are oppressed with heavy burdens. Brother Malcolm said, “The most disrespected woman in America, is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America, is the black woman.” While this is our reality, insult to injury is added when Black women are expected to put the entire country on their backs when they enter the voting booth.
We are not the mules of this world. Our backs are not bridges to liberation. The load has proven too heavy for us, but there is One who carries it. Hear the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, a balm for our weary souls: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
Let us enter into this divine exchange. The only cost is our complete trust in the sufficiency of Christ. Faith is an invitation to rest in the Savior of the world. We can relinquish this burdensome title that the world perpetually places on us. The rest that we have in Christ now is a foretaste of the eternal rest we will experience upon His Second Advent. Sistas, come lay down the burdens you have carried. Rest awaits you.
Grant us the rest we so desperately need. By your grace teach us that boundaries protect what is sacred. Help us joyfully partake of the easy and light yoke Jesus offers as He takes on our heavy burdens. Faith is an invitation to rest in You. Help us to experience this sabbath rest You promise to Your children. Amen.
Recommended Reading: Women, Race, & Class by Angela Y. Davis