Black women have never entered the world without crossing an intersection.
Race, class, gender, sexuality- Black women have always had to navigate social barriers like a deadly highway. These social barriers zooming toward us all at once.
And Vice President Kamala Harris crossed them all. So, this moment is bittersweet because Looking at Kamala reminds me of all the debris that cluttered that already dangerous highway. All the stereotypes reaching out to grab her. She had to be untouched.
You don’t get to be a Vice President Kamala Harris without the world scrutinizing you. Without the world reminding you at every intersection in life that this isn’t the place nor time for you.
Vice President Kamala Harris had to be perfect! Good grades, short relationship history, best colleges, present father, just the right amount of sex appeal, the perfect hairstyle, no baby daddies, no thick accent, no “just being young with a whole life ahead of her.” They searched her background like the FBI did Hillary’s emails.
The Concrete Ceiling
Scholars Cotter, Hermsen, Ovadia and Vanneman (2001) defined the glass ceiling as “the unseen, yet unbreachable barrier preventing minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder despite their qualifications and achievements” (p. 656).
At least they were able to see you.
The problem with the glass ceiling is that it only sees gender. It refuses to reflect shades of color.
“Particularly for Black women, this glass ceiling is transformed into a cement roof and is even harder to shatter because it combines the effects of racism and sexism” (Davidson, 1997).
At least they were able to look down at you.
So, Vice President Kamala Harris had to break through slabs of concrete and then layers of piercing glass. Vice President Kamala Harris had to be without a blemish. Vice President Kamala Harris not only had to be good enough as a Black person. She not only had to be good enough as a woman. She had to be “thrice” as good. Kamala Harris had to be better than good enough as a Black woman, a dangerous intersection to exist within, in this world. On this intersecting highway, Vice President Kamala Harris was presented with standards that men nor white women ever had to face. There was, literally, no room for mistakes, no room for flaws. Can you imagine all the ways in which they tried to dismiss her? All the ways they tried to steal her magic?
Yet, Vice President Kamala Harris prevailed in the same spirit of Black women everywhere. Vice President Kamala Harris’s fight is the everyday battle of Black women in positions of power around the globe. That battleground of perfection is our daily struggle.
So, it hurts to know that she had to look to her left and right before crossing the street. She wasn’t afforded a watch guard with a sign and reflector belt, someone defending and protecting her God-given right to cross the street like rich white kids in suburban neighborhoods.
But the beautiful part about this is the fact that she mufuccin’ did! Vice President Kamala Harris crossed every intersection, intersections originated not just to deter her but to harm her. A Black woman did that! Vice President Kamala Harris proved that while that intersection is dangerous, it is fierce and beautiful.
Even with the world zooming past her, charging to knock her over, Vice President Harris did something Black girls could only imagine in their wildest fucking dreams.
It is 2020, and America just elected its first woman vice president of The United States, and she’s Black!
This teaches us one thing. Dreams are privileges because you don’t get to even conjure up self ideas that you don’t see. Little Black girls now will grow up and understand Black excellence as normative and not the exception.
And in case you need reminding, little Black girls deserve the right to dream.
Vice President Kamala Harris, I am indebted to you for rising and falling in the dreams of my unborn child. I’m indebted to you because I know what it cost you to be where you are. I trust you because I know that you sacrificed your freedom to show the world what an unapologetic Black woman looks like.