I have been joining a group of women at Clubhouse and we are having room conversations every Monday. One of our topics was Imposter Syndrome. The idea of ‘IS’ never really sat well with my soul. It felt like we were saying that we are imagining what is happening around us or things are just happening in our heads.
Do black people have ‘IS’ or is something else going on. But Is it all in our heads? If there are barriers?
We live in a country that we build with the absence of respect and acknowledgment of the magnitude of our contributions. The levels of oppression woven into our daily existence are profoundly real.
To remain safe we are conditioned to keep our heads down and just do the work we need to do to survive another day. Navigating this along with our conditioning can give us a particular disposition.
We have to examine the reality we deal with to fully understand my question.
I am not at all saying that is it not a real syndrome it may be but I don’t know if it is our syndrome as Black Women.
Yes, we all have opportunities in front of us. And if we work hard, well we get there, highly possible. Does everyone have these opportunities? Yes. We can all become a doctor or a mogul or a teacher or even open a coffee shop.
Why are of all doctors only 2% of all doctors are Black Women doctors? It’s not about the opportunity. Because the schools are there, everyone fills out the same application but are the answers to the questions the same for everyone. Each answer represents the road to medical school.
Black women make 63 cents to every dollar a white man makes. Many are on a single income. That makes paying for university difficult and complicated.
The wage gaps are a systemic issue that impacts our road in many ways. From where we live to how we live. Because affordability of our dreams has a mighty cost.
I recall when I started in the beauty industry, I wanted to become a national educator. Stand on the big stages, educate the big crowds and make the big money. My road to my dream was more challenging because of my skin color.
I would analyze everything about the haircuts. I wanted to go to one of his advanced educational centers but my family couldn’t afford to send me and there were no scholarships. His school was in London and the sheer idea of learning from him got me high. It was a dream deferred for a young black girl from the Midwest.
To become his peer was pure fantasy and a beacon for my career in the hair industry. But my road, with my talent, gifts, and drive was not the same as my white peers.
The cognitive dissidence of understanding the depths of systemic racism has us clinging to the idea that imposter syndrome is our plight. It’s not. It’s a way to bypass the real monster because of its penetrating pain which becomes toxins in our DNA.
The full understanding of what I am saying is that Black Women do not specifically have imposter syndrome. We have what I call, Systemic Racism Syndrome. It is very real and is carried through generations.
Systemic Racism is a visible and invisible boundary that is threaded in the tapestry of this nation conditioning us to shrink our brilliance to be safe and accepting. We feel like we don’t belong, not because we imagine it, but because through actions and oppression we have been told that we do not belong.
We are constantly pushing past but a system designed to hold us back. But through it all, we continue to move forward navigating past doors and building our roads. It is a difficult challenge that quite frankly is harming us in insurmountable ways. This is why radical self-care is imperative. We must shift our focus and center ourselves to bring harmony and release that dis… ease of racism.
Our resilience as Black Women is our superpower but to fully flower in our gifts and purpose we must fully comprehend the blocks in our way and move past internalizing them as imposter syndrome.
Because it’s real, Sis.
Founder, Black Women Amplified
Chief Strategist, Bold New Moves