All of us black women are tired

It has pictures of three superstar athletes – tennis players Naomi Osakagymnast Simone Biles and track and field sprinter Sha’kari Richardson — with a sign that reads, “Don’t stress you all – black women everywhere.”

They are women of color (Osaka has a Japanese mother and a Haitian father while Biles and Richardson are African American) and have recently come into the limelight because of the decisions they have made to support their mental health.

These three also have something in common that I understand all too well – the struggles women of color face in self-care.

As I wrote in the caption of the meme I shared on Instagram, being a black woman is hard.

“We must save relationships, families, elections, communities, democracy, and basically the world while performing “black girl magic,” but you go crazy when we save ourselves? I wrote.” A New Day Welcome to the.”

The heavy burden is made worse by the fact that as black women, we are not socialized to give ourselves as much care as we are expected to give to others.

Black women are expected to be truly super women, from running the house to serving as emotional support for white men who want to be allies, but we need help figuring out how to get there. Go.

There’s an extra layer for black female athletes, who have to compete against more than just their opponents.

A 2018 study from Morgan State University in Baltimore titled “Beating Opponents, Battling Belittlement: How African-American Female Athletes Use Community to Navigate Negative Images” examined how they had to overcome both racism and sexism in order to be champions. should navigate.

For example, it was noted that Serena Williams – arguably the greatest tennis player in the world with more than 20 Grand Slam victories – has been compared to a “man” and a “gorilla”.

Radio host Don Imus called the players of the 2007 Rutgers women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hoes” after losing to the Tennessee team in the NCAA Finals.

Osaka, Biles and Richardson have been targets of racism and sexism in the past, but more recently.

Both Osaka and Biles pulled out of competitions to protect their mental health, and Richardson was disqualified from competition after testing positive for cannabis.

Richardson smoked marijuana legally in Oregon and explained that it happened after a journalist, who he did not know, reported the news of his mother’s death.

The trio has been criticized by some on social media as “abandoned,” “arrogant,” “lazy” and “irresponsible.” And these are the only words that deserve to be printed here.

Osaka withdrew from the 2021 French Open over controversy over not giving post-match interviews (she said it raised her concerns); Biles withdrew from competitions at this month’s Olympics to focus on her mental health. Richardson gracefully admitted Sanctions, which prevented her from competing in the Olympics (she tweeted “I’m sorry, I can’t be all of you Olympic champions this year but I promise I will be your world champions next year”).

All are giving a clear message: They are taking care of themselves.

This trio of athletes is younger than me and I truly believe they belong to a generation that has decided to prioritize their mental health over everything – haters be damned.

Each of them have already put in the work ethic that has propelled them to the top of their fields and they don’t let any of us at our own risk for their talents. They would not be champions, even if they were not.

A friend reached out privately to express anger that these women may not see fit to “push” and “do things” because we were raised (this friend and I are of the same generation).

On top of that, I would say that perhaps they have looked to older generations and seen that such a mindset can create physical, emotional and mental effects that are not worth it. What good is fame, fortune and medals if suffering is the toll to pay to get there?

So if you want, call it quits, skip or even break the rules. Whoever I say is winning.

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