50 Ways I See — Really See — Black Women

As a Black woman therapist and an anti-racist community advocate, I hear a lot. I’d like to acknowledge the sheer will and tenacity in the women I see.

Shanya Gray
ZORA
Published in
7 min readApr 26, 2021

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I’ve long reflected upon the unseen, inequitable experiences that Black women often talk about — sometimes in whispers and sometimes in lawsuits. These experiences are all macro- and microaggressions that shouldn’t happen yet happen over and over again.

As a Black, biracial therapist, educator, and anti-racist activist myself, I have come to recognize that these experiences are a result of Black women existing at the intersectionality of sexism and racism. All of it institutionalized, invisible, and a remnant of slavery.

The human toll of these stressors is immeasurable. Our minds, bodies, souls, success, wealth, and health rise and fall depending upon how other people treat us. We are not in control even though we try to be. Yet we cope. On one hand, one of the strengths of being a Black woman is that it allows me — allows us — to be seen as the cornerstone of the family, community, and society. On the other hand, this type of stress and expectation inevitably causes chronic exhaustion and the onset of physical and mental illnesses.

I work daily to see and acknowledge Black women in all of our glory and sometimes in our pain. Therapy helps. More money helps. Better health care helps. Better schools help. Less racism helps too. Until we achieve all these things? I see you, sista.

In everyday life, I see you…

1. To the Black woman who is struggling with depression but does not have time to seek care, I see you.

2. To the Black woman who was told by a teacher when she was little that she would never amount to anything but now you are successful, I see you.

3. To the Black woman who has internalized that she is not beautiful because she does not meet the Eurocentric views of beauty, I see you.

4. To the Black woman who is now in one of the most educated groups of people in the nation yet is constantly overlooked for high-level positions, I see you.

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Shanya Gray
ZORA
Writer for

I am an anti-racist, black/bi-racial educator, activist and therapist. I seek to bring equity awareness/education and ways of healing for people of color.