I’m sure it is tempting, but can folks please avoid that comfy cliché, “a star is born,” to describe what’s happening now with California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris?
First, as we know, Harris is a mature black woman.
It is not at all unreasonable to say that being a mature black woman in 2017 usually entails a few key personality traits and behavioral responses, all of which I personally view as positive (disclosure: I, too, am a mature black woman), including having:
- A finely tuned nose and ear for b.s.,
- A heightened sense of ethics,
- A low threshold for disrespectful language and conduct, and
- Epic intellectual and physical prowess and stamina when it comes to mastering subjects and handling family issues.
There are more traits, and none of us are exactly the same. But it is fair to say that black women of a certain age tend to exhibit and prize these characteristics—I actually prefer to think of them as “super powers”—for a host of reasons, most of which are derived from our historic position on the low end of America’s social and economic totem pole.
Thus are our super powers by now multifaceted. In terms of how they are deployed, this covers the spectrum from stealthy to blatant, from a carefully worded nice-nasty memo emailed to one’s underperforming staff at the job, to a dagger-sharp side eye shot strategically at the assistant principal who has called you in to discuss why your 8-year-old daughter was so “aggressive” in insisting that Chaddington Whiteson shut up and let her finish talking during class.
The main thing to know is that these aren’t the stereotypical, cartoonish caricatures of Loud-Mouthed, Pushy Black Women™ that are so beloved and feared by some white people (men and women). They are, in fact, exemplary of updated survival skills…