I cannot think of another time during my lifetime when labels mattered quite as much as they do now. As our world does the best it can at being progressive with the embrace of people of all colors, orientations, sizes, ages, and so on, more and more groups are compelled to raise their collective voices to place the spotlight on their cause, even for a brief time. It’s beautiful; the process through which a group of oppressed people gain enough attention to have official means taken to correct the bigotry or discrimination against them is a bright point along the timeline of humanity. Yet, it also has a residual effect of becoming such a feel-good that it trends, and once a cause becomes trendy, the free-for-all begins.
It’s what compels many non-black women to put on blackness like a costume to elevate themselves in certain spaces. It’s what many politicians are doing right now to secure minority votes. It’s what many men seem to be hiding behind in an effort to “come out,” all while insisting that they are still in fact heterosexual. You might also call it a biproduct of political correctness because we’ve become so fixated on not offending anybody that identities have now become fluid. People can be queer when they want, Latinx when they want, or identify with any political party they want, when they want.
For heterosexual black women, this fluidity is threatening. Our identities become undermined by the pressure that gets placed on us to invite everyone into our spaces. These same “guests” then seem to replace us in spaces where we should have no competition from those who are not like us, and the slippery slope of substitutions does long-term damage to the image of dark-skinned black women.