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It struck some people as an oxymoron. They couldnā€™t wrap their minds around how the words ā€œblack womenā€ and ā€œprivilegeā€ were being used in the same sentenceĀ in this article, let alone how they were being used to describe anything having to do with the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. ThatĀ IĀ saidĀ Brownā€™s death made me more aware of the privileges I hold as a black woman seemed ā€œahistoricalā€ to some readers and treasonous to others.

Theyā€”understandablyā€”wanted me to make mention of how we black women, too, are subjected to police brutality, and how we are often on the receiving end of senseless acts of violence inflicted upon us by ordinary civilians. TakeĀ Renisha McBrideā€™s death in Detroit,Ā Marissa Alexanderā€™s ordealĀ down in Florida, orĀ Marlene Pinnock, the middle-aged woman who was pummeled on the side of a California highway by a white cop. Josie Pickens, writing atĀ The Root,Ā summed up these sentimentsĀ here, asserting that the degree to which black people protest about injustices committed against black men is often much more heightened, visible and impassioned than it is when the victims are women.This disparity, she argued, created a false sense of security among black women and could even put us in danger.Ā 

Taking intoĀ consideration all of the responsesā€”and recognizing the many harms suffered by black women in this countryĀ because of racism, sexism and, while weā€™re at it, sexual orientationā€”I still maintain that I enjoy certain benefits as a woman that evade black men. One commentator contributed to the discussion in an interesting way, tweeting, ā€œWhile many [black females] would have [black men] admit to patriarchy, they rarely consider the privilege of being alive.ā€ Another woman who shared my point of view said, ā€œI think my black female privilege has allowed me to challenge authority with zero fear of execution.ā€

Iā€™m curious about what is behind what felt like a gag order issued by some commenters on any reference to the advantages I believeĀ IĀ enjoy as a black woman.Ā I reject theĀ presumption that black women are somehow negating the trials and tribulations we experience when we speak about, and acknowledge, the advantages that our gender affords us. Does black culture even allow us the space and agency to explore the upsides of our black womanhood?Ā 

InĀ The Root TVĀ video below,Ā IĀ discuss some of these ideas with editorial fellowĀ Diamond Sharp:

Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer atĀ The RootĀ and the founder and executive producer ofĀ Lectures to Beats,Ā a Web series that features expert advice for TV and filmā€™s most complex characters. FollowĀ Lectures to BeatsĀ onĀ FacebookĀ andĀ Twitter.