Yes, Black Women Can Get Along


(The Root) — On Monday night's episode of The Gossip Game, the Source magazine editor Kim Osorio shared with her husband that she was planning a roundtable with the show's cast to discuss hip-hop. She hoped that, unlike at previous gatherings with all the ladies, everyone would be on her best behavior and ready to play nice. Osorio's husband was immediately skeptical about the plans, insisting that there was no way a group of women could get together without descending into madness.

I've heard comments like the one from Osorio's husband more times than I can count. The idea that women, especially black women, are unable to get along is accepted as fact — an idea, of course, that's given credence by most reality-TV shows. To let them tell it, women are taking every opportunity to throw another woman a side-eye, and maybe even toss her under the bus, too.


And it's not just guys propagating this myth — yes, myth. I've heard plenty of women say something like, "I don't really hang out with girls because they're [insert a negative generalization of all women here]."

Every time I hear someone lumping all groups of women into the crazy, catty, petty, shifty or shady category, I think, "Huh? What type of women do you know?"

I won't pretend that I've never seen women exhibit catty behavior, never been on the receiving end of some petty remarks or even that I haven't made some myself. The worst moments stand out and had the possibility of leaving me, and other women, jaded and skeptical about womankind. However, overall, my experiences debunk the so-called rule about women's inability to get along. 

Maybe I've been fortunate, but when I think about my interactions with other women — yes, even in groups — my experience has been more positive, more sisterly and supportive, like on Living Single or Girlfriends, than anything showcased weekly on VH1 or talked about by sisterhood's naysayers.

I live within walking distance of three of my closest friends, none of whom I've had a spat with in about five years of friendship. We don't talk every day — we're adults with busy lives — but anytime there's good news to celebrate or bad news to wonder "WTH?" over, we all know the drill.

The one I call "my wife" opens her apartment for our gathering. Another, my "girlfriend," gets in the kitchen to cook up a big pot of comfort food. My "mistress" runs out to pick up a gift. The fourth — that's me — heads to the liquor store for the big bottle of sangria.


Earlier this week, a friend's father passed away. She, of course, was devastated. It was her sister-friend from college who was tracking down her friends-like-family to let everyone know what had occurred and keep us updated on the funeral arrangements.

When I showed up at her house to offer my condolences and just sit with my girl to keep watch, I discovered that I'd been beaten to the punch. There was already a pair of friends, actual sisters, holding her down with their presence and nurturing her with home-cooked food on the stove and wine in the fridge.


In retrospect, it's been an eventful week in sisterhood for me. Over the weekend, I ran into a woman with whom I was once incredibly close before we had a falling out over something I can't even recall now. There was no screaming or snarky goodbyes, just fewer phone calls and outings, until finally there were none.

It was an uncomfortable "hello" when I bumped into her at a party, but after a few awkward exchanges, we got to the heart of the matter. "You know if you ever needed anything, I'm still here, right?" she said. I told her I felt the same. We had a brief heart-to-heart in the middle of a day party, one that almost left me in (happy) tears over having finally fixed a tattered bridge that thankfully had not been burned.


As I write this, there's a woman sleeping on my couch. We "met" as Twitter friends years ago, and she suggested that I attend a conference. Turns out, there weren't any hotel rooms available, so she suggested that I room with her. After a quick reference check with mutual friends, I discovered that she was sane, so I took her up on the offer.

That was two years ago. We trekked to Austin, Texas, for another conference, South by Southwest, last month, and she's turned out to be one of my closest confidantes — so close that she can stop by for a visit, make herself at home and knock out on my sofa while I'm working. When we chat, we disagree over plenty of things, but drag-out arguments or knockdown fights? Never.


As women, we need to share more of our positive interactions with one another to debunk the myths about all of us being catty and confrontational. If you rack your brain and don't have any such moments to share, that says a lot more about you specifically than it does about women in general.

Editor's note: This column has been updated to reflect the fact that Kim Osorio appears on VH1's The Gossip Game, not Love & Hip Hop Atlanta.


Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor to The Root and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. Follow her on Twitter.