Not Your Sassy Black Sidekick7/09/2014
What is a sassy black sidekick? Past and present television shows have used this trope to relegate black women to a sidekick position whose...
What is a sassy black sidekick? Past and present television shows have used this trope to relegate black women to a sidekick position whose primary function is to entertain, act as the butt of a joke, or be an accessory.
If the black character expresses emotions of her own, it is portrayed as comic relief from the more serious issues facing the “dominant” character. Plainly, the issues of the black woman are trivialized and reduced to a punchline in the media, as well as reality.
Often told we have a bad attitude, are bitter, and are being aggressive compared to non-black women. This is one of the many ways black women are labeled as the aggressor
When black women vent their frustrations at not being taken seriously, we are told we are overreacting. In reality, most of us have been there: minding our own business, chatting with associates in a non-black space when someone attempts to throw this stereotypical trope onto our shoulders. Often, it is at times when black women are expressing passionate opinions or feelings when non-blacks interrupt and attempt to dominate and regulate the conversation, steering our concerns to the sideline to make themselves more comfortable. When we vocalize how these actions create an unsafe environment for black women we are overwhelmingly shut down by those who do not wish to hear or see a reality different from their own.
Black women are not your sidekicks or your punchlines, and it is past time that everyone else jumps on board.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Kinsey Clarke is a senior at Michigan State University. She enjoys aerial silks and solo trapeze in her spare time. You can follow her personal Twitter account here: (@tiny_kinsey)