I Owe You An Apology

Years ago, I learned of the term imposter syndrome. Right away, it just didn’t feel right as a way to define our experience as Black women. So, I researched it. There is so much information and support for this phenomenon that I began to believe it and buy into it. I bought books written about the term, even wrote about it. All the while, it just didn’t seem to fit.

I stopped using the word in professional circles and on live talks with others; I would just not speak on it.

Imposter Syndrome or Nah?

Finally, someone agrees! I guess you are wondering why this is such a big deal.

It really is a big deal for us as Black women. For years I struggled with two narratives that have been part of the lived experiences of Black women: the strong Black woman trope/myth and imposter syndrome.

Recently, I saw a reel on IG@raquelmartinphd and she, with all her energy and passion, said, “I do not believe in imposter syndrome for Black people.” She instead described this as “justified racism-related stress as a result of racist and oppressive environment.”

I can’t tell you how loud I shouted, “Yes!!! Someone has finally stated what I’ve felt,” albeit an unpopular opinion.

I do not believe Black women can experience imposter syndrome because the word itself means “fake, feeling like a fraud,” while quite the opposite is our truth. Instead of imposter syndrome, it should aptly be called “the Black woman reality trap.” A system (institution, theory, corporate environment, etc) can only create unfair prejudicial policies and systems of rules to challenge my confidence if I buy into it. If I know who I am and whose I am, and if I believe in my abilities, no one can make me feel anything other than what I permit.

I challenge every Black woman to shift two narratives that were created on our backs, not for us: the strong Black woman complex and imposter syndrome. Now that we know better, can we stop buying into colonizers’ language and definitions of who we are and our experiences?

I invite you to challenge me. Ask me more about my beliefs. I invite you to drop a comment or hit me up in my DM on IG. Let’s change.

Please accept my apology as we grow to learn more about each other.

In Your Wellness,

Dr. Clack

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