The Black Women Disconnect: Bridging the Gap Between the Generations

There have been times when I thought my accomplishments as a young black woman would make my older female counterparts proud. Or the way I carry myself, or the straighten path I’ve stayed on, etc., etc. Despite this way of thinking, I find myself in disappointment because sometimes it’s quite the opposite. Whether it’s an older female colleague, family member, or friend, there tends to be a disconnect between the younger and older female generations. I have heard numerous stories from friends who have jobs where there are a handful of black women and surprisingly it is the older black women that sometimes cause the most problems for them. The constant animosity, sabotaging, gossiping and undermining is apart of the daily routine. Not to mention the common phrases, “she think she all that,” and “who does she think she is?” I find this quite frustrating because it seems that the women who are constantly in trouble, distressed, and down-trotted are embraced with opened arms by older women, but there is a sense of reluctance to embrace those young women who have avoided those situations, but are still in need of guidance. YES, we may be more successful or have degrees and sprouting careers, but we still are in search for the guidance and wisdom that only women with age can provide. Yet, we are met with animosity, side-eyes and rolling eyes and for what?

We recognize that opportunities for black women were bleak back in the day and we realize that if it wasn’t for your trailblazing and sacrificing, none of us would be in the many positions we are in today, but should we be held accountable for something that wasn’t under our control? This isn’t an attempt to put my older sistas down, because I know plenty who have served as inspirations and mentors to their younger counterparts, but there are some who don’t and just have spiteful attitudes towards young black women. Just like there are some young women who walk around with know it all attitudes, and not to mention the mindset that the world owes them something because of how much they’ve accomplished. We must remember that these are the few bad apples that make it bad for all of us. So CoffyTalk, what is the underlying issue of this disconnect and how can we get to a place where there is mutual respect amongst our generations, where poor/rich, educated/uneducated, etc.? Have any similar stories? Let’s hear them!

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Justina
    Nov 10, 2010 @ 14:45:23

    I think the underlying issue is upbringing. I think most young women today are not raised correctly to respect their elders and look to them for insight, wisdom, and knowledge. With that I think elder women don’t even try to give the young women of today’s society the opportunity to show that not all of us are disrespectful human beings who disregard the people who have come before us. I think young women today are not taught correctly because we have babies having babies and babies trying to raise women, which does not work.

    I also think the issue comes when elder women try to fit into the young crowd rather than show them that their ways are improper and wrong. I feel that many women today want to be the friend of their children rather than be a mother and teach them proper upbringing. I say parent first, friend later. I believe that when the women leaders of today are trying so hard to be young, hip, and cool rather than bring wisdom to the younger generation then there is nothing for the young women to hold on to and learn from.

    Now, not all young women are like this, however, with there being few in today’s society it’s as if the bad apples are all that is seen in the barrel so the few good ones that are laying in the mix are hard to see and get thrown out with the rest of them.


  2. Go Cinderella!
    Nov 10, 2010 @ 15:26:16

    This is a true and interesting topic. Speaking from my own experience, I once had a boss who I thought was great manager and had a tremendous impact on the company’s region. But as much as I respected her talent and drive, I couldn’t help but resent her. She was as vile and rude as she was relentless. So it made it that much harder to appreciate her for accomplishments, as well as tolerate her! She was in her mid forties and I was around 20, 21. So that is one instance where I experienced the generational disconnect . There were others but it wasn’t anything I had to endure on a daily such as the one mentioned. The rest where quick, hateful glances from others for no particular reason at all. Like taking one look at me was supposed to tell my entire life’s story. It’s sad. I hope women off all generations see this so the next time they think to hate instead of congratulate, they won’t.


    Nov 11, 2010 @ 01:15:44

    Thanks for the comments guys!!


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