Black girls are not intimidating, you are just racist.
If you are a black girl reading this and you have ever been called intimidating, this is to let you know that you are definitely not. If you are not a black girl and you have ever referred to a black girl as being intimidating, this is to let you know that the problem lies with you.
To start this piece off with a nice cliché, let me say that if I had a dollar for every time someone (especially men) told me I was intimidating, I would be a lot richer than I am right now. Now, assuming I actually had the physical capacity to hurt someone, this would not be too surprising. But, the fact that I am five feet and five inches tall and my weight does not surpass 110 pounds (but who’s counting, really), does add surprise to the fact that I get told that I am intimidating a lot for someone who literally can not even carry her own weight. The past few days I had been working on an article, and I was gathering information about what black girls get annoyed by with hearing the most. And being called intimidating was something that was actually pretty common in the experience of the girls I talked to. I can compare it best with being told to drive safely when you have had your license for ten years without ever being involved in an accident. So, yes there is a chance that you could spontaneously crash and burn, and yes there is a chance that I could beat the shit out of you, but it never actually happened, so why are you even mentioning the possibility?
I was most appalled by one particular story by a girl who was told she was intimidating in her work environment. This is a girl who, similar to me, does not hold any physical threat. And even if she did, who would ever physically hurt someone on the work floor? The same goes for educational environments and actually in any public atmosphere. By the amount black girls get told they are intimidating, you would think that we just live our lives going around bullying people, which is obviously not true.
“There is only one race, the human race”-thinkers would have a pretty solid solution to the problem previously described. Probably something along the lines of using this power of intimidation for your advantage. And yes, I admit, I have used it in my advantage, because as much of a social person as I am, sometimes it’s actually very nice to be left the fuck alone. But, what scares me is the lengths people are willing to go to to protect themselves from the supposed threat they see in black girls. It would not be the first time, there are plenty examples of the fact that people will not hesitate to protect themselves of what they perceive as threatening. And even in my head I can think of examples of real life situations that could have escalated easily and I do not need much convincing that this often does occur.
Being called intimidating as a black girl is not only a prime example of dog whistle politics, it is also just another way of spinning the angry black girl trope. And it’s not just about posing a physical threat, too. It’s about being denied the possibility to be a sweet, loving and kind human being, despite of your physical appearance. Or the right to not be a sweet and kind human being and not have this fact speak for your entire demographic. What it all comes down to is that black girls need to know their place in a white supremacist society, and that place is at the very bottom of the social ladder. Any sign of deviance is seen as a threat, which is not actually our fault, but the way the world is set up.
If black girls were really intimidating, we would have intimidated people into respecting us or fearing us, but either way, we would not have continued to be the victims of the intersections of sexism and racism. So no, black girls are not intimidating, you are just racist.