• Yvette Cozier

    Yvette Cozier is a Boston University School of Public Health associate professor of epidemiology and associate dean for diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. She is also a senior epidemiologist at the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University School of Medicine, where she coleads the Black Women’s Health Study. Her research interests include the influence of genetics and social factors. Profile

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There are 6 comments on POV: What “Strong Black Woman” Means to Me

  1. Thank you, Dean Cozier! I always appreciate when epidemiologists combine first person experience with science– especially This. Now. You. Gratitude.

  2. Thanks for sharing this POV, as a Black woman, everyone expects you to be strong without considering what it is doing to your health. It took my own illness to make me get serious about wellness.

  3. Thanks Dr. Cozier. As an African girl that came to the U.S at a younger age, “staying strong for my kids” is often preached; even when the spouse is not living to expectations. This puts strains on the black woman’s life. Especially, when staying strong ignores many health signs that needs to be attended to.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this, As an African & African American girl this brought me some solace and validation. I feel like a lot of what was said here are things my mother has told me, the strength of black woman in an environment where they are highly stigmatized and the odds are pitted against them. Many of the themes discussed here I also see relevant to my own life – mostly relating to the treatment of Black women in the healthcare system. There is a stark difference in the treatment of Black women by doctors/medical professionals and that became beyond clear to me when I was hospitalized for mental health reasons. To be candor, I had overdosed, and the whole time I was ignored. As an individual who works with nurses in a hospital, I am often the person on the other side of the call light, so I know how a hospital operates and how you should be treated by your nurses. I easily could have passed on, from the sheer fact that my nurse let my IV come half out of my arm and let my heart monitor turn off. My overdose was on beta blockers, meant to decrease heart rate – that heart monitor was pertinent, but I was not. I didn’t matter, it was abundantly clear, and it took for me to reflect on this experience to see the possible reason why – I am a black woman. Articles like these are extremely important – we need to open discourse about this, and help change the perception of black women in society. One small voice does not seem like much, but it is. Opening conversation is all we need, and I sincerely thank you for helping start this discussion. It means a lot to me, and I know it does for many other black females trying to make a difference.

  5. Thank you Dr. Cozier for this piece. I was searching through the bu today opinion posts for an article to draw inspiration for a public commentary assignment, and I came across this article. As neither a female or African American, I found this piece rather interesting as it informed me on an unfamiliar perspective. I was intrigued by describing of the phrase as being both “myth and reality.” I believe your article and perspective discredits the myth and explains the reality. There are many stereotypes against black women and it is rather shameful that the ignorance of society allows them to continue to persist and plague society. Your statement, “activism takes different forms,” is a valuable point as standing up and looking out for each other is equally important as speaking out. I feel your shared perspective discourages the myth behind being a “strong black woman”, and inspires those who face an uphill struggle to support each other. Perspectives from the black community are often shunned and discouraged by some members of society, notably when LeBron James was told to “shut up and dribble.” Articles like this are necessary to help ignite and further conversations, and inspire those who were afraid to tell their story and struggles by speaking out and supporting each other.

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