Why Black women are saying no

Dr. Riana Elyse Anderson lends her expertise to this PBS Newshour story.


Original article can be found here.


Riana Elyse Anderson, Ph.D.

The stereotype of the “strong Black woman” creates an unrealistic idea that Black women need less support than others, said Dr. Riana Elyse Anderson, an assistant professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan. And this stereotype has harsh consequences.

2019 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that 67.1 percent of Black adults with any mental illness do not receive any sort of treatment.

“[Black women] tend to have greater rates of depression, and it’s not something that they talk about because again, that stereotype makes it seem like there’s nothing wrong,” Anderson said.


Like Morrison, the last year has caused others to reflect on “our world and how we want to exist in it,” Anderson said. There’s been a pushback, especially among younger people, against subscribing to the status quo, whether that’s certain kinds of jobs that run on traditional office environments, long hours, little flexibility and prioritizing a career over having a family or personal time, or traditional family structures and milestones, like having kids or buying a home. After a year of living through what Anderson described as “chronic stress,” people have chosen to take their mental health into account, even if that means doing the unthinkable by saying “no.”


Read the entire article on PBS' website.