Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword: A Black Woman Proverb

By DaiJhah Owens 

Live by the Sword, die by the sword is a commonly used proverb to explain if you live a violent life, expect to die a violent death. This proverb could be transferred to anything really. How you live your life, is what will inevitably kill you. Now, obviously this isn’t how life works, right? People can live extremely normal lives and still die tragically. People can live extremely dangerous lives, and still live until their 100. Life isn’t and will never be black and white. Life is a rainbow with unlimited good and bad possibilities. Life is a rainbow for most humans, just not black women.

The generational violence inflicted on black women, inside and outside the black community, is inevitably what kills us, every time! What and who we fight for, will inevitably kill us. Black men kill us. White people kill us. The healthcare system, kills us. Police kill us.

Black women live everyday of our lives fighting just to be seen as fully worthy of humanity, just to be killed for it. Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword.

 Just this past week the body of a young social justice activist, Oluwatoyin Salau, was found. She was sexually assaulted and murdered by the very human she was fighting for, a black man. I would say this is ironic, but it’s actually on par with what is the norm. You see, the black woman is at the very bottom of the social totem pole. She battles race and gender violence simultaneously while holding her composure. And while she fights her own battles, she still finds the mental and physical energy to fight for others, specifically the black man. The black woman fights for the black man, knowing full well the energy may not be reciprocated. Live by the  Sword, Die by the Sword.

The murder of Oluwatoyin Salau and Breonna Taylor are just examples from the last few months. Every day, black women live in fear, wondering “who’s going to kill me today.” Kill me physically. Kill me mentally. Kill my spirit. Kill my soul. Kill my voice. Every day, the black woman has to be on the lookout for swords in every direction.

And even still, everyone knows this. This isn’t new information to our multitude of oppressors. They just don’t care. What’s another dead black woman? Her life had little meaning when there was breath in her lungs, in death, it holds even less.

My words above might sound harsh, hopeless even. And that was the point. Black women give their lives fighting for everyone. And instead of it being returned, we are murdered. Murdered and buried to fertilize the very foundation we built. Forgotten.

We Live by the Sword of our oppressors. We Die by the Sword of our oppressors.


DaiJhah Owens is a Contributing Writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. DaiJhah is passionate about shifting political power to oppressed groups through education. She believes there is nothing more powerful than an educated black woman who can smell political BS a mile away! Connect with her on Instagram at @d_nakhole!

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