I am at odds with feminism and my conflict is a “race issue.”
For White women, defining oneself as feminist is pretty simple. The need to advance a female political agenda — while dismissing male oppression — makes sense in a world where White men maintain the highest position and power. I understand that.
However, as a Black woman, I do not share that same freedom or privilege to so easily align myself with gendered politics. I elaborated on that notion sometime ago in a piece that I wrote about intersectionality. In summary, my existence is plagued by both White patriarchy and racism. Neither of those plights outweigh the other, though both do have their own implications that are divisive and confusing. Therefore, I, as well as other women of color, am constantly at odds with the struggle against racism and patriarchy. It’s a predicament where I must constantly defend my position as a woman who cares about women’s issues to Black men– and the Black community– who claim that the main political focus of any Black individual should be tackling racism and White supremacy. And, similarly, I must constantly defend myself to White women who expect that women will readily adopt a White feminist agenda that does not account for the particular position that women of color occupy.
This is my statement to both of these demographics: I care not for your acceptance or approval. I stand upon the platform built for me by my foremothers, the Black women who understood the various struggles that plague women of color and the truth that advancement for us cannot be realized without the release of our community — and men — from the shackles of racism. I stand beside Alice Walker, bell hooks, Clenora Hudson-Weems and the myriad of women who understand my struggle and advocate for progress for the Black community. Keep reading »
The feminist movement began as a struggle for basic rights: women’s suffrage, reproductive rights, access to work and education, and equal rights within those institutions. Through the hard work and dedication of our foremothers, many of those feats have been won. As a result, our culture has become dominated by a narrative that is not representative of the country’s reality: A progressive picture of fairness and equal opportunity regardless of sex or race. One where the fight for Civil Rights eradicated racism and feminism ushered in an era of “equality” between the sexes.
Yet, in reality, not much has really changed where gender relations are involved. Though a small percentage of men and women have entered fields that they were once barred from participating in because of their sex, most work fields are extremely gendered, many of the most dangerous occupations are still dominated by men and society still has very restrictive gender ideals. Keep reading »
Yesterday, I did a brief post on the racism displayed in Kim Kardashian’s much talked about Paper magazine cover and photoshoot. I focused on Kardashian’s demotion from “Whiteness” in society because of her relationships with Black men; relationships that have essentially cast her into the realm of “Blackness” where her body is readily exploited and hypersexualized, in ways eerily similar to the vulgar treatment Black female bodies receive in the United States.
Many responded by claiming that Kim Kardashian is Middle Eastern and not White. The difference between ethnicity and race should always be considered when discussing matters of racism. Per the U.S. Department of Justice:
“White people” are defined as “people having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.”
Keep reading »
Whenever anyone asks my mother what I was like as a child, she always responds by telling stories of her first attempts to put me in a dress as a toddler.
“I would just finish dressing her and she would be looking like the cutest little princess,” she usually relays, “After I turned my back for one moment, I would look to find her in a dirt pile giggling and covered with mess.”
I was not a very “girlie” little girl. I liked to run around, climb trees, rollerblade, discover large yucky bugs under rocks and roughhouse with the boys in my neighborhood. And my mom really didn’t mind. After a while, she just sort of gave up on the idea that she would have the kind of little girl that would get all dressed with pink ribbons and bows and host imaginary tea parties. She let me be me; Tiffanie the explorer and adventurer. I am always grateful that she did. Keep reading »
Dear Hollaback & Rob Bliss Creative,
I have watched your collaborative video depicting the menacing street harassment of a young, white woman as she casually walked through the streets of New York. You captured dozens of men making unwarranted comments — some more “innocent” than others — as well as the incredibly uncomfortable actions of a young man who silently followed the woman down the street for an entire five minutes.
At first, the video looked like an obvious display of patriarchy and street harassment in its most evident and outrageous form. Those men had no respect for the personal or emotional space or boundaries of the woman who crossed their path. However, upon closer examination, it seems that your video is also an obvious display of one of the worst and most dated forms of racism: Black savagery and its inherent predatory hunger for White women. Keep reading »