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 »