I have never called myself a feminist. It just doesn't seem to be appropriate for a girl like me... You know, being Black and all.
Here's the thing about "Feminism:" the concept as used in homogeneous circles isn't intended for women of color. Apparently Feminism looks, I suppose, Like Hillary Clinton, not Michelle Obama... I'm not sure what the difference is (They both hold/held the position of FLOTUS, both lawyers, both given the opportunity to raise young children in the White House)... But reaction to them are extremely different. Which is weird, considering the inspiration of Feminists, according to most documentaries about modern day documentaries, is the leadership of Black women during the Civil Rights Movement era of the 1960s. As volunteers, they saw the strength of these women and took that empowerment home.
However with every "Wave" of feminism (whatever that means), it seems like there is a group that isn't included in the agenda. Consistently this is women of color. As if our issues (Achievement/Economic Gap, Racism, etc) Isn't important in the grand scheme of feminism. Like many rights groups, we are told to hold on to our issues until all other issues have subsided.
Unfortunately, in trying to expand the issues, mainstream feminists try to quiet the voices of Women of Color. This is an issue of Privilege. These women feel that it is our place to follow them and not forge our own path. Just like history should be inclusive, so though issues of equality. Women of all walks should be at the table instead of the current belief that our only purpose at the table is to serve them. Except instead of food, we are supposed to serve them with our ideas, strategies and (wo)man power.
Thankfully, Social Media has diversified what feminism should look like. There is to much power in the voice of Black/Brown woman to just settle for the theory that Feminism looks like Gloria Steinem, Amanda Marcote, and Michelle Cottle.
There are some amazing voices out there. You just have to look for them... Start with the website Hood Feminism then move outward. You're welcome
There is something about the Black Woman... All of us... that makes people stop in their tracks...
Whether we are "Housewives" or "Dignified" (mind you, those two types of people are interchangeable) or The Bitter, Essence buying, Terry McMillan reading, Man Hater I was described as a couple months ago (Don't ask..), There is something... folks don't even know what.. they love us.. and have no idea why.
We are awesome in everything we do. Whether we are the Admin you can't get past, or the First Lady, or one in a group that dares to call themselves Educated Hood Chicks. We are ALL valuable in EVERY way.
I have always believed those "How to be a better Black woman" books were a little much. I' m a Black woman... But not the one that considered "refined" like all those books say. I really don't fit the criteria of the women that are usually discussed by "Conscious" folks about how I should be like Michelle Obama and NOT NeNe Leakes... AT ALL.
I laugh inappropriately at jokes and watch reality shows. My Spotify playlists would make "Revolutionaries" cringe. If it wasn't for college, folks wouldn't listen to me at all. Even the way I got through college is not "ideal." I got to college through luck and got through it by Grace.
And here lies the problem with only defending the "Michelle's" of Black America... It creates a perception that the less refined shouldn't be defended at all. When Evelyn from VH1s "Basketball Wives" had a domestic dispute with Chad Johnson, a majority of the response was "Well... YOU'VE seen her, she is Ghetto, I'm not saying she deserved it, but I'm just saying..."
The better treatment of the "refined" isn't new. In March of 1955 in Montgomery, AL, teenager Claudette Colvin was arrested for not moving to the back of the bus. Black organizations at the time didn't believe she would be a viable "Icon" because 1) she was a teenager and 2) she didn't have "The right look." Rosa Parks did...
"Her skin texture was the kind that people associate with the
middle class," says Colvin. "She fit that profile."
In a realistic world, you can't defend Michelle Obama as a Black woman without defending Condelezza Rice or NeNe Leeks or what ever YouTube video star that has no time for any of it. But in this new Social Network world in which we live in would rather us put the "refined" on a pedestal and spit on the "Ghetto" or "Hood" folks.
We are All Black Women and we are all awesome. We may not always be the awesome you want, but we all have the power to shape the world.
But what do I know...
The Resident Geekstress & History buff. This Blog could be about anything at any given time. Thanks for hanging out with me!
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