#solidarityisforwhitewomen

I don’t know how I missed this controversy. The hashtag  #solidarityisforwhitewomen was started by Karnythia, a black woman blogger. It grew out of her frustrations of white women feminists and their continued marginalization of women of color. Despite the rhetoric of inclusion, diversity, and “intersectionality” the feminist movement tends to still be dominated/controlled by white feminists. They haven’t been that eager to share their power.

Honestly, when a white woman tells me they’re a feminist (as a way to connect with me) I already know I will be dealing with some nonsense later on. Or white women tears.  White women tears is the not so inside joke of feminists of color. Basically, its white women who resort to crying when they realize a person of color won’t let them off the hook for their white privilege/racism.  These tears tend to be especially used against women of color, as many white women have bought into they are the “real” women and we are the fake ones.

In the words of bell hooks:

“All white women in this nation know that their status is different from that of black women/women of color. They know this from the time they are little girls watching television and seeing only their images. They know that the only reason nonwhites are absent/invisible is because they are not white. All white women in this nation know that whiteness is a privileged category. The fact that white females may choose to repress or deny this knowledge does not mean they are ignorant: it means that they are in denial.” From http://stfu-moffat.tumblr.com/post/45677527617/all-white-women-in-this-nation-know-that-their

Most women of color have had to deal with white women tears. Especially black women. While all women of color are made into second class (sometimes third class) citizens to that of white women, black women are more likely to be used as the antithesis of white womanhood:

Photo from:http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/scarlett-ohara/images/27870938/title/scarlett-ohara-photo
Photo from:http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/scarlett-ohara/images/27870938/title/scarlett-ohara-photo

A lot of it has to do with slavery. In order to justify the labor exploitation/rapes of black women, we had to be “othered.” Historically, white women have benefited off the backs of black women. I bet the majority of black women have experienced white women trying to make them their personal Mammy. Hell, it happened to me just the other day.

I was trying to get my Starbucks on. One of the white women workers eased up beside me, as I was stirring my tea. She stared at my hair. “So, what hair products do you use?” She asked. Now, anyone that knows me, know I don’t answer non-black folks hair questions. I just don’t. So, I suggested to her, like I suggest to other folks, she should Google about black hair products.  She didn’t get the hint. She started carrying on about her daughter’s hair. I think she was trying to let me know her daughter was biracial. But that’s still not my problem. If you have a biracial child, it’s your responsibility to read books/Google about black hair culture. When the woman realized I wasn’t going to answer her question, she huffed and walked away. But, I didn’t give a damn. I was not put on this earth to be the educator of blackness to white folks. If Angela Jolie and Brad Pitt can learn how to do their adopted black daughter’s hair (or at the very least pay someone to do it), so can other non-black folks.

Am I hardcore?

Yes, but you have to remember I get put into these situations on a daily basis.  White women coming up to me out of the blue wanting me answer their questions, explain things to them, or help them with things.  I am not a freelance Mammy.  These situations are probably magnified, as I am a dark black woman, and the image of Mammy has typically been that of darker skinned women.

If white women don’t get angry (if you refuse to play the role), usually it’s tears.  And frankly, a lot it tends to be from so-called white feminists. The fact of the matter is feminism has failed women of color.  It will continue to suck until white women feminist get real with some of their issues (and do better outreach to teaching everyday white women to stop being oppressive towards non-white women ). Do I hate all white feminists? Nope. I have met some cool ones that are genuinely trying to be allies/check themselves. But, they are  just a handful. Most white feminists cling to their white privilege.

Any who, I went on this rant because Salon.com is starting a column for feminist of color. It’s the continuation of the   #solidarityisforwhitewomen  movement. If you identify as a feminist of color (regardless of gender), submit something!   I put the contact information under the “Call for Submissions” tab.

Good luck!

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The Conundrum of Beyonce

The singer is currently featured on the cover of Ms. Magazine:

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I tend to have mixed emotions about Beyoncé.  I will admit I am not a fan. I am a 70’s/80’s child. I grew up with singers like Stephanie Mills, Angela Winbush, Miki Howard, Phyllis Hyman, Regina Belle, Vesta, etc. When compared to these amazing (underrated/respected) women,  Beyoncé’s singing style/music catalog, tends to be “okay” to me. However, she is an electrifying stage performer/entertainer.

I also respect that she has worked hard for her career. Recently, a blog asked should young people look to Beyoncé, as a role model. In some ways, I would say yes. She has shown that having goals/aspirations are important. She has shown that you must work hard and be dedicated,  to get what you want. She has shown that you must demand respect (but I ain’t bowing down, cuz I ain’t a bitch 🙂 and be professional.

However,  I would be hesitant to embrace her as a feminist. I find it interesting that so many other feminists (black/white), do.  Yet, these same folks have had no qualms ripping women like Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Khia, etc., to shreds. Is it because folks tend to view them as “ghetto girls,” without redeeming qualities? Is it because Beyoncé comes across as sweet/humble, even though she sings about the same things they do (money, status symbols, being “freaky” in bed, etc.). They have also shown that if you work hard and go for yours, you can achieve. Yet, no one praises their accomplishments.  Lil Kim (especially) tends to be mocked and deconstructed about her plastic surgeries. But, Beyoncé has also altered her appearance for mainstream acceptance/male gaze (long blonde hair, breast implants, colored contacts, skin lightening, etc.)

It’s not surprising that Ms. Magazine would pick Beyoncé, as their rare black woman cover. She is non-threatening and reinforces white women’s superiority complex (e.g. white beauty standards). Don’t we all remember them making Michele Wallace, take out her braids for her cover shot? I think it  would’ve been more powerful, if this new issue had Assata Shakur on the cover. Shakur was recently listed as one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorist. 

Ironically, I believe Beyoncé and her husband’s trip to Cuba, helped to realign the target on Shakur’s back. In their  quest to show off/sense of entitlement, I believe it forced President Obama’s hand. As the husband, rapped about getting clearance from the president. Of course, he was just bragging, but it made President Obama look bad. I think the president wanted to show republicans, that he’s tough on “crime.” We all know the president, tends to worry  what these racists think about him (that’s a whole ‘nother post).

Speaking of the husband,  he is another reason I don’t  readily accept Beyoncé as a feminist. She married an unrepentant misogynistic, colorstruck  man. If you don’t believe me, all you need to do is look at the man’s music catalog.  I find it disturbing, he recently joined Beyoncé on stage, at the Chime for Change event. When has he stood  for anything representing empowerment of women?  I guess because he’s nice towards Beyoncé (his ideal of beauty)/has a new daughter, we are supposed to forget he has gotten rich off the degradation of black women/community?

I think Beyoncé peddles “soft feminism.” In other words, sure she will talk about women needing to be paid equally to men, how important it is to be independent, etc., but she doesn’t really challenge/reject the status quo. If anything, she accepts/feeds into it…

I don’t dislike Beyonce, I really don’t. I just don’t see all the supposed feminist stands she takes, as others do.

Welcome

Hello….My name is Tonya J.

I am the creator of the zine “See Me: Issues that Affect Our Lives,  Acts of Resistance against Oppression, and Black Feminist Thought.”

What’s a zine? It’s  a take on the word maga(zine) and is a form of self- publishing. Read here to learn more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zine

The purpose of this blog is the same as my zine…to resist oppression with black feminist thought.