I think that sometimes we forget that there are other groups of women within the collective of black women outside of the feminist and womanism circles.
There are groups of women who have not been awakened yet as well as women who are actually complacent in their positions as they are.
One of the issues I have being battling with is how black women within the feminist/womanist circles operate. We simply do not make room for women who have not yet made it out of the mindfuck that we have somehow managed to pull ourselves out of and I find that we often times forget to address or speak to those women often times excluding them from conversations and immediately shutting them out of spaces that they could probably benefit from if they spent enough time around women who were about education and togetherness.
The feminist/womanism and SWJ circles that we tend to see floating about our timelines are, in fact, NOT the majority. We are in fact the minority. Offline, those numbers lessen even more as most Black women don’t even identify as feminist much less do they know what feminism is or that their is a Black version of feminism called “womanism”. These are not terms used offline by most so it is completely counter-productive for us to continue talking to every single woman as if she is going to immediately get what it is that we are trying to say.
In fact, she will look at you as if you were crazy and wonder why YOU are so angry. Because she doesn’t get it. And she wont. Not until she is ready.
I think that we expect every single Black woman to automatically touch and agree with us on every single subject, forgetting that most women do not recognize the words: Misogyny and Misogynoir. Much less do they understand what it means to unpack “internalized misogynoir”. And with the definition changing and being redefined every few months to “fit” someone’s twisted ideal it is almost impossible to lock it down to one single definition.
Because honestly, we don’t even know half of the time.
I've been thinking about this a lot as I have been trying to figure out the direction in which I wanted to take my own group and project. And I have to admit that I too have become extremely harsh and impatient with the women call don't automatically get or understand what it is that I am trying to say to them. Forgetting that just two years ago I was one of those women.
We forget that feminism is not defined by one single thing nor is it one dimensional. There are several layers to feminism and to different people it means different things. It cannot be defined or contained within one realm. To some women feminism means to be completely independent, separate and away from the male collective. It means not ever needing a man for anything. It’s about equality across the board. There is no middle ground. No common place. And for some, myself included, feminism is not about completely separating myself from the male collective. It's about agency over self. It's about holding my counterparts accountable and responsible for their actions. It’s about respect. It’s about responsibility.
There are some who believe that within the realm of feminism women, particularly Black women since I deal with Black women specifically, do not have to be held accountable. They believe that the purpose of sisterhood is to completely remove all responsibility from the shoulders of Black women. To never chastise or criticize a Black woman for anything regardless of her actions. I, like many others, do not feel this way. My version of sisterhood (womanism) includes especially accountability and responsibility of self.
I am not a black woman who hates black men nor am I a black woman who desires to date anything but black men of color. This is something I have never hidden nor am I a shamed of disclosing, but I understand that there are quite a few black women out there who I have personally spoken to on my list who feel as though their feminism would be called into question should they disclose that to the general public.
It shouldn't be that way. But we made it that way. Through all of the work that has been done and all of the things that have been accomplished, for all of our yelling and screaming to be heard and not be silenced, we have managed to become the silencers.
It has always been my goal to #help not silence.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with loving a black man or desiring a black man so long as you remember who you are while doing so. But that goes with any person. Vetting is necessary no matter who it is.
Despite all of the ups and downs that I've had with then my own group, even with it being such a small group and numbers, of all the women who have separate themselves for whatever reason they choose to give, I have to sit back and admire the women who are still around and are continuously sharing and learning from each other.
Because that was the overall goal.
Things I am hoping Black women leave in 2017
Being a pick me to every other group of individuals BUT herself.
Oh, you didn’t think that was possible?
I know that most refer to being a pick me when it comes to a woman dealing with or seeking the attention of men. But the truth of the matter is, the majority either doesn’t realize it or they know but they are hoping that the groups of persons in which they choose to “stand on the front lines for” will notice them and slap the cool label of “ally”, “woke” and/or “fave” onto them thus validating their existence.
This past year I have seen black women particularly get behind every single movement, every single cause and have become the voice for every other group even so much to the point where they dismiss and throw their own collective under the bus all in the name of being picked.
Someone is going to get upset.
There is nothing wrong with supporting the advancement of another group and there is absolutely nothing wrong with rallying for those who seem to be ignored when they rally by themselves. But what happens is black women continuously put themselves on the front line for all of these other groups, continuing being the voice of the voiceless only to be ignored and left mid battle when someone with more power comes along. Explain to me how every body else is getting what they need but black women are still fighting For something as simple as being respected by those within our own community? How does that work? How can you push for change and advancement for another group of individuals while your own collective sits and suffers? How can you then turn around and throw away your own because they would rather save their energy and their time for matters that concern them and those who are around them that will be affected?
You are a pick me.
Your voice, your labor, and your time is being pimped and used by others who understand the power that you possess and you are so foolish that you don’t even realize what power you possess and how if you took just a fraction of that effort and applied it to yourself and into those around there would be no stopping you. I’d even go as far as saying that I am personally convinced that the lot of black Women would prefer to hide behind their work with other movements and other groups because as long as they are focused on the advancement of another they don’t have to worry about their own advance because staring in the mirror and admitting that you have a problem as one of the hardest things for an individual to do.
We have become the butt of the joke.
They are laughing at us, sis. Everyone. Everyone continues to give us their asses to kiss. And yet we still show up in hundreds and thousands to show support, to lose our jobs, to lose our friends, to lose our families, to lose everything that we have for the sake of someone or some persons who will immediately disassociate themselves from us the moment we are no longer needed.
Some use social justice to aid in your pick meism. Whatever’s hot in the news, whatever is trending on Twitter, whatever the most popular individual is either against or for you will be as well because you want to be picked sis. You don’t really believe what it is you’re saying because it doesn’t reflect will show in your off-line lives. You don’t really believe what you were saying because off-line you are nothing like that.
In 2018, I want you to stop showing up to parties being thrown by people you know do not like you. I want you to stop trying to be friends with the popular crew that only needs your help pass a hard test. In 2018 I want you to be present and stand for yourself above and before anyone else. I want you to use discernment and reserve your energy, your time and your voice for matters that affect you and those around you. I want you to stop showing up for everyone else but your own. I want you to be stingy with your activism. I want you to be cautious with your investments. I want you to stand on your own word and never waiver out of fear of criticism and scrutiny.
No more excuses.
In 2018 I want you to stop playing in OUR faces...
Get your life. Nobody else can live it BUT you.
Owner of Love My Black, LLC + Eighty5OH8 -Award Winning Blogger/Author | Viral Troublemaker | Mother of One | Brand and PR strategist