Womanism – The We Instead of Me

Racialicious has an excellent post up regarding Michelle Obama.  I suggest you check it out. It immediately incensed me.  When I wrote the social lynching of Michelle Obama last week one of things that I touched on was the silence of white feminists in regard to a cartoon in which she was overly sexualized, and lynched.  As I roamed through the blogsphere, this picture kept reoccurring at womanists blogs, and yet was nowhere to be seen at blogs like feministing….You can spout all kinds of vitriol for subway pervs, but when a WOC needs defense you are silent. If this were Friday, I would say that you earned yourself a Friday Fuck You.

I cannot say that I am surprised by the silence of white feminists when it comes to the treatment of Michelle, by the media.  What nerve that woman has, having a career, being beautiful, successful, and eloquent when she should be raising your kids, and saying yes missus I’s a commin.  That’s the kind of black woman that you are comfortable with.  One that is deferential.  One that can be used to push forward your agenda in the name of ALL womanhood.  Because you cannot make an Anita Hill out of Michelle, you have thrown her to the wolves.  Her black sisters see you, and we know what you are all about.

Do you want to know why black women are enraged….it is because you have a history of betrayal.  From the earliest days of the feminist movement it has been about your needs, your concerns, and your advancement.  As long as there was a mammy to suckle your precious blonde haired, blue eyed babies while you took on the world, all was fine.  It didn’t matter that mammy had children that needed her love and attention to.  It didn’t matter that mammy was also subject to discrimination.  As long as you had the right to declare victim status and still abuse others, all was balanced in your world. Even the women that fought against slavery did so to save the white man from the licentiousness of the seductive black temptress.  The fact that it was rape, was unimportant.  White men needed to be saved.  Nowhere did anyone consider the obvious power imbalance. What occurred between  between Sally Flemming and Thomas Jefferson is still to this day being called a “love affair”, and this false characterization is evidence of a lack of recognition that there was no element of choice. See I always assumed that rape occurred when a woman was forced to have sex, but then we are referring to black women, so I guess this definition is non applicable. When Ida B. Wells was reporting on lynching in the black community, where were you?  Oh I forgot it didn’t involve your babies…no need to speak up enmasse. But times have changed right?  This is why you are all actively pushing for the passing of legislation to make it a crime to place a noose for the purposes of intimidation….hmmmm, no I guess you missed that one as well.

But feminism is inclusive, and all about choice.  That is unless you are a black mother.  You see we didn’t need to be told about having the option to work, because it was not an option for us. Oh but that was in the past… well today the Feminine Mistake, which discusses what women loose when they stay home, once again fails to mention that for black women it largely continues not be a choice.  We never had the luxury of choice, and from the looks of it we never will,  but you will jump on the bandwagon screaming about welfare queens all the while worshipping quiverfull women like Michelle Dugger.  Now that is the image of motherhood we should all stand behind right? Not the poor black mother who is struggling to pay her bills and keep her kids from being taken by so-called child protection agencies.  When we cannot provide because the system unfairly stigmatizes us we are bad mothers, but put a white woman in that situation and it is all about the feminization of poverty. No need to rip her kids from her loving embrace.  Ripping apart black families has worked very well to maintain white hegemony, so why not keep perpetuating this trend.  Why should black families remain intact when we just keep breeding damn it?

I am a womanist because black women, black men, and black children matter to me.  I am a humanist because I identify with those the world has chosen to construct as less than.  I recognize that the struggle for equality involves all oppressed peoples of this little blue planet. To truly be an inclusive movement feminism needs to concern itself with more than white women and their slights.  Yet every opportunity that “mainstream” feminism has had to decry racism, there has been a resounding silence.  A silence that is almost deafening. It is in this vacuum that WOC of color have come to understand that our bodies, and our struggle are considered unimportant.

image I found this image of Michelle over at Racilicious.  Once again a black woman is being denigrated for her physical appearance.  I particularly love where it places Condi and Michelle in competition for Barack.  Of course, we WOC are always fighting each other over a man.  No matter how educated or accomplished we are, we loose all sense of self when a man enters the picture.

Of course she controls Barack, one look from her historically ball busting eye, and he will have no choice but to come to heel.

And the always reliable connection with blacks and drugs.  Of course she will be able to smell the pot because, we POC walk around stoned all day.  In fact if we weren’t high all the time imagine what we could accomplish.

Even as I wax satirical about this image, I once again expect silence from white feminists.  They will not see this as their battle.  It will never be their battle until they can own their privileges in this world.  We can never afford to truly trust them as history has proven that we need to be circumspect of their motivations. WOC need to unite with other women of color, for only we truly understand the full scope of a womans journey.  We know that race, class, and gender intersect to effect a womans life.  We cannot afford to have a myopic self interested view of the world, that is not our privilege.  While I will not own the term victim as a totalizing label, I certainly refuse to be silenced to benefit a movement that refuses to acknowledge our shared humanity. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *