Friday, February 20, 2009

What Is A Feminist Issue

The following post is based on the commentary of Apostate left at Professor What If.

The feminist blogosphere is VERY correct and proper. There is a huge orthodoxy, on race issues, on sexuality issues, on major progressive themes, on language. on religion. I don’t think this is a bad thing, but it makes it hard to embrace outliers like me who might otherwise contribute to the conversation. For instance, I personally violate the religion orthodoxy (I hate Muslims and Islam and religious people in general), I am not all that sensitive about language (once called an Islam-apologist feminist a bitch, insist on continuing to use verboten words like “lame” and I like my gendered insults, such as prick), I refuse to include Sean Bell in my list of feminist issues, I often say I hate men, I am publicly glad when misfortune is visited upon my enemies (anti-choice Andrew Sullivan is HIV positive - yay! Marc Ambinder is ugly - yay!) and other such horrifying things. No wonder nobody links to me!

She had me right until she declared the death of Sean Bell not a feminist issue.  What kind of ignorance and privilege does it take to make a statement like that?  It is a feminist issue because men like Sean Bell are born to black mothers.  When my child leaves the safety of our home I don't only worry that some predator will try and take him, I have to worry about the armed ones that are supposed to protect us ( read: cops) deciding that his life isn't worth anything. Seriously how fucking dare you imply that my feminism should not include those that I love the most?

This is just one of the reasons that black women routinely continue to object to aligning themselves with feminism.  Am I expected to sit silently if one of my two brothers is brutally attacked because it is not suitably feminist enough? The violence that black men face occurs to maintain white male privilege and it also hurts black women.  Do you think we do not suffer when our husbands are shot dead or hospitalized and we are left to raise our children alone?  Are you even aware that Sean Bell was the father to a little black girl?  How do you think she feels about being robbed of the chance to have her father in her life?  Ooops, sorry this only affects the life chances of a little black girl so why should feminism give a flying fuck?

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen black women disciplined in feminist spaces for supporting black men.  I see no such attack against white women when they supposedly bed down with the patriarchy and support their husbands, brothers, sons, fathers etc... Denying the police violence that black men face as a "feminist issue" is an attempt by feminism to force black women to choose between our race and our gender.  I will not make such a choice and it is racist to even suggest that I should have to choose in any way.

Of course certain sections of feminism want us to choose gender; this way they can promote their issues and their agenda, thus silencing WOC.  Never forget that Radical Feminism which is largely responsible for the second wave only had gender as an area of focus until black women pointed out that, hey we are women too.

I also have not forgotten the ways in which feminism has been hostile to black men because they see them as posing a challenge to their ability to achieve equality with the white male patriarchy.   Read the animosity in the suffragette response to Frederick Douglas when black men were "given the right to vote," despite the fact that this was only allowed in theory and not in practice.  Other than in the works by black women where is the commentary about the many black men that have been beaten and or murdered because they accidentally made eye contact with a white woman.  It was Ida B Wells who lead that fight, white women didn't see it as significant enough to be an issue.

I will not turn my back on the men that I love or the race that I am a part of to join a movement that does not have my best interests at heart.  Each and every single day of my life is enriched because black males (my sons).  My womanism speaks for me in a way that feminism never has; it speaks to who I am as a person.


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