There is something beautifully intimate about the relationship women share with each other-Sisterhood.
It warms my spirit and makes me proud to be a Black feminist- a woman who believes in equality for both gender and race. One never outweighing the other, but both contributing to my dual consciousness. I, a Black Feminist,wish to see the repression placed on both African Americans and Women cease to exsist.
Lately, I have had more than a few of my loved ones, question why this is so important to me? The question always seems self explanatory, and rather than answering I would counter it with a question of my own: Why wouldn’t it be?
For a woman in America, skin color makes quite the difference! While some have the luxury of living in “one nation, with liberty and justice for all”, African American women understand that justice is hard to come by, and liberty is nothing more than a term without any true purpose or meaning. This is why, as an African American woman, I, more than any other demographic, am most likely to be evicted, sentenced to longer prison sentences than other women, violently attacked, and a number of other outrageous and inhumane actions at the hands of American Society. So, while it is true, “to be black is no disgrace, just often very inconvenient”, to be both African American and female, is a sentence that other groups would find unbearable (Johnson, chapter 10). We face injustices due to both our racial identity, which promotes a feeling of isolation so distanced from society, it is like being on the “outside of the world peeping in through a knothole in the fence”, and gender identity which casts all women as subservient figures, to aid the wellbeing of men(Wright, Book 1).
To be an African American woman in America, is to be born into an exclusive club, whose members share the common characteristic, of a largely oppressed group that has been ostracized, preyed upon, and abused beginning with colonialism and ever since. We are continually victimized, due to the unique relationship we share with society. And we, African American women, have had to carve out a place for ourselves in a country focused on the upliftment and progress of Caucasian males. Now, many fall outside of this boundary, such as African American Men and Caucasian women, yet none of them face the double oppression that African American women continue to face in the United States.
This all came into focus for me one torturous week in March, when the weight of the world felt pressed deep against my shoulders. I had midterms, a conference, and a birthday in the same week… not to mention I was recently run down by a car, while riding my bike. I was stressed, and to make matters worse, I was having man problems! Fabulous, right? Yet, this isn’t an angry post…this is about the amazing community of women that surround me.
Now, maybe it was my birthday, maybe it was international women’s day, or maybe it was just my crazy ass emotions—but in that week i realized something, women are truly the fucking shit! My back was pressed against the wall, and every woman in my life made sure that I did not fail, and if I did I knew that I would land on their comforting, loving support, that they offered with the generosity and selfless love that only women possess.
I was called daily with love and support from my best girlfriends , my mother and my sister. All people with genuine concern, assuring that I was ok! They listened with interest as I rehearsed for my conference, and they listened with equal interest when I just wanted to rant. Not once, when I snapped about my man problems, did they judge me—just honest to god support!
In my free time, we convened and discussed ideas, and I couldn’t help but admire their young daughters—watching them play around as we discussed real issues, I silently questioned whether their lives would be more enriched, if this is how we centered our lives. Not bickering, or competing for male attention. Not pretending to love each other, or bitterly gossiping behind one another’s back. Just loving each other, supporting one another, listening, caring, and figuring this crazy world out-together.
As a self professed feminist, I am often inspired by the way women take care of each other, it can be seen in life, and in art. The women center themselves, find themselves, and heal themselves, with the gentle love and nurturing that only women seem to be able to provide. As a black woman, I am often inspired by the grace African American women exhibit, while being in the crosshairs of a double oppression. Having held a long history with abuse in America, which extends itself into all areas of social traumas, including the kidnapping of women during the middle passage, the rape and consequential impregnation during slavery, the denial of property, voting rights, and equal salary, and numerous other instances, practices, and events that seek to diminish the spirit of African American peoples and women and further support power structures that function within the United States. African American women still continue to thrive and flourish.
So, when Wallace Thurman asserts that the color of one’s skin has no effect on a person’s mentality of native ability, or when James Weldon Johnson argues that one’s racial identity is nothing more than a mild inconvenience, it is quite obvious that these gentlemen have a very different reality set before them, and are speaking from the privilege extended to them as men, because as an African American woman it is an incontrovertible truth that, “The most disrespected person in America, is the black woman. The most un-protected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America, is the black woman”, and although this reality is painful, African American women accept the challenge with the grace and dignity that liken them to powerful goddesses Oshun, Oya, and Yemalla (Malcolm X).
We fight the power, and find healing by building communities of support that begin in the comfort of our own kitchen and extends itself into every aspect of our lives. We truly are, strong black women!
Thank you!!! I want to hear from you, what are your thoughts, questions, feelings…leave em below!
And don’t forget to share this post with a sister you love