I will never understand how some people can love one part of a person’s anatomy, but when people organize and ban together to support that shared anatomy, it becomes the most hated thing in the world. This thing is pussy-power, AKA feminism, or for my specific purpose BLACK-FEMINISM OR BLK-FEM.
I’m a member of various social groups, so I witness the human unfiltered audacity on a daily basis. I get to witness the shit that most people wouldn’t say in mixed company, but behind the safety of a screen, these people feel emboldened to express their toxic opinion as fact ¬—Welcome to the digital age! — And when this happens, I feel it’s my duty to set them STRAIGHT!
A few weeks ago, I entered a back-and-forth debate with a keyboard-gangster on the topic of feminism. He posed the question, why do black women support feminism when the movement wasn’t originally for them. I responded with, the same reason why black men support patriarchy and the nuclear family, despite both being pillars and symbols of white supremacy. —He did not like that.— We went back and forth a few times, then he blamed feminism for why the black family is broken and they don’t care for black women. That’s when I had to hit him with the facts.
For those who are unfamiliar with the origins of the feminist movement, he is correct. In the 1920s, the movement was predominately for white women to gain some semblance of independence from their white husbands. To achieve this independence, they joined with black women (strength in numbers, AKA pussy power) to push for change. We marched together, lobbied together, and when some of the battles were won, they closed the door on black women issues. As the movement continued to grow over the decades, the feminist movement as an ideology continued to focus on white issues, ignoring those issues that affected black women.
Despite decades of fighting, it wasn’t until the 1970s and 1980s that black women started to draw a line and call out the fact that white-feminists had, for decades, dismissed black issues. But, the damage was already done, and black women began forming their own organizations that focused on issues that plagued black families. We saw a new wave of feminism that wasn’t white-washed. The new wave was UNAPOLOGETICALLY BLACK —BLACK FEMINISM—
Feminist ideals, at their core, are universally about fairness and equality. I sincerely believe that if you lay out scenarios of what feminism fights against, most people would fight for those same things. But, mention the word F-word, and people go running.
1. Your daughter/sister/mother has a job, and they find out that their salary is $20K less than their male co-worker, even though they do the same exact job.
2. Your daughter/sister/mother graduates top of her class, with honors, and goes for a top company job to get turned down by a man who lacks her credentials.
3. Your daughter/sister/mother is sexually harassed at work, and they take the issue to HR, and HR dismisses and minimizes the case.
4. You want your daughter/sister/mother to have ownership over their bodies and what they can do with it.
5. Your daughter/sister/mother is getting abused by their male spouse, you’d want them to be free and safe to press charges for their safety.
The above issues are about fairness, equality, and safety. None of them are about casting aside men (especially black men), as some would push you to believe.
It’s difficult for people to consider the fact that some women don’t want to have kids. I mean, it’s been pushed down our throats since birth that our only goal in life, as females, are to get married and have kids. It is okay if a female wants the above for herself. But feminism makes it clear that if you choose to not have kids or get married, that is also okay. There is nothing wrong with a woman that wants to work instead of having kids. It’s her body, so it’s her choice.
While all the above is fine and dandy, black feminism kicked in the door waving the four-four, screaming, “Hold up! Wait a minute!”
Black feminism shines an even brighter light on all the issues that affect black men, black women, and thus, black families; while also calling out those female-women who don’t acknowledge our problems because they don’t see through our glasses.
Yes, we are in an era where black men and women are making more money than ever before (minus the pandemic). From black CEOs to black COOs, we’re doing the damn thing. But the reality is we are still earning less, even within our highly decorated fields. The order often goes White Man, White Woman, Black Man, Black Woman. My race and gender shouldn’t correlate to my salary. If I do the damn job, pay me my money.
He argued that feminism tears down the black family dynamic, and that liberals are the problem. This is not the first time I’ve seen (what I consider) weak men use this argument. They, and those women who are also anti-feminism, often refer to the old-school nuclear family ideology. This was when the husband would work and support his family while the wife stayed home, and dinner would be on the table by 5pm. That vision is lovely, but as stated before, it’s very white and not realistic for the world we currently live in. Even higher earning working-class black families, with no kids, need two incomes to survive, depending on where they are. And our original cultural upbringing was more ‘a village to raise a child’ than ‘every man for himself.’
He then blamed welfare and black feminist women for black men not being in the home instead of looking at the real and undeniable data on systemic issues.
He didn’t mention the lack of black male presence due to gun-violence, drug-use, alcoholism, spousal abuse, mass incarceration, and the fact that some men simply don’t want the responsibility of being a father. He ignored all the above, but make feminism his focus of animosity. Because of his animosity, he didn’t care to learn that the new wave of black-feminism is in full support of the black family (despite the lies that others push).
When a black son or husband gets locked up, who do you think takes on the family’s financial and emotional burden? Who do you think is the person putting money on his books, answering his phone calls, and making the visits? The black woman.
He didn’t care that black-feminists are actually the women marching on the front lines for so many of the black lives lost at the hands of law enforcement and random gun violence. Their marching is for black lives and black families.
He didn’t care to research the fact that many black-feminists, for decades, have been pushing for criminal justice reform, to altogether abolish the prison system. We know that people who go to prison, have a higher chance of becoming repeat offenders. Prison does not rehabilitate the person: what it actually does is put a scarlet letter on their back while making it harder for them to get back on their feet after they have been released. Add to that the over-sentencing of black men compared to white offenders being under-sentenced. This disparity creates years of broken black families. And black feminists, by fighting these injustices and if they succeed, can restructure and restabilize black families.
He didn’t care to research that black-feminists call attention to and are combatting the systemic injustices regarding health. He brought up the abortion rate amongst black women as a tactic, completely disregarding the black woman’s choice. But he remained silent when I brought up the fact that black women are 4x more likely to die during childbirth, and black children whose mothers experience trauma during birth have a higher infant mortality rate, which directly impacts black families. He also didn’t know the numbers that show black women are often diagnosed with more aggressive types of heart disease and various cancers, while the many ailments that affect black men (high blood pressure, colon cancer, heart disease) cause them to die younger than their white male counterparts.
These are all pivotal issues for black-feminists, as these issues don’t plague the white community like it does ours. And this is just the tip of the iceberg of the matters that black-feminists fight for.
Another follower expressed his disdain in dealing with difficult feminist women as justification to not support the (black) feminist movement, which I found amusing. Black women continue to support black men. We support and fight for the same black men that verbally, mentally, and physically assault us, day in and day out. We put our feelings aside because we know that we’re fighting the injustice that may be forced upon them, and that’s not okay.
And as with any group pushing for change and equality, there will always be some extremists. But the same way we don’t paint a broad-stroke and hold a grudge against all black men based on the actions of the few, we should receive the same support. And the actions of the few should never overpower the truth of the movement.
So next time someone tries to make you feel bad for being a feminist or black-feminist, do your job and school them with the facts.