Wednesday, January 23, 2008

We Are Black Women, We Are Invisible

One of the things that has become abundantly clear during this high profile presidential primary campaign is the fact that black women are virtually invisible. Oh yes, we are getting plenty of attention because of the South Carolina primary, but that back-handed type of focus only serves to prove my point. Beyond beauty shops and Essence magazine, the average person in America seems to be completely clueless about African American women. White feminists overlook our race and Black men overlook our gender. In the mainstream media we seem to have no discernible identity that they can locate or measure.

There are plenty of high profile, successful, intelligent, passionate, and hardworking black women of all social classes across the United States, yet there has been a mind-boggling inability to find a core group of black women to express any collective thought about our issues or concerns. I am beyond wondering if this is pure ignorance, but more of by design. What I do wonder is are black women that easy to ignore? Are black women that silent? What is going to be the impact on lives of black women if we continue in our current state of invisibility?

Maybe since CNN got embarrassed by its readers, the station's producers, editors, and reporters will work just a little harder to find black women who can truly address black women's beliefs, issues, concerns, and values. I have provided a short list of black women whose opinions I would love to hear regarding the upcoming election and have yet to see or hear them in any capacity. Please feel free to share any other names.

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie - first female bishop in the AME church.

Angela Davis - professor, activist, author

Bell Hooks - professor, feminist, author

Marian Wright Edelman - founder and President of the Children's Defense Fund.

Historically Black Sororities - 4 different organizations, thousands of black women

Kristal Brent Zook - professor, journalist, author

Sister Souljah - activist, author

Black Churches - How did the media bypass all those black women in church?

Black Female Bloggers - if NPR can find us, why can't the mainstream media?

10 comments:

Deb January 23, 2008 at 6:40 AM  

I'm not who you wanted to hear from but my search of blogs was for "invisible women". I was looking because I think I might be one but, race aside, if you can, I think there are two reasons that women in this vast group are not speaking up.
One, we are holding our collective breath and working hard any way we can to support Obama. Two, we are doing what we always do - hunkering down, taking care of the day to day mostly for others beyond self and doing what must be done. It's a lot to hope for and a lot to do.

As to the "invisible women" thing. My best friend and I get no end of amusement from the fact that we are invisible out in public.
No one pays the slightest bit of attention to a salt & pepper team of two middle-aged, fat and fashion negligent women.
If a good screenwriter could follow us around a day on the town in ATL, she would witness some great material!

I don't see invisibility as a curse or handicap, in fact, it's one of the best superpowers going.

wisdomteachesme January 23, 2008 at 9:05 AM  

@deb,
i agree with you.

i learned that concept from my grandfather.
not to be 'offended at all' - but to use their hatred against them while we do what needs to be done, "hiding in plain view!" so to speak.

he got a LOT done for the people of color (blacks and first nation peoples) in this county simply because, when he spoke up it was in 'their meetings' that no other people of color could get into.

i fully inderstand prof. tracey's take on 'invisible ppl', and i feel both outlooks are very valid!
you need both kinds of people in warfare...LOL, really you need 3 kinds.

those that march and speak up in public venues, those that are already in the meetings negotiating, and first and foremost, we need Those that are Prayer Warriors who are giving their time fighting in the Spirit Realm.
Nothing will prosper without God in the center of the Work.

good topic prof...

wisdomteachesme January 23, 2008 at 10:14 AM  

uknow prof,
after reading this again-the thought came to me...

that maybe we (women they are not asking) should email CNN and tell them OUR thoughts concerning the questions that they asked of the beauty parlor women and so on...

FLOOD their gates with our opinions/thoughts etc...via emailS

-hahahah SHUT 'EM DOWN!!--LOLO

just a thought...
:D

wisdomteachesme January 23, 2008 at 10:15 AM  

OH, and her robe is BUMPING!! i love that robe!!!

SheCodes January 23, 2008 at 4:49 PM  

Amen, Professor Tracey. I have wondered about this myself, and only very recently (meaning, like, two weeks ago) have I seen black female political pundits (thank God) on CNN.

They were decent -- I taped one, and will give it to you to post on your blog if you like.

I totally agree with your list. I have a few people to add, but they are lesser known so there is no point in posting their names here.

tryexcellence January 23, 2008 at 5:21 PM  

In addition to the women you've mentioned, I'd like to hear from:

Toni Cade Bambara, writer

Mary Frances Berry, professor, history and law

Margaret Walker, writer/scholar

Lani Guinier, professor, law

Johnnetta B. Cole, former Spelman College President; professor, anthropology

Jewelle Taylor Gibbs, professor, psychology

Nell I. Painter, professor, history

Elizabeth Catlett, artist

Dr. M. Joycelyn Elders, former Surgeon General, professor, pediatrics

Darlene Clark Hine, professor, history

and my mother.

tryexcellence January 23, 2008 at 5:30 PM  

In addition to the women you've mentioned, I'd like to hear from:

Mary Frances Berry, professor, history and law

Margaret Walker, writer/scholar

Lani Guinier, professor, law

Johnnetta B. Cole, former Spelman College President; professor, anthropology

Jewelle Taylor Gibbs, professor, psychology

Nell I. Painter, former professor, history

Elizabeth Catlett, artist

Dr. M. Joycelyn Elders, former Surgeon General, professor, pediatrics

Darlene Clark Hine, professor, history

and last but not least my mother.

Randi523 January 24, 2008 at 11:26 AM  

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie - first female bishop in the AME church.

She spoke at my college graduation in 2005 (Dillard), and SHE WAS AWESOME! I'm so glad the school gave us (actually, we paid for it) a DVD of her talk. I think I'll watch it when I get home tonight!

I'm also thankful for the fairly new Tradition of Excellence blog that also shares tidbits about Blacks making great strides and accomplishments.

politico February 10, 2008 at 3:23 AM  

Interesting point Prof. However, ALL the Black Females on your list are HIGHLY VISIBLE. If any of them called a press conference, they would get some media buzz. However,there are some "invisible" black female nurses, teachers, school adminstrators, single moms who certainly have intelligent opinions to share. Seems like you you suffer from the same myopic bias as CNN. Seems as if "some" black females are invisible to you too. Hmmm...

Professor Tracey February 10, 2008 at 1:25 PM  

@Politico

I would love for you to tell me where you have seen any of the women I listed on mainstream tv in the last 6 months talking about the election or black women in general!

When the Imus scandal broke, news agencies struggled to find black women to speak on the subject. I never saw any of the women I listed. MSNBC did a series on the state of black women and none of these women I listed appeared on that week long segment. If they were so visible, how did the news agencies fail to find them?

And why do black women have to call a press conference to get attention, do white people do that? And quite frankly you clearly do not know what you are taliking about because I can guarantee that the average white person does not know half the names on my list and that does not equal being "highly visible."

Maybe instead of accusing me of being myopic, maybe you need to do a little more research on your own.

Live Feed For Aunt Jemima's Revenge

About This Blog

Blog Archive

  © Blogger templates ProBlogger Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP