Friday, November 21, 2008

Interesting Article On The Breakthroughs And Setbacks Of White Women During The 2008 Campaign Season - Women Of Color Once Again Excluded

I'm not sure of the point or value of this article. It's an interesting, but disturbing read. This article should have been entitled, the Bitch, the Ditz, and the Forgotten because women of color were not included. You can't have the "year of the women" if you are only talking about white women. As a woman of color neither one of these women represent me or appeal to me in any fashion. I find that very troubling.

It amazes me that 30 years after the modern women's movement began, the discussion is still just about white women, their issues, their whining and complaining, their unhappiness, their triumphs, and their failures. I for one, believe that this focus has become tired, stale, boring, and pointless. It's time for white women to realize they are not the only women in the world - that they are not the universal example for all women.

And I am not at all convinced that all the white women that supported Clinton or Palin would EVER support a woman of color running for office with the same passion. Women of color either need to get more aggressive about getting into politics or more insistent about having their views heard. Women of color should be disturbed at the defining of all women by the measurements of white women's perceptions, views, and wants, and needs.

I am highly irritated at how some white women have decided to define Michelle Obama and her decision to take a very low-key role in her first year as First Lady. If I read again that Michelle Obama is turning into a 1950s housewife one more time, I'll scream. She's the first black woman in the white house who is not a maid, cook, or infrequent guest - she needs to look out for her young children and for herself. That's not a 1950s housewife, that's a black woman protecting her family.

And I am quite sure that Michelle Obama has not forgotten what happened early in the campaign when she DARED to honestly express herself as a black woman and she better always remember to tread lightly because "the angry black woman" stereotype is never too far away.


Shurl November 21, 2008 at 10:27 AM  

When I was in graduate school, a white feminist gave a lecture to our class. She asked the largely female class "who considers themselves a feminist?" Lots of hands were raised. But, I didn't raise my hand. She asked "For those who didn't raise your hand, why don't you consider yourself a feminist?' My had shot up and I said something like, " In America, I am considered black first and a woman second. My reality is that when someone sees me, they draw conclusions about me as a black person first."

My point was basically that when the U.S. talks about the strides and achievements of women, they are talking about white women. When Mae Jemison became the first African-American woman in space, she was lauded like crazy in black American circles. But, I don't think she became a rallying point for feminists (please correct me if I'm wrong.)

GoldenAh November 21, 2008 at 4:04 PM  

The question is: do we see ourselves as women first, or black first? I am a woman first. I'm not conceding my womanhood to whites. I don't care what BS the media spouts. We shouldn't let 'em get away with it.

What our group(s) get called changes and mutates, but there'll always be just women and men. No one is going to turn me into a non-woman, or half-man, because they are confused.

Anonymous,  November 21, 2008 at 4:27 PM  

I'm sorry that happen to you Shurl. All of my Women's Studies/Feminist Theory classes were diverse and had a heavy emphasis on multiculturalism, anti-classism, anti-ableism, and being aware of the plight of women and girls overseas, regardless of their skin color, religion, class, sexual/gender-identity, nationality, etc. My intro class was taught by an elderly Black woman who discussed the racist exclusions of WOCs (and women of the working- and lower-classes and Queer Women) from the early feminist-movements, and regularly cited bell hooks and Womanism. So thanks to my professors and our reading materials, it became my understanding that feminism is supposed to be *intersectional* and *inclusive* of all women and girls who desire liberation, equality, and to be acknowledged as full, autonomous human beings and citizens.

But unfortunately, if you take a look at some of the white-feminist/PUMA-blogs, clearly these women are just as clueless yet pretentious as Sarah Palin. Feminism is a white-woman-only country club to them, and not a means to liberate all women and girls. When Obama won the nomination and the election, obviously these particular myopic, white-feminist-bloggers/PUMAs had a white Southern Belle breakdown and took it as an affront to their precious and very bourgeois White Womanhood. They are simply aghast and oh so flustered that their White Womanhood wasn't autonomatically catered to, as it has been since the reign/rule of Queen Elizabeth Tudor the First of England. You'd think they want to start another Emmett Till incident. They want chivalry and a free pass for every white woman who attempts to pass themselves off as the Feminist Icon...not equality and liberation for all women and girls. Cue Sojourner Truth's Ain't I a Woman speech, because clearly these particular dare-I-say elitist, white-feminist-bloggers-- still clutching their pearls and getting the vapors over a Black man defeating HRC and Sarah Palin in way, their avatars for White Womanhood-- haven't heard it, and I'm pretty damn certain they have read very little or no WOC feminist/womanist literature.

LorMarie November 21, 2008 at 7:16 PM  

I'm with Goldenah,

I am a woman first. For a long time I kept women's issues in the back of my blackness because I thought it was how people saw me. No offense to Shurl of course. I just feel that black women have the right to champion our womanhood since others tried to deny us that right.

Siditty November 21, 2008 at 10:36 PM  

If we didn't learn how the feminist movement felt about black women during this election, we just didn't learn our lesson. This election gave me insight on why we have a womanist movement. Geraldine Ferraro, Gloria Steinem, and other proved that a vagina trumps anything else in their eyes, and they wanted to play tit for tat in regards to who was more oppressed women or minorities, and never once in their equation did the black woman come up.

I have learned to these same women I am black first, woman second, their struggle doesn't parallel mine. Black women had never had to fight to work outside the home, we had no choice but to work outside the home. We didn't fight for abortion rights because we were too focused on what the black church taught us.

Mari-Djata November 21, 2008 at 11:26 PM  

Why do we have to rank our race and gender? Are we not both at the same time? I can't tell when the Black starts and the woman ends when it comes to my everyday life... but I tend to not prioritize my existence.

oregonsistah November 22, 2008 at 8:10 PM  

Yes, Michelle needs to focus on those two beautiful black young ladies. She has worked the past few years as a working mother to support Barack, now it is her turn. I am so happy that now we have a different image of a black women that is being taken care of so she can focus on the souls of her children. And if Michelle wants to be a 1950s house, so be it...I don't care too much about what white women have to say for the most part. They need to sweep around their own front door first. i.e. they are the one's that are always whining and crying on Oprah's show about everything under the sun.

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