The Black backlash is everyday, everywhere it is prevalent and persistent. It comes from the dark abyss of white power (in our universities, our workplace, where we volunteer, where our kids go to school), white passing privilege and from people of color who gain access to traditionally white only places of power based on the skin color gradient at the door. Its the social hierarchy of white supremacy that teaches us that the closer you are to whiteness the prettier, smarter, more trustworthy, more qualified, less violent and more reliable you are.
I recently had a well known brown feminist dog me to someone in the nicest, most politically correct way I've heard in a while, by condescendingly commenting on how well my attire fits in/ assimilates (for a Black woman) at a traditionally white only feminist space that she a brown woman holds power in. The compliment it was mean to be was over shadowed by the over sized "but" that followed, then a "...I highly recommend (insert name of white woman) instead."
Sure it hurt, but not as much as the realization that someone who was considered trusted, as an ally is thoroughly infected by the anti-Black racist plague that is so easily visible thus readily diagnosed in white women. Then slowly all the previous feedback received including descriptive words usually used when describing the angry Black Woman trope or the need to sideline Trans women issues all started to make sense. The symptoms where there all along.
As Black women we understand struggle, survival at all cost, we empathize not just for empathy sake but because we have first hand knowledge of a lifetime lived daily as the ultimate kicking stone of our society. Sure we stand in solidarity with the displaced and victimized women around the world, especially in war torn parts of Asia and the Middle East and on unceded land here at home; and firmly oppose to Islamophobia everywhere. We can often be seen supporting if not leading inter-sectional causes with other Black, Indigenous folks and People of Color (BIPOC) everywhere on college campuses, from Blacklives to Plastine, LGBTQ2IA, Sex Worker Rights, Homelessness, AntiPoverty, Fight for $15 and beyond.
The question are:
- With white supremacy functioning in all our progressive feminist spaces when will Black women be supported on the merits of our characters and body of our work rather than the amount of melanin in our skin?
- Is feminism only for white women and women who closely resemble them in looks and their ability to keep the doors firmly closed on Black women?