Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Quick Point for the Day

Anytime a White identified woman asks how to be an ally to a womyn of color, or how to be a "real feminist" that includes full self-actualization, I am always in amazement that the first things said are about how "hard" things are, how "oppressive" the world is, how racism has depleted the hope, stamina, and good-nature of womyn of color.

Speaking at least for myself, yes, there is another side of life that womyn of color must deal with that often has to do with poverty, injustice, violence, and discrimination in waves that most US-White women do not understand.

However, what I think most people don't understand is that with rough terrain often comes full souls, hearts that are readily open and laugh often, party much, and celebrate the matters of most importance.

Communities of differences beset by injustice are often the first to identify the good spots of life, the waters that most take for granted.

That side of womyn of color is often not understood.

I am not a meeting the world with a bitter head, I see it head on, face up, and have joy.

I have joy.

So, if you want to better understand the lives of womyn of color, it is imperative to not only understand the pain, but to watch the joy.


  1. That's the thing. :)

  2. Hello there!

    Thanks for this post!

    I think that there are many black women who come to my think tank who are still "stuck" into the self-definition of "we're all struggling".


    Sometimes, those who are outside of our communities attempt to connect to the "pain of being black" in an attempt to forge bonds with blacks...


    I am happy that you mentioned that there is s much MORE than the "understand our oppression" mentality among communities of color...

  3. Anonymous2:34 PM

    you know, the only time i've ever gotten in "trouble" when hanging with other women of color is when we were laughing so loud at restaurants/hotels/etc, we were disturbing other people. it was our laughter that people got mad at--why in the hell were we laughing so loud???

    because, well, there's a whole fuck of a lot to laugh at, right? Duh.


  4. Well, one of the things you may or may not know about white feminist groups is that they're all about suffering, you almost know about people's horrendous life problems or the ordeals they've been through (whether it's the death of a close relative or a bad experience with a rude shop assistant before you know their names.

    I remember Blackamazon mentioning women of colour being used as totems by white feminists, and really, she couldn't be more right: when you get invited to join in a white feminist discussion, they're very uncomfortable with actual people, and among other things with their laughter, and certainly with their physical presence. What they're looking for is examples of authentic suffering to share in. After all, masochism and submission and fatalism are a huge part of white middle-class femininity.

    After all, Western women have it pretty good materially-speaking, in the scheme of things we don't do much suffering. We're still disenfranchised however, even though it's very comfortable. So what you're talking about here is a more or less calculated element in the whole white feminist experience. When they talk about "including women of colour", it's almost more racist than when they just decide to do the white feminist thing. You know this already of course, but when people start asking how they can include you, run a mile!

  5. "Anytime a White identified woman asks how to be an ally to a womyn of color"

    That's kind of a self-selected group though. I mean, the type of person who requests a tutorial for "how to be an ally to X group" is the type who would then other those in X group along the lines of "hope, stamina, and good-nature." I think those who wish to be an ally will simply be one without need for an announcement.

  6. YES! I mean so much comes not form anger but things impeding the JOY the absolute JOY we already have and the love.

  7. I think that dynamic is part-and-parcel of the general dehumanization of racism. I mean, laughter and smiles and enjoying life by the lungful tend to humanize a person. If a white woman isn't prepared to recognize that in a woman of color, is doesn't bode well for her ally-ship. Or....what octo said---being an ally is an action, not a description or resume. Not recognizing the capacity for joy is one more method of dehumanizing---and a very effective one. Aren't smiles one of the few universal cross-cultural expressions?


Hey there,
Before you leave a comment, just remember two things:
1. You are taking responsibility for a public comment
2. Anything that resembles racism, homophobia, classism, ableism, or anything based from religion, citizenship, or ethnic bias - don't bother commenting, you'll be deleted.