Black Women : Feminism - What Have I (A Black Woman) To Do With It?

Discussion in 'Black Women - Mothers - Sisters - Daughters' started by river, Jul 4, 2005.

  1. river

    river Watch Her Flow MEMBER

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    The white feminist movement discredits the voices of Black women on two grounds.

    1. They bond on a basis of common victimhood and see our supposed strength as disqualifying us from being victims.

    2. They claim that most of us are too poor to afford the advanced college education that we need to articulate our ideas on the level of theory development. Thus they dismiss our voices as being on the level of mere description.
    (Vicki Ruiz - Unequal Sisters)

    Even if they welcomed us with open arms we don't share in their history so why should we share in their struggles? Their struggle is to compete with men. Historically the early founders of the feminists movement sought suffrage for white women by promising the white man that they would help him crush the Black man's fight for our rights (Ann Douglas - Terrble Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s ). Our struggle as Black women is not to compete with our men nor to gain power by any means necessary as if we as a people do not rise and fall together.

    IMHO feminism is just that--an ism. Just like racism, sexB]ism[/B], ageism or any other kind of ism.As Black women we need an agenda for our struggle that is informed by our history and experience in this country and the world. As it is said freedom is given to those who don't understand it. It's about what we want not what they want for us.
     
  2. fanyamambo

    fanyamambo Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Don't we already

    Interesting topic River. Surely black women have an agenda for struggle that is informed by the history and experience of black women? I would like to hear what you as a black woman in America see as the agenda for your peers. What is being done and needs to be done?
     
  3. panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Sister River:

    Just one historical correction, then I will politely remove myself from this thread. The early days of the feminist movement occured before the 1920s. The feminist movement actually grew out of the 1840s, with such leaders as Susan B. Anthony. This movement was inspired by the Abolitionist Movement, as white women began to see a similar oppression they faced at the hands of the white man. The declaration of sentitments signed in New York, 1848 was the official beginnings of the Women's Rights (Feminist)Movement. Few men supported this idea, yet a black man (Frederick Douglass) was also a signer of this document. I have always found this interesting, because white men are currently portrayed as progressive & kind, while black men are considered oppressive & unsupportive. However throughout history, white women felt oppressed in white male dominated society. Indeed at least twice in history (1840 & 1960s), white women have used black civil rights movements to gain their own civil rights from white males. What can be learned from this?
     
  4. karmashines

    karmashines Banned MEMBER

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    Many traditional African cultures promoted a matriarachal mindset, (as some on here have already pointed out in religious debates. :)
     
  5. fanyamambo

    fanyamambo Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    However Karmashines, feminism in and of itself is not about matriarchy.

    River, there's a famous white feminist named Marilyn Frye who said "If what we want is equality with our white brothers, then what we want is, among other things, our own firsthand participation in racial dominance rather than the secondhand ersatz dominance we get as the dominant group's women. No wonder such feminism has no credibility with women of colour</I> </I>"

    (I have this written down in an old notebook so have no links). This is quite in line with the questions you raise.
     
  6. river

    river Watch Her Flow MEMBER

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    Hey fanyamambo it is always good to see you,

    Well here in America there is some talk that we should get involved in the feminist movement.

    I think an agenda for Black women must be radically different from that of white women. For starters Black men don't have enough political power to ooppress us in the same way that white men oppress everybody. Where employment and finances are concerned it is easier for a black woman to get a good job and advance her career because we are viewed as less threatening than Black men.

    But there is personal and domestic oppression. This is the arena where many Black men try to assert their stolen sense of who they are as men by tearing us down. Note the many conversations right here on this board where brothers talk about there are no good Black women in America so they're going to the Caribbeans or wherever to find a mate. So our first task must be to change this negative view and make Black men see that as I said we do rise or fall together.

    This giving Black women more financial and career advancement than Black men is the same divide and conquer scheme that President Bush is using now when he showers priveleges and approval on illegal aliens while the media demonizes legitimate Black citizens. He knows that as long as we see them as rivals and they see us as losers we will never join together as allies against our common oppressor. One way to address this issue is to use our positions to advance the educational and vocational opportunities of Black men--especially young Black men. En mass we must eschew the so called thug lifestyle by choosing educated and forward moving Black men as partners in love. As long as we buy the white feminist idea that men have all the power and apply it to Black men we will always be working from a lie. A lie can never have a positive effect on our reality.

    In short our efforts must begin with inner healing and then reach out to our brothers to work beside them for changes. Working together and encouraging one another to grow in positive ways will reduce, if not eliminate, the adverse ego reaction and backlash that always follow the successes of the white feminist movement.

    Of course this is only a small part of what our entire agenda should be but it reflects where I see we need to put significant efforts.
     
  7. river

    river Watch Her Flow MEMBER

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    See our men know this but some of us think the reason Black men don't like feminism is becauese they want us to remain oppressed.

    There has to be a general effort to educate Black women about the difference between white feminism and the agenda that we must adopt for ourselves. Like Brotha Pan said they got their ideas from our civil rights movement in the first place so it really doesn't make sense for us to feel like we need to get on their bandwagon and try to wear the hand-me-downs they got from us and tailored to fit them.
     
  8. MANASIAC

    MANASIAC Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Reasons why I think Contemporary Feminism is not for Black Women:

    First, we must define Contermporary Feminism:

    In my opinion contemporary feminism is that of women like Patricia Ireland, NOW, and other radical feminists during the 1960's.

    These feminists are nothing but rich white elite women, who are only concerned with themselves. These women promote homosexuality and homosexual rights, and anti-male sentiment, among other things, which have nothing to do with the movement for an egalitarian society during the 20's. Moreover, these neo-feminists are never seen with attempting to help women in lower income brackets, and women who are not elite.

    The second reason why contemporary feminism is not for the Black Woman:

    Contemporary Feminists did not back Shirely Chisolm in 72 when she ran for president.

    In my opinion, this is a clear example. Shirely Chisolm did not even get a handshake from NOW and it amazes me that Black Women do not understand this. If these white feminists did not support your sister when she ran for president, what do you think they are going to do for you?

    (Typos Galore)
     
  9. bigtown

    bigtown Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Todays feminist movement (specifically the National Organization of Women) is nothing more than a lesbian group whos' only agenda is to show american women that men are obsolete to them. All of the high ranking members are all lesbians with female lovers. In my "BIG" opinion, that speaks volumes as to what the feminist identity is today.
     
  10. MANASIAC

    MANASIAC Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Amen to That Brother Bigtown. Contemporary Feminism is viewed as some as an attempt to destroy the family.
     
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