Thursday, January 21, 2021

The Most Disrespected Person On The Planet? The Black Woman?

January 12, 2019 by  
Filed under News, Relationships, Weekly Columns

( Anyone who has sat in on one of my lectures can attest to the fact that I go to extreme lengths to involve the audience. This effort is a tactic targeted at keeping the audience engaged as I discuss pressing issues affecting Black America. Of all the topics that I cover during lectures, there is no more contentious one than “the place” or role of Black women in the struggle for racial equality.

It is with the goal in mind of illuminating this issue that I frequently ask female audience members the following question.

Who are you? Specifically, what is the bigger part of you — are you Black or a female.

Of course, this inherently biased question is used to force Black women to make an impossible decision; which do they identify with their Race or Gender? Only the wisest among them realize that whatever decision they make leads to an avalanche of other issues.

I hope that by the lecture’s culmination that every female present realizes that their positioning as a Black female or a female who happens to be Black, places them in a peculiar position few others face. The dilemma they face is that they are too Black to be involved in the feminist movement and far too female to have their issues and concerns placed center stage by Black male activists. You know the type, a charismatic pseudo-revolutionary whose focus on racial oppression blinds them to all other forms of oppression. I can only imagine the frustration that Black activists seeking to accentuate forms of oppression other than Race (gender, sexual orientation, class, etc.) must feel when they are silenced by those who believe that they are working toward a slogan such as “All Power to the People.”

Just as problematic as the muting of Black women by their male counterparts seeking to replicate patriarchal constructs is the silencing they experience by white middle-class women whose view is informed by an unseasoned political agenda that ultimately serves to buttress white world supremacy interests. My understanding of this peculiar situation ensured that I would not be surprised by the recent announcement that Women’s March Chicago would not occur this year.

I did not need to hear an “explanation” for why the March would not occur, I intuitively realized that March leaders Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, and Carmen Perez violated the unspoken demand that non-white women perform a white-faced minstrel performance whose script called for them to parrot the political priorities and agenda of white middle-class women whose privileged status has facilitated their ownership of the Women’s Right Movement. Of course, they routinely fail to use that bully-pulpit to address the oppression that non-white females experience. I am sure that Tamika Mallory realizes, like so many before her, that the punishment white female political activist are eager to dole out for failing to be a “team player” is harsh and immediate. Although I am more than confident that White female activists will deny that their oppressive behavior toward non-White female political activists seeking to interject their political priorities into the debate are Hitleresque, their denial fails to lessen this truth.

There is little room to debate against the reality that the White leaders of the Women’s March Movement are continuing their longest and most reverberating tradition of silencing Black Women activists. One must remember that it was White women who were aghast when Congress passed the 15th Amendment that granted African-American men the right to vote on February 26, 1869, as it pinpointed gender, not Race, as the cause of natural inferiority. White women were up in arms regarding the assertion that Black men were superior to them; particularly revealing is the failure of the aggrieved white women to include the plight of Black Women in their agitation for voting rights during the Reconstruction era.

This tradition of White women agitating for first-class citizenship with little concern for their darker sisters continued throughout the twentieth century and into the new millennium. We must never forget that politically powerful White women demanded that Black Women march in the rear of their rallies and parades so as to not upset southern-based White women.

Those who are literate in the history of racial bigotry within political campaigns headed by Whites realize that racial bigotry has been a fixture throughout the Women’s Movement from its conception. So, it is not surprising that contemporary Women’s March leaders are operating under the same banner of “It’s our way or the highway” that covered their political predecessors. Unfortunately for Black Women, the above political agendas have never considered, let alone promoted, the unique issues they face. The canceling of the Women’s March Chicago is yet another reminder for Black Women political activists that coalitions are nice, however, they are a poor substitute for the development of a political agenda centered on the issues of Black women.

Columnist; Dr. James Thomas Jones III

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