The Politics of Studying Black Women’s Representations 9/03/2019 #1
As I was reading “Bringing More Women Into Political Leadership” by Dessina Williams, I was very shocked at the statistics that were given. The fact that majority of the world living in poverty are women, shows that resources for women are extremely lacking. The percentage of poverty should look like the percentage of the world, approximately half and half. The point about the world being inequitable made me think wonder why it was so gender split. Part of me realized that women require much more resources then men, like sanitary products, physician specialists, and maternal rights. Yet, that is not an excuse for women to be left behind in the advancement of the world simply because they require more effort. The famous slogan, though it has become widely used as a marketing technique, still resonates meaning. The future is indeed female and women are to thank for the men that are in the world now.
The excuse that is always heard (mainly from misogynists) when asked why women do not have more leadership roles in spaces, is because we are “too emotional”. To that answer, I raise two more questions. Who said men weren’t just as emotional as women, and what does being emotional have to do with the capability of succeeding in a position of power? As of right now, men dominate positions of leadership across all sectors of the world and yet problems still exist. Somethings got to give, and that thing are positions of power!
I realized that I resonated a lot with the statement from the Combahee River Collective. There were many points brought up about feminism and life as a black woman, that I didn’t consciously realize I had experienced until seeing someone else say it. I was immediately brought back to my experience working as a waitress this past summer. I was employed at a very prestigious, private social club and was the only minority working in my position. Let alone, a double minority as a black woman. There were times when the white, cis male chefs would say comments that were underlyingly condescending and offensive. I would brush the interactions off, attributing my thoughts to me misinterpreting. However, after reading the statement I can no longer brush it off. It taught me that there will be situations we, as black women go through that no one will understand. But just because no one understands, doesn’t mean the problem doesn’t exist.
The appreciation and respect I have for the National Black Feminist Organization (NBFO) has increased tenfold after understanding their struggle against inequality. As said in the statement, black feminists are not just fighting against one oppression, their fighting against multiple (Hull, Scott and Smith). Meaning not all of their effort can be put towards one fight but it must be divided amongst the two in achieving their ultimate goals as black feminists. It is a fight that is difficult but necessary for the elevation of black women. Since this statement was written in the 1970’s, I wonder what has changed since then. What progress has been made in their fight and given the changing generation, what other obstacles have occurred. As a black woman, I stand with the NFBO in the fight for black feminists, because it is about time we are given the resources and respect we deserve.
Hull, Akasha, Patricia Bell Scott and Barbara Smith. “The Combahee River Collective Statement.” But Some of Us Are Brave. Feminist Press, 1982.
Picture from: https://combaheerivercollective.weebly.com/