Another month, another edition of Petite Chats. Since it’s Black History Month, I pulled the questions related to blackness. Yes, every month is a month of black history in my book. Since we have a special little month to highlight it, why not take advantage.
You Ask, I Answer
do you believe we (woc) can be mean to each other? What about women being mean to other women? Some of the cruelty I faced wasn’t at the hands of guys as much as it was at the hands of other women, but whenever I share that, women tell me I’m being “anti – feminist,” the women’s behavior was just an extension of the patriarchy, and I need to look at the bigger picture. Is that accurate or even fair?
Hi there little anon,
I’m going to tackle your questions in two parts: women of colour solidarity and feminist sisterhood in general.
Women of colour can certainly be mean to each other. Anti-blackness is real. Xenophobia is real. Homophobia is real. Colourism is real. Classism is real. All is these -isms are layers we encounter when we interact with other woc. Sometimes I think people fall into this narrative of the enemy of my enemy (white people ) (sic) is my friend, when it comes to woc solitary because we’re all not white and they forget all the other baggage that comes along with being human. As I like to tell my fellow black people we aren’t a monolith and won’t all get along, the same goes for woc.
From what you’ve told me, you aren’t being anti-feminist. Everything can’t be blamed on the patriarchy. If a woman can school you on the evils of the patriarchy, she can decondition herself on how not to perpetuate such volatile behaviour. Mainstream feminism -sometimes referred to as White Feminism™ – often erases the narratives of those who aren’t white,middle class, able bodies women. It’s those little historical highlights like “women didn’t get to vote until 1920” but it should be “white women didn’t get to vote until 1920”. While the labour of suffrage for white women stopped then, it didn’t for black women in America. But that doesn’t fit into a neat little box, that can be checked off once accomplished. You calling women out that behaviour ruins their performative feminism.
All of this is to say, the next time someone tell you’re being anti-feminist, respond with “No, my dear, you, unfortunately, do not practice intersectional feminist. You should read some of Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw‘s work and realise the bigger picture” and end the conversation there. Don’t let someone dismiss your lived experience because it doesn’t conform to their beliefs.
I hope this helps.
are you friends with any white people who GET it and if so, did you have to do any educating? I’m SO tired of the stupidity when there are so many resources they can use to LEARN and help themselves out but I wonder if we’ll just have to rely on woke white to get their brethren because they only listen to each other
Hi little anon,
To answer your first question, yes I am friends with white people who get it. I made the conscious decision in college not to befriend people who didn’t have some understanding of racism, intersectionality, and institutional discrimination.
My uni believed in a liberal arts education, so my peers could pay thousands of dollars to be educated on this topics. I am not a teacher. Now that is not to say I am not willing to answer questions or send people down the right direction because I am. Sometimes I have been that person asking a Muslim friend or LGBTQ friend for more insight into topics,but I came with the basics to facilitate a genuine and well-intentioned conversation. I am much more receptive to a friend or acquaintance who says “I read an article about black children receiving harsher punishment in elementary school and I want to know your thoughts” opposed to someone saying “ I don’t get why black kids are always getting expelled from school. Do you know why?” Effort matters! During those conversations I like to street they need to educate their white families and friends,even if it is uncomfortable.
Sometimes it can be exhausting. It can be frustrating. It is okay to tell someone”Google is your friend.” This is something I told my white friend who refused to believe white women historically received the greatest benefits from affirmative action. I did not as for racism to exist and I certainly should not be responsible for ending it. Finding friends and acquaintances who are willing to accept we have varied lived experiences is key. For the ones who don’t get it, it’s okay to let them go. Friendships end for several different reasons.
Just remember it is give and take. If your feel as though you’re giving more than you’re receiving, say something. If you don’t, nothing will change.
Do you know how to grow edges? Mine thinned from the constant cornrows/extensions.
You might want to try Jamaican black castor oil. It’s been known to help with hair growth. I personally used it on a spot where eczema causes hair loss,and I have seen a difference. Just rub a small amount on the affected area every night and you should see a change. If you live near an Asian market or health food store or even Whole Foods, pick up a fresh aloe leave. Cut the aloe thinly and rub a little on the area.
Another suggestion would be to lay off on the cornrows/extensions. Your hair needs time to breathe, especially if you’re trying to grow your edges. Baby and nurture your hair. In addition to laying off the extension, try to limit tight ponytails/slicking back your hair and excessive heat. All of these are have negative effects when done repeatedly and would be counterproductive to your goal.
I hope these are helpful tips.
Best of luck!
any good romantic novel recs with black women?
Hey little anon,
I’m a big fan of Maureen Smith. I recommended her book The Swede, which features an interracial pairing, but she also had a series with black couples such as The Wolf Pack. If you like historical romance, check out Alyssa Cole’s The Loyal League series. If you need more, drop me another line.
1000 words later and that’s that for this month’s Petite Chats. I hope some of this was informative. Don’t forget my Tumblr inbox is always open, so feel free to say hello over there or ask me any burning questions below in the comments.
Until Next Time,