April 28, 2010

Category: Real Talk

Womanism Is Not My Problem!


Womanism usually refers to outrageous, audacious, courageous, or willful behavior. (A womanist) is committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female. Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender. ~Alice Wallker

Going through my blog I just realized that lately I’ve been largely writing in response to the shenanigans and ignorance that plays out on the Web and in the media. I’ve been playing defense and anyone who knows me, knows I appreciate the tackle, but personally I prefer to run the ball in. As a woman of color it’s so easy for us to find ourselves constantly defending our style, our politics, our culture, and our bodies, but as of today I’m officially over it! I’m tired of having to articulate my reasons for living a certain way, for having to defend the specific choices I’ve made about my career, about my hair and my love life. I have to reclaim my blog and myself from this insanity. So starting right now I’m going to make a concerted effort to write more from an offensive point of view. I want to create spaces so tight, so authentically defined by my own womanness and Blackness, that only power, respect, and love can enter and reside. My body is a site of resistance, no doubt and that whole Nightline, CNN, Economist debacle reminded me just how much that it, along with my psyche, is still under siege. Furthermore I was stunned to see how I and other women, mostly women (and some men) of color fall into the trap of complaining, defending, venting and SMH’ing, and in turn we in a way become that “problematic” that the media makes us out to be.

People of color, especially Black folk, have a history of redefining Western culture and beliefs to suit ourselves and our loves. Maybe marriage is that record we need to cut and scratch. No doubt many sisters– married and single– have hip-hopped love and commitment to create their own pleasure and satisfaction. If Carrie Bradshaw can be single, in her 40’s, make boo-koo money, rock Manolo Blahniks and have an adventurous sex life without being deemed a failure then why can’t I? All that scratching is making America itch. Black women, Latina women, Indian women we just have to learn to not scratch that itch because it’s really not our problem. I love writer Farai Chideya’s post on the subject of being Black female and single. Throughout she drops bombs of knowledge like:

There is some serious head-tripping going on here, and I have a feeling it doesn’t just have to do with black women. It has to do with a deep re-appraisal of relative social value during this time of economic insecurity. Women have been able to hold onto their jobs in this economy better than men have. On a racial level, sociologist William Julius Wilson noted during a recent speech at Harvard’s Black Policy Conference that for the first time in more than a decade, the relative black unemployment rate is less than a 2-to-1 ratio to the white rate. The white unemployment rate is still far lower, but the relative income insecurity of white workers is rising faster. And some people are looking for comfort in the perceived misfortune of others. Right now, it’s the black woman’s turn to play the black sheep. Or as one person who wrote into my blog put it, “The ‘sad lonely career woman’ is the ‘welfare queen’ of the 2000s.”

Putting a ring on it, or a relaxer in it or a J.D. after it, is not the key to happiness and clearly having to explain this to Steve Harvey, Soledad O’Brien, Diane Sawyer, Chris Rock and anyone else who thinks that Black women are freakin out is a waste of my time. From now on I’m going to try to ignore the pandering and instead pour myself a glass of bubbly and toast myself for making moves instead of blocking moves. For knowing that my life is my joy and not some pathology on a stick to be dissected and licked up by late night television producers, comedians and magazine editors. Now that’s thinking like a lady and acting like a woman! How ya like me now?

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15 Responses to “Womanism Is Not My Problem!Comment RSS feed

  • Zelle
    April 28th, 2010 7:46 pm

    Love! Love! L.O.V.EEEEEEzeeeee!

  • Angie Writes
    April 28th, 2010 8:22 pm

    *Applauding wildly* 🙂

  • fanon che wilkins
    April 28th, 2010 11:30 pm

    I love this piece because so much of our energy seems to revolve around what we are against, rather than what we are for. We need our imaginations and vision(s) to be about the business of creating the alternatives spaces that will be the light in the dark. Remember that the light never argues with the dark–the light just is and in its isness it illumines.

  • florence tate
    April 28th, 2010 11:37 pm

    now that’s the womanist spirit. great essay!

  • michele
    April 29th, 2010 9:12 am

    spoke like a true cultural critic and we do more women of color cultural critics. Loved the essay looking forward to reading more

  • esther armah
    April 29th, 2010 9:36 am

    I wish I’d had this piece for The Spin, the all women media panel I do every week, but did a special focus on black women following the spectacle of critique all up on us. NM, I love, love what you wrote – that is my creed. Create, build, expand, explore – not reaction, detraction. Love this piece!

  • tara
    April 29th, 2010 1:48 pm

    you continue to amaze and inspire me with your wisdom. thanks for sharing, love you

  • Kjen
    April 29th, 2010 4:04 pm

    And here I was gearing up for a monster post to rebuke the notion that ‘black women’, okay me, are all single, desperate and lonely because we/i are too picky no less.

    But what you said makes a lot of sense. I know who I am. I know that other people will have differing opinions from me. But why should I use alter my schedule and my life to try to alter their perceptions. Those who want to and are able to see me and understand me will – regardless of what I do.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  • Life in B Major
    April 29th, 2010 8:33 pm

    Good piece

  • Funkidivagirl
    April 30th, 2010 9:38 am

    Preach sister! Great post and I look forward to more posts about how you living your joyful life.

  • lacrystal
    April 30th, 2010 10:34 am

    THANK YOU!!!! you have made my friday 🙂

  • neppy
    May 1st, 2010 12:56 pm

    niceness. ‘from an offensive point of view’ — shamelessly sweet pun

  • marcia
    May 1st, 2010 5:10 pm

    I know that’s right. Just be you and all will be right in your world!

  • Sweetilocks
    May 6th, 2010 7:15 pm

    You go girl! You have definitely inspired within me a new frame of mind. As they say, the best defense is a good offense. Keep spreadin’ that knowledge!

  • Daree Allen
    May 7th, 2010 6:52 pm

    I couldn’t have said it better–but I did enjoy your previous post on the aforementioned subjects. I say, “Do you!”