Women's History Month is a big deal to me so is feminism. Some of my sisterfriends don't like the labels feminist or black. I do. These words connote different things so if you embrace the labels, the onus is on you to define them and to demonstrate what they mean. Don't let others define you.
"One of the sad commentaries on the way women are viewed in our society is that we have to fit one category. I have never felt that I had to be in one category." ~Faye Wattleton
Why I want you to see me, a black woman.
Black isn't a marker just to identify my race. It more importantly speaks to my culture and experiences. Over the years I've been told by well-meaning folk that they don't see my color. Sorry, but that isn't a compliment. The remark suggests that you need to see me like you in order to accept me rather than being able to see me not like you and still embrace me. Does age, gender, accent or culture never register? Depending on context and level, they all do so let's not pull out race in an effort to be politically correct and instead let's acknowledge it and keep it in perspective.
I am a woman and I write from that experience. I am a Black woman and I write from that experience. I do not feel inhibited or bound by what I am. That does not mean that I have not had bad scenes related to being Black and/or a woman; it means that other people's craziness has not managed to make me crazy.
Sandra Cisneros said in an interview that in college she felt isolated, that no one was interested in what she had to say. She said her experiences as a Hispanic woman were very different from the lives of her college peers. She said when she acknowledged the differences to herself, when she embraced how she was unique, she found her voice. This is why race and culture matter to people of color. This is why we want you to hear our stories and to see us in living color. It's all good acknowledging how we are the same. Is there any reason we can't celebrate how we differ?
Lastly, I'm not big on what people say. Frankly, damn what you sayin', tell me how you livin'. If you're a feminist, what are you doing to support the cause for human rights for all? This is how I define feminism. I don't want to secure only my rights and freedoms but everyone's. As a feminist, I believe in speaking your truth and not apologizing for it. As a black feminist, I'm not waiting for anyone to acknowledge my presence or to celebrate who I am. I do it 365 days a year and I invite you to join me at my party. I'm a black woman and I like the sound of my voice. I hope you do, too.
* Black-Eyed Susans: a collection of stories by black women. I searched in vain for the original cover art. It is superior. Posted for WG and Confession Tuesday.