Monthly Archives: January 2007

TEXAS UNIVERSITY OFFERS FREE TUITION

Well, it looks like my faith in the human race is slowy, but surely being restored.

Hope (and faith) in humans springs eternal.

“UT/Arlington Offers Free Tuition”

04:03 PM CST on Tuesday, January 23, 2007

From 11 News Staff Reports The University of Texas in Arlington said it will guarantee free tuition to students of families earning less than $25,000 a year.

Also online

FREE tuition information

The new financial aid program is called “The Maverick Promise”.

It goes into effect in the fall of this year.

Everyone taking at least six hours qualifies, even existing students and transfers.”

Link:

 http://www.khou.com/topstories/stories/khou070123_jj_freetuition.103710cd.html

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SMALL TEXAS TOWN PROPOSES BAN ON THE ‘N WORD’

Well, it seems that some people are tired of this racist insult, and are attempting to do something about it.

Brazoria proposes a ban on the ‘N word’

02:56 PM CST on Tuesday, January 23, 2007

By Rucks Russell / 11 News Click to watch videoThe city of Brazoria is proposing an ordinance outlawing the “N word,” but not everyone in town is on board with idea.

N word ban

Do you think cities should ban the “N word”?

Yes

No

Mayor Ken Corley hopes the usage of the notorious racial slur will soon be a thing of the past in his city of 2,800, a relic as distant as the old Jim Crow laws that once ruled the day here. 

“Obviously, I’m not black, but if I was and the word was used at me, it would offend me seriously,” Corley said.

Under his proposed ordinance, a person would be committing an offense if he or she intentionally uses the N word in an “abusive, indecent, hurtful, degrading or insulting way” in public.  Violators could face fines of up to $500.

11 News

Brazoria Mayor Ken Corley

And if the ordinance passes, it won’t be the first time Brazoria has been a leader in passing high-profile restrictions – they were the first city in Texas to pass a law prohibiting sex offenders from living near children.

The mayor’s plan has already won the backing of some on the city council, as well as a group of prominent local black ministers. 

“I applaud him for having the courage to bring this to the forefront,” ******* said.

Opinions on the ordinance differ with many in the population, but the mayor insists that the ordinance will make his city a better place to live.

“This is no doubt a quality of life issue,” he said.

A quality that could cost some people a lot to maintain.

Link:

http://www.khou.com/news/local/stories/khou070122_tnt_nwordban.c805524e.html

Standing up for decency, dignity and respect has to start somewhere.

And it usually begins with just one person.

*****************************************************************************

Update on the Brazoria ban on the “N-word”:

January 26, 2007

An update on the Brazoria, Texas proposal to ban the n-word:

The citizens gave the mayor a “tongue-lashing” over their objection with just the n-word singled out for being subject to a $500 fine.

One young white woman in the crowd (there were so many people who came to the townhall meeting, that the crowd swelled to over-capacity beyond the 200 people the building could hold, and therefore, the meeting was held outside), asked the following:

“What about the girls that are called ‘white cracker’ or even ‘whore’, you know, what about all them? It’s not only right to pass it for the n-word.”

One elderly white woman, her voice dripping in rage, had this to say to the mayor:

“You have opened up a can of worms!”

On the other hand, some black citizens pointed out that some blacks use the word as a ‘common greeting’.

One black lady had this to say to the mayor:

“To them the n-word is hip, it’s slang, it’s no problem.”

A 30-something black man stated:

“Please don’t do this to me, as a man, because I’m going to be the first person you lock up probably, because, let’s be truthful, I use the word. I’m sorry.”

On the other hand, some black ministers did support the measure and they were concerned about the word’s frequent use in rap music, and they stood by Mayor Ken Corley.

One black minister stated:

“He’s my American hero, and he should be everyone else’s.”

Some citizens were angry at the national attention this story captured and gave the image that there were racial problems in Brazoria.

One middle-aged white man spoke these words:

“And I’m embarressed, and very, very ashamed of what I’ve seen in the news.”

By the end of the townhall meeting/discussion, the mayor had had an “earful” and had relented:

“Ya’ll have spoken overwhelmingly against this ordinance and I think that this evening you will hear the last of it.”

To this statement from the mayor, the crowd cheered and clapped.

In the end, it was doubtful that the ordinance would have stood up in court  since the 1ST Amendment protects offensive speech, and it looks like this measure will never be tested in any courtroom.

All of the above was typed while watching KHOU-Channel 11’s News broadcast.

Wheew.

I’m tired.

Time for bed.

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ALL MONEY AIN’T GOOD MONEY!

It’s hard out here for a black woman. And it is not getting any better.

January 04, 2007

ALL MONEY AIN’T GOOD MONEY!
ALL MONEY AIN’T GOOD MONEY, I GUESS?
by Pearl Jr.

We all know what a sensation Dreamgirls is. Even though the story doesn’t have the ever-lacking promotion of long lasting Black love, it is still a well-delivered theatrical play that transitioned into a major motion picture just a mere 25 years after it’s Broadway launch in 1981.

The proverbial “we” isn’t the “we” that usually applies. Did “you” realize that the launching of this movie that features an Oscar winning Best Actor (Jamie Foxx), a veteran box office leading man (Eddie Murphy), a world renowned superstar that many consider the most beautiful woman in the world (Beyonce Knowles), a finalist in the number 1 rated TV show American Idol (Jennifer Hudson), and was a successful Broadway musical, winning over 13 major awards that tells the story of the number 1 successful independent record company in the history of music, doesn’t have nationwide big screen saturation? Seems ridiculous and counter-productive, right?

Well Dreamgirls, the movie, first launched to a few screens on December 15, 2006 and then was again minimally released on Christmas Day to only 852 theaters. All movies of this caliber are released in no less than 3,700 theaters, but Dreamgirls can only been seen by 25 percent of the American public. Furthermore, why do the promotional posters display these fabulous women’s backsides and not their beautiful faces along with their figures?

Now to add to this dysfunctional marketing campaign, the confusion continues. Since Dreamgirls has smashed the per audience average take of around $7,000 per screening with a whooping $20,000 average per screening revenue’s bonanza, Paramount is now releasing it in less than 50 percent of the country on January 12, 2007, totaling around 1900 theaters nearly a full month after it’s official launch date. Furthermore, due to it’s limited release, Dreamgirls couldn’t attain the coveted NUMBER 1 MOVIE IN AMERICA title even if it sold every seat in every theater, plus the soundtrack, too, was destined not to attain the other number 1 spot on soundscan (currently number 3) that it would have surely reached if the movie had full distribution.

I’m totally NOT understanding the thinking of the movie executives here. I guess, just like in the game of dominos, “all money ain’t good money”, if there is another strategy in play. Why else would they cut their own profits? Why are they holding back on saturating the entire U.S. of A with such a blockbuster film? Aren’t “we” always hearing that racism is a thing of the past? If racism is really gone, then it couldn’t possibly be due to this movie being a “BLACK” movie, because Pursuit of Happyness (featuring just one proven Black star, Will Smith) was released in nearly 3,000 theaters? It’s because it’s a “Black female” movie in which Black men are assisting Black women in a traditional sense.

Let’s be frank here, Black women are under attack everywhere in the media to being unloved and single. The Black woman is a target to being completely devoid of any attribute that is redeeming or the Black woman is virtually missing, especially in the life of a Black man on the big screen or the little screen in our own homes. Then check out the trailers for Cedric the Entertainer’s new movie, “The Cleaner” that features ALL non-Black women as his co-stars. I wonder how many theaters this movie will be in?

The media saturation of calling Black women bi-atches, hos, and the most ridiculous gold diggers (65 percent of Black men who earn over $100,000 per year marry non-Black women) has gotten to be just a fallacy that intends to destroy the value of Black females in general. It has even gotten so bad that Black men who don’t have any gold are labeling so-called desirable Black women, who may suggest a measly paid for meal on a first date (for Christ’s sake), gold diggers.

Ladies, the writing is on the wall and the process for our demise is truly underway. Just this morning, I read (TMZ.com) that Tyrese has allegedly punched his pregnant Black girlfriend (not wife, just like with Kim Porter, Diddy’s long time girlfriend and mother of his son and twin daughters isn’t good enough to marry either) TWICE. I guess baby’s daddy is no longer a ghetto welfare momma thing—it’s now widespread abuse (and abandonment) for a Black man to diss Black women, especially when she is in her weakest condition?

To put the writing on the wall in big-ass neon lights; the children of famed, fortuned, and deceased celebrities like Richard Pryor’s, Lou Rawls’, and James Brown’s children are having to go to court against White women (not their mothers) for their own father’s inheritance is screaming and signaling an all out assault on the Black race’s prosperity in general.


Racism is growing fast and quick, picking up steam at every turn. If you just scratch the surface and look to see how filthy your nails are.
Coming soon, Eddie Murphy, Tyler Perry and Martin Lawrence will all be doubling as big fat loud angry Black women in their next films for everyone to laugh at. Damn, a real life hefty Black actress can’t even get a job in today’s world. It seems the mindset of the few that decide what movies get produced is really getting Black actors at a serious discount, making them play several characters for a similar fee.
We, Black Women, must unite and boycott every single media image that is NOT in our BEST INTEREST and that includes ALL celebrities who have lost any type of respect or eyesight for us or don’t care about our upward mobility as a whole.
I mean, Jermaine Dupree hasn’t married Janet Jackson.
Jay-Z apparently told Beyonce he needed more time before they wed. Reportedly, they were supposed to get married in November.
Kelly Rowlands got embarrassed when her fiancée, just out of the blue, stopped the wedding plans after she was scheduled to be on the cover of a bridal magazine.
I, also, was personally told by a Ciara insider that Bow Wow dawgged the beautiful and talented Ciara, and she didn’t deserve it.
I could go on and on.
The reason why I bring up these high-profile celebrities is to prove that life is hard for Black women all around. If these successful, hard-working, rich, beautiful, great bodied Black women can’t catch a break and have Black men love, honor, and cherish them, then we are all in a very challenging position.

Oh yea, even Oprah can’t get Stedman to marry her, and she is the richest Black person in the world and generous too!
We are the ONLY us who are obligated to stop these half-positive, half-evil, half-man, half-parented, and temporarily loved media images that promote our own half-satisfied lives that are present IN EVERY BLACK MOVIE. We must no longer look the other way, we must no longer pretend it doesn’t exist, we must no longer suffer from the it doesn’t matter syndrome, we must no longer make excuses for Black men’s deplorable behavior, and we must no longer say, it’s just entertainment.
We must rise up together and stop this form of mental and emotional racial cruelty.
I’m NOT suggesting that all Black men are deplorable. I’m rather asking for the men who always preach, “THERE ARE STILL GOOD BLACK MEN OUT THERE” to join in to help stop the complete destruction of the Black race family.
WE do not have another minute to waste thinking this problem will be fixed by others, or it will just magically one day disappear. Our children are failing (over a million of them are living in 12 x 9 feet cages). Black people are poorer than any other race. We are simply not doing well as a race and our degradation must not be allowed to grow any more widespread with the media leading the charge.
I’m doing my share to research valuable information for you. In return, all I’m asking is for you to circulate this information (and purchase my book), so that we can stop paying for our own demise and begin to appreciate those who take the risk to say the hard to expose realities of being Black American citizens.
WE, Black people, don’t have to participate in a public march, confront the system, or put our jobs in jeopardy to make a difference. All we have to do is think about our BEST INTEREST before we spend our dollars, and then chose to support those of us who have dedicated their lives towards our upward mobility, SO WE CAN AFFORD TO DO THE HARD TO DO WORK.
It’s called voting with our dollars, and today that’s the ONLY vote that really counts.
God Save Us because “Black Women Need Love, too!” The book is available on amazon.com. Order your copy today, so that I can continue to deliver to you the information that many of us are too busy to find.
I’m going to love my people, even when a few people hate me for it!
BLACK WOMEN NEED LOVE TOO! AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM~ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY~
PLEASE SPREAD THIS INFORMATION ALL OVER THE INTERNET, VIA YOUR ONLINE MAGAZINES, PERSONAL DATABASES, YOUR WEBSITES, YOUR WEBGROUPS, AND NEWSLETTERS.
Talk to your friends and tell them that we must stop financing our own pain and suffering like we did with rap crap!
If you repost this article, please be sure to link it to my website: www.BlackWomenNeedLoveToo.com
To hear a court played recording of a message from Lou Rawls’ widow to his daughter, visit my website to listen to it in its entirety. Please be warned this is shocking and not suitable for everyone’s state of mind.

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HOLD ON TO YOUR FAITH

Faith is the prerequisite to power; it gives you perspective and the confidence to forge ahead. Faith lets you see the invisible, believe the incredible, and receive the impossible. Great men and women have never found the easy road to triumph. It is always the same old route—by way of hard work and plenty of faith.

 The drought of the past winter threatened the crop in a village of southern Africa. A farmer told the villagers,  “There isn’t anything that will save us, except a special prayer for rain.  Go to your homes, fast during the week, believe, and do not be discouraged. Rain will come.”  The villagers heard him, fasted during a week, and visited his farm on Sunday morning for more prayer. But as soon as the farmer saw them,  he was furious.  “Go away,” he said.  “I will not pray with you! You do not believe.”

 “But, sir,” they protested, “we fasted and we believe.”

“Believe?” he retorted. “Then where are your umbrellas?”

It’s not what we eat but what we digest that makes us strong. It’s not what we gain but what we give that makes us rich.  It’s not what we read but what we practice that makes us wise. And it’s not what we know but what we believe that makes us successful.

“Faith helps us face the music,” preaches Bill Gray, executive director of the United Negro College Fund, “even when we don’t like the tune.”

 I will keep the faith.

from  “Daily Motivations for African-American Success”,  by Dennis Kimbro.  Fawcett Columbine, New York,  1993.

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THE ORIGINS OF BLACK FEMINISM

“We are often insensitive to the problems that black women encounter. We blame black beauty for not cooperating with us by becoming our sisters, but we don’t chastise ourselves for assuming the racially appointed role of the all-knowing big sisters. If we are to form a  real union with black women, then we cannot allow our unearned power of whiteness to contemptuously light the way. The price due for the glorification of white women is paid in full by black women. While we are wallowing in our self-inflicted pity, we become apathetic to the issues that the other side is going through. Our excessive devotion to white beauty leaves black beauty scantily clad with attention. It is vital that we make an effort to understand our deep attraction to white beauty and our indifference to black beauty, not only from a feminist point of view, but also a racial point of view. While we share womanhood, we don’t share race. As white women, we are burdened by the difficulties of gender, but that burden is eased by our color. Our attitudes seem to express that we do not reach out to black women because we think they place racial issues over feminist issues. History shows this assumption to be a fallacy because black women confronted both issues before most white women could confront even one.

“Black women were feminists before the term was coined.

“They were doing men’s work in the field while raising two families–theirs and their masters. This may not be the ideal definition of feminism, but black women were doing more work than white men and white women combined, and they were doing it while being black.”   (1)

Black women are not the “Johnnie-come-latelies” that the white women of the so-called feminist movement like to make us out to be. Black women were feminists since their time of enslavement, during Jim Crow segregation, during the reign of atrocities known as lynching, during the legally sanctioned mass rapes by white men of black women during segregation, during the Civil Rights Movement, and well into the new millennium. It sickens and angers me to no end how white women in the past, and even in the present, have the audacity to state that it was they who started the feminist movement. They did not. When black women were enslaved they worked in the fields doing the SAME type of work the black male slaves did:  plowing behind mules; cutting and clearing trees away from roads; picking cotton; cooking in the slave quarters; cooking in the master’s kitchen; suffering from forced sex, forced procreation; taking care of the children born of the white woman and white man who enslaved her; taking care of her children with the black men slaves, and to add cruelty to cruelty, taking care of the half-white/half-black children forced on her through the white slave master’s sexual exploitation. Black women who were free, worked with free black men, and humane white men and women to bring about the abolition of slavery. Black women of the last century fought for the end of vicious lynchings and castration of black men, black women fought for the end of segregation, black women fought for better neighborhoods, jobs, equal rights and many things that women of today take for granted.

Feminism.

As much as they would like to think they are the owners of it, white women are not the ORIGINAL feminists.  Black women and other women of color are the true feminists.

ABOLITION, ROOTS OF BLACK FEMINISM:  THE FIRST WAVE Black feminism was, and is always fluid and diverse, focusing in various ways on the convergence of race, gender, sexuality, class,  spirituality and culture.The primary expressions of black feminism in the US are marked by three distinct periods, or waves, that grew out of key movements in black American history:-The abolitionist movement to end slavery, which culminated with the suffragist’s movement to enact the passage of the 19TH Amendment in 1920;

-The modern civil rights movement, and black power movements, which peaked with the enforcement during the 1970s, of Title VII and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;

-And the post-Civil Rights era that helped to usher in the professionalization and institutionalization of feminisms.

The roots of a distinctly black feminist conscience began during slavery and during the campaign of abolitionists to end slavery. Defined as “chattel”, forced to be “breeders” against their will (“Against Our Will”. Yeah, right. What does Susan Brownmiller know about anything that was against “her” will? But, I digress.) Denied the rights as citizens, as humans, black women were constantly confronted with a system that sought to destroy them both as humans, and as women.

To argue for racial and sexual equality in an environment that was hatefully hostile to both required courage and a passion for righteousness. The great liberal reformer and abolitionist Sojourner Truth is rightly celebrated as the fountainhead of black feminist thinking in the 19TH Century. Born of slave status, she preached that slavery denied black women motherhood, protection from exploitation, and devaluation of their innate feminine, womanly qualities. Sojourner’s Bible-based feminism, charged by her commanding personal testimony of life as a slave called attention to the way slavery stranded black women on the margins of “becoming a woman.”  Sojourner Truth, a black feminist whom many white women are so quick to quote not realizing that her famous “Ain’t I a Woman” speech speaks of how differently white woman were treated over black women, and how this double standard of mistreatment still exists today.

Sojourner was not the only black woman feminist at this time, others included Jarena Lee and Marie Stewart, who championed women’s rights through the Bible, but Sojourner was often the LONE black voice among many prominent white feminists.

By challenging the prevailing dominant thinking of her time, Sojourner disrupted a  political movement that sought voraciously to keep black women on the outskirts, pushed to the margins.

Sojourner’s famous “And A’n’t I A Woman?” speech spoke to slavery, and America’s mistreatment of black women in denying them the most basic of decent treatment that ALL women are due as fellow human beings.

But, even though many attribute Sojourner as the epitome of black feminism during her time, it is to Harriet Tubman, the other noted black woman of the 19TH Century, who was the genuine embodiment of a revolutionary abolitionist’s black feminist spirit.

Known as “Moses” by black slaves she brought out of slavery to freedom, Harriet challenged the exploitative system of slavery from the inside, working over the course of her life to free herself and many others. As the celebrated conductor of the Underground Railroad, Harriet led more than 200 enslaved people out of bondage.

As a spy, scout and military leader for the Union Army, at a time when white women were not even allowed into any branch of the U.S. military,  Harriet piloted black troops up the Combahee River in South Carolina, securing the additional freedom of close to 800 enslaved persons. Can’t get anymore feminist than that.

After the war, Harriet was active in women’s organizations and was a popular speaker at suffrage meetings. An advocate of greater attention to the needs of poor and aged people, Harriet was in the vanguard of the human rights struggle.

Jarena Lee. Practically unheard by many people today,  Jarena was the first woman known to petition the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church for authority to preach. Jarena went on to preach throughout the northeastern region of America. Although she often traveled alone, her autobiographical reports constant companionship among black American evangelical women. Because Jarena was an itinerant preacher and because she carried out her ministry with and among other “sisters in Christ”, she was a pathfinder for future preaching women, particularly women of  the AME Church. The constant and successful preaching efforts of AME women eventually forced the denomination to create gender-specific positions when no organizational authority for women had previously existed.

Maria Stewart. It is a shame that this lady’s name is not spoken of in the same breath as Sojourner’s, and Maria was a force to be reckoned with.  During her speeches she reminded her audience that during ancient times women were honored for their wisdom, prudence, religiosity and achievements. Her speeches were not well-received because of the gender politics of the  19TH Century, after all, she was the first American-born woman to break the taboo against participating in public dialogues, a taboo held by both black and white communities alike. She also faced stiff opposition from Boston’s conservative black political circles. Maria advocated black self-determination and economic independence from well-meaning whites. She broke new ground in black activism. No black leaders, male or female, had turned to the lecture circuit to present their views, and that is what Maria spent much of her life doing.

THE GROWTH OF BLACK FEMINISMS

With the passage of the 15TH Amendment giving black men the right to vote, a distinct woman’s suffrage movement began that spanned through the years from 1890-1920. The activism of black women during the period of Jim Crow segregation points out the courage and vision it took many black women to pursue the right to vote at a time when white men and WHITE WOMEN alike sought to exclude them from it.

Despite the fact that white suffragists never hesitated to discuss how the vote would seal white supremacy, black feminists pressed for alliances with them.

And white women suffragettes worked against the interests of both black women and black men.

Most notably Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.

Of particular note was the less than genuine concern for black women and their right to the vote. White women suffragettes launched a vicious campaign that sought to undermine the enfranchisement efforts of black men, by trying to use black women as fodder to get white women the right to vote first.

White suffragettes, like Anthony and Stanton, sought to use black women for their selfish ends, also while denying black women access to the women’s asscociation conventions.

That this was Anthony and Stanton’s strategy became clear when they allied with a millionaire Democrat, George Train, who financed their feminist newspaper, “The Revolution”. Within its pages was venom of the worst kind:

“While the dominant party have with one hand lifted up TWO MILLION BLACK MEN and crowned them with honor and dignity of citizenship,” wrote Anthony, “with the other they have dethroned FIFTHTEEN MILLION WHITE WOMEN—-their own mothers and sisters, their own wives and daughters—and cast them under the heel of the lowest orders of manhood.”

Stanton, ever the gracious lady, took it even further.

She wrote of a black man lynched in Tennessee for allegedly raping a white woman. The point of the story wasn’t the horrific lynching and its injustice, but, that giving black men the right to vote was virtually a licence to rape. “The Republican cry of ‘Manhood Suffrage’ creates an antagonism between black men and all women that will culminate in fearful outrages on womanhood, especially in the southern states,” she ranted.

Another sick aspect of her campaign was the use of class as well as race as a weapon.

In announcing her candidacy for a New York congressional seat in 1866, Stanton introduced the idea that middle-class women (white) should be enfranchised to stave off the poor, the immigrants, AND the blacks. She told her potential constituents:

“In view of the fact that the Freedmen of the South and the millions of foreigners now crowding our shores, most of whom represent neither property, education, nor CIVILIZATION, are all the progress of events to be enfranchised, the best interests of the nation demand that we outweigh this incoming pauperism, ignorance and degradation, with the wealth, education, and refinement of the women of the republic (white women).”

And “educational requirements” of course would eliminate the vast majority of blacks and immigrants, both men and women——including the great Sojourner Truth herself.

Refusing to desert the suffrage cause, black women organized voter’s leagues and clubs. But, even there, black women did something very monumental in raising the fight against racism and sexism off their shoulders, and their daughters, and grand-daughters shoulders.

Nineteenth-century America was a pivotal period in history for Black female activists, many of whom were forced to choose between continuing to fight in the trenches for the advancement of black rights, or joining the burgeoning predominately white feminist movement. Prior to emancipation, the decision was simple, as battling against oppression based on race was the obvious singular choice. The partnership forged between white female abolitionists and free blacks for the purpose of ending chattel slavery — among other issues — created early expectations that forced an unwarranted dilemma for black American female activists. This forced choice came to a head with the passage of the fifteenth amendment in 1870 where black men alone were enfranchised. White men fundamentally held all political and social power, white women and black men fought for the remains, black women, therefore, were on one front marginalized and on another, obliged to choose their course of action. Nineteenth-century black women seized this imposed circumstance and declined to make a choice one way or the other. This refusal transformed the twin barriers of sexism and racism into a unique position of power. Sojourner Truth, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, Ida B. Wells-Barnett and other women tackled this race/gender debate by repudiating its validity and asserting the interconnected nature of race, gender and class  as the lens through which they viewed the world. By declining to choose, black women of the nineteenth century laid the foundation for the approaching black women’s movement through not only the Women’s Club Movement (Mary Church Terrell, Anna Julia Cooper, among many others), but also well into the twentieth century with the black feminist (Combahee River Collective) and womynist (Alice Walker) movements.

Most notable were the many black women who fought for the rights of all black people, especially the right to vote and the fight to end racial violence against black Americans:

-Ida B. Wells-Barnett. She gave a lifelong commitment to fighting against lynching. She along with many other black women believed that black women needed the vote even more than white women, because it would enable them to protect their inalienable rights and improve their schools and conditions as wage earners, especially since black women worked as domestics in the homes of white people, and as laundresses. Ida also challenged the myth that all white women were chaste, that all black women were without virtue, and that all black men were rapists.

-Mary Church Terrell championed the black communities self-help/egalitarian responsibility with her “lifting as we climb” motto.

THE WOMEN’S LIBERATION MOVEMENT:  THE SECOND WAVE

Black feminists during the second wave, 1965-1975, demanded empowerment on their own terms as they chipped away at legalized Jim Crow laws. Despite that many men are celebrated as the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, there were many, many black women who were leaders and grassroot/foot soldiers in every aspect of the struggle for liberation.

-In 1955 JoAnn Gibson Robinson and the Women’s Political Council organized the MIA that catapulted Martin L.King into the leadership of the nonviolent movement.

-Ella Baker, former field secretary for the NAACP and interim director of the SCLC, organized black college students in 1960 into SNCC. Under Ella, students initiated sit-ins and freedom rides to expose racial segregation and the violence used by whites to maintain separate but unequal facilities.

By 1970 explicit discussions of sexuality had taken center stage in the women’s movement, and black feminist’s efforts to sculpt organizational agendas to address their concerns were too often marginalized or interpreted as divisive. Sexism in the Black Power movement and racism in the (white) women’s liberation movement pushed black women feminists to organize independently.

-The National Black Feminist Organization (NBFO) was founded in November, 1973 as black feminists experienced tensions with both black men and white society at large. These women envisioned a multi-purpose organization that would address various issues that ranged from employment, childcare concerns to sexuality, addiction, and black women’s relations to each other and to the women’s movement. White women who attended the conference later wrote that they now saw that before they could build coalitions with black women, they would first need to prove that they were not racist. During the first wave of feminism, black suffragists struggled with the racism of white women, but the second wave required nonracist entry tickets that proved difficult for the white women to produce. While white women and all men had access to the large assembly at the conference, they were not admitted into the workshops.

As organized black feminist activism waned, it was largely lesbian groups that continued to struggle in a collective fashion around feminist issues. Their identity as lesbians made them more aware of heterosexuality as an institution and the need to challenge patriarchy.

-In 1974 the Combahee River Collective was formed by a small group of socialist black feminists who were disappointed by what they saw as the NBFO’s “bourgeois” stance and lack of a clear political focus. These women chose to identify with Harriet Tubman’s militant defiance. Three years later, the group issued a widely quoted statement defining its political commitment to dismantling “interlocking” racial, sexual, and economic oppression. These women, along with other black lesbian groups, such as the Salsa Soul Sisters, envisioned organizing other black feminists and lesbians through writing and publishing.

CONTEMPORARY FEMINISMS:  THE THIRD WAVE INTO THE PRESENT

The 1980-1990s saw a major growth in black feminist writers/authors. They let their voices be heard in published works and in academia. They critiqued gender, white male supremacist patriarchy and other structures of domination.

Today we are right back where we started——white women as the end-all, be-all, saviours of the feminist movement. But, black women, and other WOC have not taken a back seat to all this steady being pushed back onto the periphery of society. They still stand up and make themselves  be known; they still stand up and be counted.

White feminist theory which often excludes the life experiences of women of color, functions as a prevailing theme. Dominant discourses generally fail to allow for and accept the differences of different viewpoints that women of color can bring to the table. Chela Sandoval, calls this “academic apartheid”, “methodology of the oppressed”, and “hegemonic feminism” and juxtaposes it with “U.S. Third World feminism.” Third world feminists object to hegemonic feminism’s sole focus on gender, always at the exclusion of the just as important realms of race, class and culture. “Ain’t I a woman” is a question that women of color have been asking since Sojourner Truth first raised this question with the white suffragists of her time. The racial conflict of the suffragette movement of the 19th Century (and the 20TH Century) happened because of the privileged position of white women to white men, and the jockeying for social/and economic acceptance of white men in positions of power alongside, if not completely equal to white men, by white women, a factor that still continues to plague, and influence race relations between white women and women of color.

This “oppositional consciousness”, in that white feminists present an opposition to the varied aspects of black feminism (race, gender, class), leads to a repression and disregard for the experiences of black women, and, serves as a basis for black women’s alliances with other women of color (Latina, Asian, Native American).

And the voices of WOC continue to be heard today, even in 2006, even going into 2007, and beyond, both PAST and PRESENT:

-bell hooks. She has made the point that if we allow women to define feminism however as they see fit, we will soon find ourselves saying any woman can be a feminist, regardless of her political beliefs.

-Byllye Avery. Founded the National Black Women’s Health Project.

-Toni Cade Bambara. Edited the immensely important work The Black Woman:  An Anthology in 1970.

-Frances M. Beal. She was a founder of the Black Women’s Liberation Committee of SNCC.

-Shirley Chisholm. She was the first black woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the first black woman to pursue the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party.

-Angela Davis. Wrote pivotal books and essays on the situation of black women in American society.

-Flo Kennedy. She was one of the loudest, most raucous, and most effective voices in both civil rights and women’s movements.

-Audre Lorde. She was the author of “Sister Outsider” (1984), among many other important works.

-Jennifer McLune, noted feminist author

-Fannie Lou Hamer, civil rights activist

-June Jordan, poet

-Alice Walker (who coined the term ‘womanist’)

-Patricia Hill Collins, author

-C. Delores Nottage Tucker, activist who took on the gangsta rap filth industry, singlehandedly

Given the discursive power of race, black feminists have not had the privilege of abandoning the construction of a singular identity, though they recognize the plural identities of their own existence. Black feminists have used their voices, writings, and activism to grapple with the systemic institutionalized oppression of black women.

With their unique perspectives on the combination of race, sexuality, and class within each particular historical moment, the varieties of black feminism give credence to the many ways that black women have found to take a stand against sexism while remaining in solidarity with other political stances.

Obviously there are many black feminist traditions and outlooks. And it is very important that black women, as well as all women of color, be given their just due for all that they have contributed in the fight and continued struggle for all women’s liberation.

And to end on this note, I will quote the great Anna Julia Cooper. Her words ring true now, as they did over 100 years ago. I will let her speak for all the black feminists of her time, and all the black feminists who came after her:

“Only the BLACK WOMAN can say “when and where I enter, in the quiet, undisputed dignity of my womanhood, without violence and without suing or special patronage, then and there the whole. . .race enters with me.”

(1)  “Big Little White Lies:  Our Attempt to White-Out America”, by Carol Chehade.  Nemarche Publishing, Inc., 2001.  pgs. 135-136.

OTHER REFERENCES:

“When and Where I Enter:  The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America”,  by Paula Giddings, William Morrow and Company, 1984.

bell hooks. “Feminism is For Everybody: Passionate Politics. Boston: South End Press, 2000.

bell hooks.  “Must We Call All Women ‘Sister’?”.  Z Magazine (February 1992).

Anna Julia Cooper. “A Voice of the South by a Black Woman of the South”. Xenia, Ohio: Aldine Publishing House, 1892.

Gerda Lerner, ed.. “Black Women in White America: A Documentary History”. New York: Vintage Books. February,  1973.

“Black Women in America”,  Second Edition, ed. in chief, Darlene Clark Hine. Oxford University Press, 2005.

Chela Sandoval, “Methodology of the Oppressed”. University of Minnesota Press (October 2000).

LINKS:

http://www.blackculturalstudies.org/wallace/hellandback.html

http://www.library.ucsb.edu/subjects/blackfeminism/soc_hist.html

http://www.cwluherstory.com/CWLUArchive/blackandfemale.html

by ANN

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AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL WHITE MEN

White Male Supremacy: What It Is and What It Does

by Julian Real

An open letter to all white men.

I am a white man, which means I can be (and have been), at any time, in any place, a white male supremacist. This is not a revelation about my genetic code, or an indictment of my own soul. This is a statement about structural political reality.

Every time I side with a white person who is being racist, against a person of color who is challenging that racism, I become a white male supremacist. Every time I do not see how my actions, as a white man, silence, disrespect, invade, or threaten a woman of color, I am being a white male supremacist. Every time I project a racist-sexist meme onto a woman of color, and treat her as if she were my (our) projection, I am a white male supremacist.

White male Liberalism would have us believe that white men are only white male supremacists when we wear white hoods and burn crosses on the yards of African-Americans. White Conservatism would have us believe that the time of white supremacy has passed, and now the real threat to all humanity (which, as defined by white male supremacy is white men as a group, and its supporters and apologists) is people of color: including poor Black people, poor Mexican immigrants and other non-European U.S. Latina/os, angry or non-deferential Central and South Americans of color, angry or non-submissive Middle Eastern people, angry or non-obedient Asians.

White Conservatism has never acknowledged the existence of male supremacy. White Liberalism doesn’t either. On a good day it says there is something called “racism” and “sexism” but immediately adds that those suddenly asocial realities can “work both ways”. It claims a level playing field—an as yet fully illusory land of equality—whenever a white man speaks or acts in ways that are harmful and dangerous to women, especially to women of color. It claims to be brutally honest, bravely politically incorrect, necessarily truthful, and boldly noble as it does this. It is either ignorant or arrogant in these claims, except the part about being brutal.

There is no space, cyber or not, where white male supremacy isn’t lurking or acting in its own interests. There is no time in which white male supremacy is asleep. If there were, we should suffocate it with a pillow or inject into it something that will make it never wake up.

White male supremacy’s stories go like this: handsome white men can bring women back to life. It is in white male supremacist’s company that women are most content. Women of color exist for the use and abuse of any man or group of men; women of color have no other function. Women of all ethnicities are for white men, in any way white men need—that is to say, interpersonally or institutionally coerce and force—women to be for them.

Because white male supremacy is institutionalized, it does not need to behave badly all the time on an interpersonal front. It just needs to maintain its institutional power and privileges. It shows off its deadly interpersonal self, it rears its ugly individualized head, when it is exposed as such, named as such, treated as such, by human people that white men seek to silence and destroy for allegedly being blasphemers, heretics, and madwomen.

Men of Northern, Western, and Southern European descent have, for centuries, claimed the power to name reality, to decide what it true and what is false, to construct the meaning of intelligence and the parameters of insanity, to make laws and gods which most serve white men and oppress everyone else, to distinguish what is respectable religion from what is delusional cult, to declare, with white male state authority, the qualities and standards of what it means to be human, which somehow, not accidentally, leaves out the humanity of those who are not white, wealthy, or male.

It claims to value peace when it is warring, to love when it is hating, and, especially if liberal, to value free speech while it swiftly silences those who speak directly about the atrocities white male supremacists commit either unconsciously or unconscionably.

A voice—any voice—may, if brazen enough, speak in such a manner that white male supremacy is (potentially) revealed to itself as an ideology-based merciless system of tyrannical power. Those who need it to live on unnamed must silence that voice ASAP.

Those unprivileged “others” who must know it and name it, viscerally or verbally, in order to have a chance to survive with any degree of dignity or esteem, will be defamed or destroyed for doing so, if they are seen as human at all, which is usually not the case in white male supremacist societies. This means white male supremacy usually ignores all voices that don’t speak in its domination-driven dialect, with a European-American accent.

When that voice is heard from a woman of color, her voice will be distorted in the ears of white male supremacists. They will not acknowledge this voice as a humanitarian voice. They will call it all manner of sexist-racist names, and treat it according to how enemies of white men’s supposedly sacred reality are to be treated. White male supremacy cannot acknowledge the full humanity of the woman who owns that voice, because she is being so corruptly and systematically denied human rights status by those with the unjust authority to give it.

Much of what we know as reality is a construction of white male supremacy. It has arranged this forcibly, over many centuries, across many lands, so that when it speaks, people listen as if someone important were talking. Never mind that the white male supremacist voice speaks most eloquently of death. White male supremacy is death to humanity and non-human life forms.

 When it is radically and successfully challenged, humanity can rise again, including the humanity of those who are pale and male. Until that time, women of color will live lives of humanitarian rage or desperate despondency, or a combination thereof. Until that time, women of any color will be stigmatized and oppressed. Until that time, men of color and all “other” marginalized men will seek one of two things: to successfully become humane by forming a trustworthy and accountable allegiance with radical women of color, or to become a white male supremacist, unrelentingly if unsuccessfully.

White women and men of color sometimes support but do not control white male supremacy. Only white men control it. Not all white men need to keep it going for it to thrive, but if all white men spoke our truths—against the interests of white male supremacy—about what we have done to women of color, to white women, to men of color, and to ourselves in order to be white male supremacists, then at least and at last the white elephant in the room would be named by those with the privilege and power to name it. That would be a radically humanitarian occurrence, or, more accurately, would open the possibility for radical humanitarianism to wipe the Earth clean of white male supremacy.

Black Radical Feminism is a powerful source of information about white male supremacy. Two of its spokespeople are Jennifer McLune and Yolanda Carrington. Earlier voices of this movement include Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Fannie Lou Hamer, Audre Lorde, and June Jordan. Other contemporaries include Alice Walker (who has also used the term Womanist), bell hooks, Patricia J. Williams, and Patricia Hill Collins. But most radical Black women are unknown to us, whether they are living in Africa or are part of the Diaspora. Also unknown to white men are the voices of women living in Greater Asia, including India and the Middle East, as well as women from South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Listen to all women of color, including the Aboriginal women of Australia and New Zealand. Listen to the women of Indigenous civilizations worldwide, who have had their land, people, and bodies colonized by white male supremacy.

Pop quiz: name two radical Black women not already named above. Now name two allegedly radical white/European/U.S. men.

White men know our history well (we wrote the books, after all, from our perspective). We banish anyone else’s history, calling it invalid, biased, or unscientific. We, white men, do not take the time to seek out the knowledge and truths that threaten to decenter and destabilize us, let alone take unjust power from our blood-stained fists.

 Listen carefully to what any Radical Feminist has to say about reality. Listen especially attentively and with unusual humility to Black Radical Feminists. They know far more than any white man ever will (or will publicly admit to knowing), about how white male supremacy works.

And, please, in the very meantime, tell the truth about what we have done and are doing, to maintain white male supremacy. Do not leave it to women of color to do that work for us too. They have their own humanitarian work to do, and it is called surviving our understanding of reality, which has become the social world they must negotiate, or else.

Break the bonds of the white supremacist brotherhood.

 Politically, and radically, betray every white man you know who values the well-being of his white brothers over his Black sisters. Understand: this betrayal is a tremendous act of love.

 Stop apologizing for and excusing white men’s oppressive behavior. Nurture a conscience and a heart that sees all people as people. Actively support and be accountable to those we oppress who are working to sustain dignity and to institutionalize justice infused with empathy for humans raped, sold, enslaved, starved, and silenced.

In these acts of compassionate rebellion, we will be nurturing, with the rest of humanity, societies free of organized, systematic harm, as communities of color self-direct their liberation from white male supremacy.

Copyright 2006 by Julian Real


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WHAT CAN THE WHITE MAN SAY TO THE BLACK WOMAN?

By Alice Walker, address in support of the National March for Women’s Equality and Women’s Lives in Washington D.C., 22 May 1989

What is of use in these words I offer in memory of our common mother. And to my daughter.

What can the white man say to the black woman?

For four hundred years he ruled over the black woman’s womb.

Let us be clear. In the barracoons and along the slave shipping coasts of Africa, for more than twenty generations, it was he who dashed our babies brains out against the rocks.

What can the white man say to the black woman?

For four hundred years he determined which black woman’s children would live or die.

Let it be remembered. It was he who placed our children on the auction block in cities all across the eastern half of what is now the United States, and listened to and watched them beg for their mothers’ arms, before being sold to the highest bidder and dragged away.

What can the white man say to the black woman?

We remember that Fannie Lou Hamer, a poor sharecropper on a Mississippi plantation, was one of twenty-one children; and that on plantations across the South black women often had twelve, fifteen, twenty children. Like their enslaved mothers and grandmothers before them, these black women were sacrificed to the profit the white man could make from harnessing their bodies and their children’s bodies to the cotton gin.

What can the white man say to the black woman?

We see him lined up on Saturday nights, century after century, to make the black mother, who must sell her body to feed her children, go down on her knees to him.

Let us take note:

He has not cared for a single one of the dark children in his midst, over hundreds of years.

Where are the children of the Cherokee, my great grandmother’s people?

Gone.

Where are the children of the Blackfoot?

Gone.

Where are the children of the Lakota?

Gone.

Of the Cheyenne?

Of the Chippewa?

Of the Iroquois?

Of the Sioux?

Of the Mandinka?

Of the Ibo?

Of the Ashanti?

Where are the children of the Slave Coast and Wounded Knee?

We do not forget the forced sterilizations and forced starvations on the reservations, here as in South Africa. Nor do we forget the smallpox-infested blankets Indian children were given by the Great White Fathers of the United States government.

What has the white man to say to the black woman?

When we have children you do everything in your power to make them feel unwanted from the moment they are born. You send them to fight and kill other dark mothers’ children around the world. You shove them onto public highways in the path of oncoming cars. You shove their heads through plate glass windows. You string them up and you string them out.

What has the white man to say to the black woman?

From the beginning, you have treated all dark children with absolute hatred.

Thirty million African children died on the way to the Americas, where nothing awaited them but endless toil and the crack of a bullwhip. They died of a lack of food, of lack of movement in the holds of ships. Of lack of friends and relatives. They died of depression, bewilderment and fear.

What has the white man to say to the black woman?

Let us look around us: Let us look at the world the white man has made for the black woman and her children.

It is a world in which the black woman is still forced to provide cheap labor, in the form of children, for the factories and on the assembly lines of the white man.

It is a world into which the white man dumps every foul, person-annulling drug he smuggles into creation.

It is a world where many of our babies die at birth, or later of malnutrition, and where many more grow up to live lives of such misery they are forced to choose death by their own hands.

What has the white man to say to the black woman, and to all women and children everywhere?

Let us consider the depletion of the ozone; let us consider homelessness and the nuclear peril; let us consider the destruction of the rain forests-in the name of the almighty hamburger. Let us consider the poisoned apples and the poisoned water and the poisoned air and the poisoned earth.

And that all of our children, because of the white man’s assault on the planet, have a possibility of death by cancer in their almost immediate future.

What has the white, male lawgiver to say to any of us? To those of us who love life too much to willingly bring more children into a world saturated with death?

Abortion, for many women, is more than an experience of suffering beyond anything most men will ever know; it is an act of mercy, and an act of self-defense.

To make abortion illegal again is to sentence millions of women and children to miserable lives and even more miserable deaths.

Given his history, in relation to us, I think the white man should be ashamed to attempt to speak for the unborn children of the black woman. To force us to have children for him to ridicule, drug and turn into killers and homeless wanderers is a testament to his hypocrisy.

What can the white man say to the black woman?

Only one thing that the black woman might hear.

Yes, indeed, the white man can say, Your children have the right to life. Therefore I will call back from the dead those 30 million who were tossed overboard during the centuries of the slave trade. And the other millions who died in my cotton fields and hanging from trees.

I will recall all those who died of broken hearts and broken spirits, under the insult of segregation.

I will raise up all the mothers who died exhausted after birthing twenty-one children to work sunup to sundown on my plantation. I will restore to full health all those who perished for lack of food, shelter, sunlight, and love; and from my inability to see them as human beings.

But I will go even further:

I will tell you, black woman, that I wish to be forgiven the sins I commit daily against you and your children. For I know that until I treat your children with love, I can never be trusted by my own. Nor can I respect myself.

And I will free your children from insultingly high infant mortality rates, short life spans, horrible housing, lack of food, rampant ill health. I will liberate them from the ghetto. I will open wide the doors of all the schools and hospitals and businesses of society to your children. I will look at your children and see not a threat but a joy.

I will remove myself as an obstacle in the path that your children, against all odds, are making toward the light. I will not assassinate them for dreaming dreams and offering new visions of how to live. I will cease trying to lead your children, for I can see I have never understood where I was going. I will agree to sit quietly for a century or so, and meditate on this.

This is what the white man can say to the black woman.

We are listening.

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