Welcome everyone to what I hope will be the first of many blog carnivals dedicated to the voices of women of colour and our allies. In every sphere of life women of colour are marginalized and exploited. Often, when we attempt to engage to change our circumstances we are silenced. This carnival is our attempt to give voice to our shared issues. We have a strong history of activism and organizing and it is in this vein that we have chosen this space to highlight the various ways we have attempted to carve out a niche in the online world. We shall not be silenced, and our dreams shall be realized. We are women of quality and worth.
Monica writes about the process of transitioning, “So as I began my journey, I adopted the mindset that if I was going to be a woman, be the best damn woman I could be. I wanted to be a quality Black woman. I'm not perfect, nor do I want or claim to be. While being a Black transwoman is always going to be part of me until the day I die, all I want to be in the end is a quality Black woman.”
Daisy writes, “First, let's be clear that this commercial is directed at WOMEN, who buy most of the food for children and families. And most assuredly, it is directed at BLACK WOMEN, with a black woman reassuringly delivering the comforting nutritional information. This is at a time when African-Americans have the highest rates of diabetes in the USA.”
Tanglad writes, “Instead of retribution and punishment, feminicide centralizes the issue of impunity, of the state’s role in generating an atmosphere of violence. Already, the Arroyo government has gone beyond mere tolerance to actually sanctioning disappearances, abduction, and murder of women activists. Laws like the Human Security Act allow agents of the government to detain and arrest anyone accused of conspiring against the Arroyo regime, so the president could further ally her government with Bush’s War Against Terror.
JJ writes, “I told my girlfriend last night that if I was ever raped I probably wouldn't report it. She didn't find that surprising but what she doesn't know is that our conversation was a perfect example of why I wouldn't report it.”
Racism and Colonialism
Dori aptly points out the racism that has gone unacknowledged in our traditional celebration of Thanksgiving.
Anne writes, “all things are not equal -- far from it -- and I'm worried about white people. I'm worried about us as a large foreboding mass of ignorance about race and racial injustice. I'm worried that too many white people who have little or no experience with all things African American will believe that racial equality has been achieved in America because we elected a black man as president.”
And The World Changed: Contemporary Stories by Pakistani Women This is a book review submitted by Ama Lee. The wounds of colonialism permeate the collection and many authors reveal such wounds as a global condition. For example, Roshni Rustomji links the colonization of the Asian continent to that of the Americas, noting that the "southwest of the United States...was of course taken from Mexico, which was of course taken by force by the European conquistadors, which was of course taken by force by—and so on and so forth."
Faith writes, “ Many of us use the blogosphere to reach out to each other and build networks and relationships. It was a way to bypass gatekeepers who aren't interested in equality and diversity. Look at your nightly news shows, your Sunday morning political shows and who do you see in front of the camera? A quick search who are in the towers, holding the keys will reveal people who don't always have our best interests in mind.”
I Didn’t Dream of Dragons by Deepa D.
Deepa writes, “Do not tell me, or the people like me who have grown up hearing Arabic around them, or singing in Swahili, or dreaming in Bengali—but reading only (or even mostly) in English (or French, or Dutch)—that this colonial rape of our language has not infected our ability to narrate, has not crippled our imagination. When I was in class 7, our English teacher gave us the rare creative writing assignment, and three of my classmates wrote adventure stories about characters named Julian and Peggy and Tom. Do not tell me that this cultural fracture does not affect the odds required to produce enough healthy imaginations that can chrysalis into writers. When we call ourselves Oreos or Coconuts or Bananas (Black/Brown/Yellow on the outside, White on the inside)—understand the ruptures and bafflement that accompanies our consumption of your media while we resent and critique it.”
Alderson writes, “…Part of the reality this reflects is not only the contemporary prevalence of prostitution both in poor black areas and in their slang (’ho’), but also the historical ease with which white men could rape black women - either because of a supportive legal system or because they were slaves. It also connects with the phenomenon of black women as the family servant, child-minder, cleaner, etc. for the respectable whites - even if no sexual contact takes place, the structure of black woman as subservient version of white woman, doing ‘her’ jobs for the white man, is reproduced.”
Natalie writes, “It shows a lot of privilege to discover a movement that had already existed and was thriving without your involvement and think your acknowledgment of it as something for which they should be grateful.”
Harrietsdaughter writes, “Mammy, Aunt Jemima and the Welfare Queen may be collectively understood as a type. All three are typically depicted as fat, dark-skinned women whose uniforms include an apron and a kerchief covered head. Larger than life, their bodies are supposed to be de-sexualized, as they do not conform to the (white) norm of humanity and of idealized womanhood.”
idyllicmollusk writes, “A good deal of people who had been involved in international adoptions posted their thoughts. For many of the commentors, these thoughts were along the lines of: “Poor third-world women (of color) can’t be fit mothers, therefore we (white) Westerners have the right to take their children away.”
Cara writes, “Yoko’s “ugliness” is a truism, something that most do not even consider before nodding in assent. The absurdity is apparent, as when you look at the woman it’s plain for all to see that she was clearly quite stunning. It tells us something about beauty standards. Indeed, it tells us something about racist beauty standards. It certainly tells us something about how women are valued as human beings based on their adherence to those beauty standards.”
gogojojo writes, “I think that bodily integrity is an important to my Black feminism (because I believe that feminism cannot be an overdetermined word and that we must all define what it means or doesn't mean for ourselves) because it acknowledges a particular history of Black women.”
Sally writes, “I'M A WOC!! And I have the same problems that so many others have with the feminist "movements." I know there are countless people who call themselves feminists but still say/do racist, ableist, homophobic, etc. things. I simply cannot wrap my head around that. So I usually just say things like "that's not what I consider feminist..." and keep it moving. I am critical of the "movements" and those people, but I do not reject the label or the "movements."
of corsets and chains part deux, or, the uberfrau by Rayshauna
Rayshauna writes, “and black women, though involved to a degree [and often more adamantly and dedicated than some with bargaining chips, i.e. masculinity or whiteness, or both], seem, in the eyes of an exclusive history, to watch passively as rights volley back and forth between groups that wield white feminine leisure and newfound black masculine privileges -all in the name of equality.
and then the question of black womanhood surfaces. and you wonder how a group with no bargaining chips, a group with a pair of haphazard feet and no boots will pull themselves up by their bootstraps.”
Aiesha writes about why it is necessary to resist the popular image of black women in the media.
This post includes a list of the authors privileges. Maritzia writes, “Wake up, boys and girls, and smell the privilege. Just because you’re so immersed in it that you can’t see, hear, or feel your privilege, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Stop hating people for pointing out your privilege and understand why they’re pointing it out to start with. Understand the systemic oppression in our society, and work to end oppression now!”
An examination of the ways in which Muslims must police their language in publics spaces due to Islamophobia.
Dori writes, “The assumption that a black man is calling us evil by implying that whites are privileged and ignorant of the ways in which they benefit from the color of their skin is a natural conclusion when you assume that its all about YOU, which your privilege allows, nay, encourages you to do. Sounds more like a guilty conscience projecting than anything else.”
Madama writes, “Some people have immediately put me in the Jew box. My hair used to be the giveaway… But I was confused, very confused. We had black maids who "lived in." My grandmother did, our neighbors did, my aunt and uncle did. Not everybody did, as far as I could tell, but among the houses where I spent regularly scheduled time, like dinner at Grandma's once a week, there was always a black woman living in the basement when she wasn't on her feet cooking or serving or washing dishes. And I didn't understand why she couldn't sit down with us for dinner. I kept trying to put her there in my imagination and I convinced myself that she wouldn't feel comfortable eating with us”
Silvia writes, “I’m a white, middle class, highly educated, and cissexual woman. That’s a lot of unearned privilege. I just happened to have been born into a privileged family. I don’t feel guilty about my privilege, because I can’t do anything about it. But I have learned that others continue to pay the price for my privilege… Racism is not something that is the problem of people of colour. It’s my problem, too. And I’m part of the problem as long as I close my eyes to the ways I benefit from the racist structures of society.”
Sex and Sexuality
Anne writes, “Wuzband:
My legally married spouse, a delicious blend of male/female. She calls herself a woman loving woman. Too queer for easy definition.”
Rayshauna writes, “And though Black Americans have faced, are facing, and will face [even with President Obama] issues that have, for centuries, torn at our cultural fabric, issues not many have cared to understand, additional tearing should be expected - it's time for Black America to deal with the male privilege and homophobia within our own borders. it is beyond preposterous to declare that racism [and its children, self-loathing, self-sabotage and double consciousness] have stained the entirety of our cultural tapestry [from how we look to our cultural food to how our last names aren’t even our own] while expecting to emerge unscathed from sexism and other gender-based institutions. these issues aren’t addressed and to assert that we are a people beyond the reach of other jaded ideologies is to create the very scales upon our own eyes that we loathe in others.”
Hilary writes, “I was disappointed in the discussion of the increase by Child Trends and The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. The author, Kristin Anderson Moore, PhD, spends 3 long, detailed pages discussing how “high fertility groups” such as Hispanics, African Americans, Mexican immigrants and African immigrants have higher teen birth rates.”
A Mercy is a book review submitted by Ama Lee
“Set in and around 1690, the novel focuses mainly on four females: Florens, Lina, Sorrow, and Mistress. Two of the characters are Black, one is Native American, and one is White. All of them are oppressed by their femaleness, albeit in different ways. The attention Morrison pays to the complexities of privilege and oppression, both imposed by others and imposed by the self, is stunning and illuminating.”
This post looks at the black women that were qualified but never considered for HRC’s vacated seat.
Adeshola writes, “I am however, a bit peeved. The morons over at Fox News have a problem with Jay-Z and Young Jeezy singing "The President is Black." … Now back to the matter at hand, somehow this is President Obama's fault. During the election the poor man had to apologize for ever man woman or child who was black, who said anything remotely offensive or racial.
Thank you to everyone who participated in this months carnival. Keep writing and keep speaking truth to power..