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Monday, November 30, 2015


The historically black fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha marched in Chicago recently to calm a gang riddled neighborhood. Other than, the Huffington Post, there hasn't been much coverage.

Feeling Rebloggy

"Nearly 300 men of the [Alpha Phi Alpha] fraternity marched in the freezing rain and snow in Chicago's Chatham neighborhood on Saturday to demand an end to violence in their community. Joined by Alderman Michelle Harris and Illinois state Reps. Marcus Evans and Elgie Sims, all Democrats, the fraternity marched down 79th Street, where community members say a gang war is raging...
The march focused on general violence in Chatham, but it occurred as community members wait for police to release footage from 17-year-old Laquan McDonald's fatal October 2014 shooting. A police officer reportedly shot McDonald in the back 16 times. According to ABC 7 Chicago, the city has until Wednesday to release the dash cam video of the shooting. " 

~ HuffPost

The little coverage there has been isn't as complete as I'd like it because the fact that crime is intra-racial needs to highlighted very single time a march like this occurs.

Crime is usually intra-racial and often intra-racial at rates above 84% for all crime including white-on-white crime according to FBI UCR data. But you wouldn't know that from listening to people like Ronald Reagan and his minions speak over the last 30 years. Even though evidence is all around us constantly, when crime is predominantly white race is not mentioned - hence our collective unawareness of white-on-white crime despite so many images coming at us all the time.

Mass murderers that took place at a Colorado movie theater, near a college in Santa Barbara, and Sandy Hook are examples of the truth of white-on-white crime. And the reason that crime is intra-racial can be seen in these mass shootings.  It is a simple and understandable fact that people beat, rob, and murder the people they live near. The reason crime is usually intra-racial shouldn't be any more confusing than the reason why the specific crime of domestic violence is often intra-racial.

Poverty, which increases desperation and decreases hope, also increases crime.  Concentrated poverty in neighborhoods dense with black people, in  places as segregated as Chicago have intra-racial crime happening in concentrated areas.

Reducing the poverty, the need for alternate forms of income as well as reducing the desire of young men to prove their manhood via toughness  (substituted for the materialistic goods that white men use to prove manhood) is the only thing that will reduce violence in black inner cities. But hope has to be grown there first. 

Those that live there already care about themselves, but without interest from those that materially have more the changes can stop the cycle of violence born of trying to compensate for lack will not happen --not within an individualistic, materialistic, and capitalist society such as this one.

The men of Alphi Phi Alpha are showing the necessary interest. I hope they can draw the right attention and resources to the area.  And if they are second generation, children of black fraternities and sororities I hope they can draw their parents money to the area too.


Read More:

Video of the March at the link:

Sunday, November 29, 2015


There has been a lot of talk about not shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday in order to make the white powers that be feel our displeasure over the deaths of Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Tasha McKenna, and Laquan McDonald. And this sounds good.

But truthfully, as a middle class person this has no effect on me one way or the other. I can afford to spend shop early or late and spend an extra $40 or $100 on something that somebody wanted for Christmas. My nose will be bent out of shape because I'm a cheapskate born into a family of cheapskates but that's the only sacrifice I'll be making is my nose out of joint for having spent money I didn't want to spend.


Black people who are poor, black people who live in poorer sections of black neighborhoods, the ones who are at a higher risk for being shot by white police (in my unconfirmed opinion) are the ones who go stand in line at 4 AM on Black Friday to get their child a toy or game they couldn't otherwise afford. Other cheapskates like my brother go too. But the poorest among us are the ones mostly punished by a mostly symbolic gesture of skipping the biggest sales of the year -- and asked to do it two years in a row too.

Frankly, I can't help that notice that this has been hyped and suggested by those, like Farrakhan*, who never ever gave two d*mn lambs about Christmas,  consumerized or religious, in the first place.

Besides, taking back black dollars has to be done in a real way by spending black all year. Symbolic gestures have their place, but maybe we can find some gestures that don't penalize the already penalized. 

More than that, we need to demand that the black successful do more than give back to the black community through their own black success. Yeah, hiring black people in black neighborhoods is good. But when you as a black person get rich, I think your donating 5 million out of your 350 million dollars looks like a lot but it's a pittance.

Oprah, for example, built a school in Africa some years back. That's fine. That's acceptable to white people because that set of "those people" seem desperately poor and deserving while inner city blacks have the lazy label. That's acceptable to black people because anything that mentions "Africa" or sound African is good. But I want her to adopt a school or two here and make it popular for other black stars to do so, followed by white stars here in the U.S.

If adopting black babies can catch on in the United States, then why not black schools in inner-city neighborhoods?

We, as black people, talk about "unity" too much get down to brass tacks too seldom. All of us are NOT in the same situation. And the expectations of different sets of black people need to be different. Yes, we the black consumers need to spend black dollars on black businesses to build them up. But the ones that are already built? We need to demand some reciprocation or move onto another black business.

I, like anybody else, enjoy seeing black people get rich and display that wealth up to a point. It's good for black children to see black people at all financial levels of society. But seeing ostentatious black wealth when our people have so little makes me throw up in the back of my mouth a little.  I hope some of you start to feel the same way.  The black rich can spend less, get 3 cars instead of 15 and adopt a black neighborhood or a black school 

Use this list freely. Shop black. And as the year goes on, I hope you send Patrice Grell Yursik more black businesses to add to her list. But when 2016 begins make an effort to keep your eyes open. Make sure that those who are black give black in a way commensurate to their success

It's 2015,  we need fewer black heroes that heroes only because they made it and more black people creating a cycle of black money through black society.
We need more from the black successful than evidence of their own success. I have no desire to see a black Donald Trump come to exist. In fact, I'd like to never see that happen.

Be the change you want to see in the world. And also command the change you want to see in the world by being choosy about who you support.


 There are voids in this list. I’d love to see more black-owned tech and toy companies represented. Shoe designers. Tech purveyors. If you’re the creator of a black owned business and would like to be included, I encourage you to leave your site and a brief description of your services in the comment section [of the link below.]


I hope this list is helpful to you and that these businesses can thrive thanks to your support.  And like I said last year right around this time, “Although this week may make you question so many things, never question that we have much to be thankful for. Be thankful for life. For health. For family. For friends. For community. For the future, when we can make the change that we want to see in the world.



The list of 350 black businesses*-When I see Farrakhan squash a Muslim religious holiday that black Muslim children are at the center of for the cause, maybe I'll be interested in what he has to say. Until then...

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Armed White People Follow and Intimidate Mosque Attendees in Irvine Texas

Feeling Rebloggy

Irvine Texas is the same place where the teacher mistook a clock for a bomb and had a child arrested. In this link, a Fox News affiliate asks if the terrorists ("protesters") are going too far.

The image comes from this link

THE STOP THE ISLAMITIZATION OF AMERICA GROUP  admits that their goal was to intimidate.   "I'm not gonna lie, we do wanna show force" was reportedly said by David Wright, a representative of this organization.

Doesn't this make them a terrorist group? Do they have to kill people like the KKK has done first? Are these white people terrorist wanna-bes?  Are they on a watch list?

Is it only in Irvine, Texas where you can't be tried for a hate crime after following somebody around with a gun? How many other states can white people, and white people only, get away with this?

If this mosques hires anybody but the whitest, blondest people guard this mosque with guns and not one Muslim touches a gun, the people inside the mosque will still be called "terrorists" before a white guy with a gun dressed like the one in the photo

By the way...

Am I supposed to be confused about why the white man in the photo is covering his face? Am I supposed to be confused just because some of these white supremacists aren't using pillowcases with holes for masks anymore?

More discussion in the video below

Friday, November 27, 2015


Dear @realdonaldtrump,

My name is Marwa, and I am a Muslim. I heard you wanted us the start wearing ID badges, so I decided to choose one for myself. I am not 
easily identifiable as a ‪#‎Muslim‬ just by looking at me, so my new badge will let me display proudly who I am. I chose the peace sign because it represents my ‪#‎Islam‬.

-the same Islam that taught me to oppose 
‪#‎injustice‬ and yearn for ‪#‎unity‬. The one that taught me that killing one innocent life is equivalent to killing humanity. I heard you want to track us as well. Great! You can come with me on my Cancer Awareness walks at the local middle school, or you can follow me to work where it's my job to create happiness.

You can also see how my local mosque makes PB&J sandwiches for the homeless and hosts interfaith dinners where everyone is welcome. Maybe then you'll see that me being Muslim doesn't make me any less American than you are. Maybe if you walk in my footsteps, you can see that I am not any less human than you are.

Salaamu alaikum 


More On Trumps Position

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Feeling Rebloggy Minneapolis: Police Arrest 4 Suspects in Connection With Shooting of 5 Black Lives Matter Activists

Police arrested four men after a shooting outside the 4th Precinct Monday night that left five people injured. Police said the suspects will be held until Monday as the investigation continue


Every time I have a conversation with somebody black about "why don't inner city blacks...." do this and that?" behind closed doors some of these people sound like the worst of republicans. 

I know black people watch the same television, movies, and news casts and pick up the same stereotypes about blacks that white people do, especially stereotype loving republicans. But it still hurts to talk to black folk like this. It hurts deep down.

Apparently, it's just beyond some people to understand what it is to go to school and work at it without any signs that there's hope for your future.

There are exceptional human beings, of course, so exceptional since 5 years of age that are geniuses or simply determined to find a way to thrive even if they barely have enough to eat and dodge bullets on the way to school. Maybe that's the kind of person that will get all A's and make millions no matter what circumstances they are born in. 

But you shouldn't have to be that exceptional to value your own life enough to imagine what you could do with it as an adult. 

Yet that's exactly what some people who have never experienced life with middle class money or better expect of the poor. It's also what poor people who were damn lucky that their hard work paid off expect of the poor that they left behind.

Well I have a dream that I started dreaming long before I ever heard of Harris Rosen. And I was watching "Oprah" when I started dreaming it with my eyes open.

THE DREAM:  What would it be like if Oprah stopped wielding her influence for her book club or by endorsing movies, even black movies, and instead used her power to do adopt a high school? 

She could
-  refurbish the school
(I've seen huge holes in walls, pipes dripping, roofs leaking) 

- pay for security to keep the computers etc, in it

- put free childcare in the neighborhood 

- give all the students money for college regardless of grades

What if Oprah made the environment hopeful looking and put the hope light at the end of the tunnel with scholarships?

What would it be like if Denzel Washington copied her?

 Then Danny Glover?

What if poor black people saw rich black people coming to help them in a very public and powerful way. What would that do to black hope in the black inner-city before the money even arrived?

What if this caught on in Hollywood like adopting black children? Angelina and Brad, Sandra Bullock, and Madonna might adopt a neighborhood as well.

What if billionaires outside Hollywood didn't want to be out done and they started adopting inner city neighborhoods?

Am I dreaming or does Oprah have the power to change the United States in ways a lot less trivially than she has done so far? She had more power when she had her show on a network station. But does she still have this power? Does she still have enough power to make something like this popular? Does someone else? 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Five Black Lives Matters Activists Shot After Police Use Mace On Protesters

Tensions remained high as activists urged caution among the peaceful demonstrators who have been protesting after a white Minneapolis police officer fatally shot Jamar Clark, 24, an unarmed black man, on Nov. 15



Feeling Rebloggy

Police Officer Jason VanDyke "has been charged with murder for the death of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager who was shot 16 times after being stopped by officers on a Chicago street."

Here is how the police union described the shooting to the Chicago Tribune for 
an article published on October 21 2014:

...[Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat] Camden said of the teen. “[He] walked up to a car and stabbed the tire of the car and kept walking.”
Officers remained in their car and followed McDonald as he walked south on Pulaski Road. More officers arrived and police tried to box the teen in with two squad cars, Camden said. McDonald punctured one of the squad car’s front passenger-side tires and damaged the front windshield, police and Camden said.
Officers got out of their car and began approaching McDonald, again telling him to drop the knife, Camden said. The boy allegedly lunged at police, and one of the officers opened fire."

In the link below, a second by second account of the murder
if you don't want to watch McDonald's murder in the video below

Is anybody investigating the officers responsible for the multi-level cover-up?

After the shooting, according to Jay Darshane, the District Manager for Burger King, four to five police officers wearing blue and white shirts entered the restaurant and asked to view the video and were given the password to the equipment. Three hours later they left, he said.

The next day, when an investigator from the Independent Police Review Authority asked to view the security footage, it was discovered that the 86 minutes of video was missing.

On McDonald's 16 wounds

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Feeling Rebloggy
"Brazil is a country with the largest black population outside of the African continent. However it has often been the subject of dialogue regarding the strenuous challenges many of it’s black citizens face on a daily basis.

Now the Afro-Brazilian community has decided to embark upon change with their first ever Natural Hair Empowerment March also known as “Marcha do Empoderamento Crespo."

“Women suffer from both sides. Racism and sexism. Therefore, we use the concept of empowerment. From the aesthetics, the woman empowers and empowers the community” [translated]

Black Feminists Rock Worldwide 


Another organizer, Naira Gomes also chimed in: 
“So good to say, aesthetic for us is political. The hair is a symbol, a pretext to fight against racism.” [translated]


Read More/See More photos:

Monday, November 23, 2015


This cycle only works when the terrorists are not white. Do not expect anything to be dropped on Dylann Roof inspiring KKK anytime soon.  If the next Dylann Roof kills 90 black and brown people, don't expect it.

On a side note, Farai Chideya makes the argument that white men are the only ones that really count in this society.  She made her case using Department of Justice statistics (or some such) on jail time. If a child's death doesn't make the news, the people that kill children don't stay in jail long at all-- or they didn't when the book was written in the 1980s.

I believed her when I read her book. But I really started believing her after Sandy Hook happened then gun laws didn't change. The NRA isn't a terrorist group but certainly the local terrorists best friend.

I don't know how we get off either hamster wheel.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Photo Joe Sanger
Feeling Rebloggy
 "Several attendees at the rally punched and kicked a protester who tried to disrupt Trump’s speech.

At least a half-dozen attendees shoved and tackled the protester, a Black man, to the ground as he refused to leave the event. At least one man punched the protester and a woman kicked him while he was on the ground.

All of the attendees who were involved in the physical altercation with the protester were white.

The protester appeared to be shouting “Black lives matter” and later removed his sweatshirt to reveal a shirt with those words.

At least one attendee shouted “all lives matter” as the protester was eventually led out by police officers on the scene."



The thing that seems to be different about black women now as opposed to the black women in the late 1800s-1920 and early civil rights women is that

A) black women don't know BLACK WOMEN'S HISTORY (of course there was less of Black American Female History to know back then. But Black women of the late 19th century and early 20th century were creating black women's history at the speed of light during every one of those years)

B) black women have bought into the scapegoating from both the white community and the black male community alike.

Until "When and Where I Enter", I had not realized that male sociologists and psychiatrists, white and black  alike, wrote books, articles, and speeches that actively created the stereotypes of black women that are still boomeranging around inside the black community to this day.

- Mammy, 

- Sapphire (b*tch),
- Matriarch (Sapphire & Mammy Combo) 
- Jezebel (hoe)

Those closest to looking like the single black mother stereotype, which can be seen as Mammy, Jezebel, and eventually Matriarch, all rolled up into one are the ones taking the biggest beating right now, the ones getting the most blame for the failure of the black community.

These black, female stereotypes were first created by whites to take the heat off racism as a reason for black poverty etc, in the 1960s.

The Moynihan Report of 1965(?), places blame for the 'failures of black culture' squarely on black women. Prior to the actual publication of the report, a number of black practitioners of respectability politics --a quasi-popular position throughout in Black American History-- welcomed the opportunity to shift blame off black men onto black women.

When Moynihan report became public there was such a backlash, that those who helped write/critique it didn't dare say so. But the black female stereotypes created and repeated in that report live on.    

Until I read "When And Where I Enter" I did not realize that Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee was different from other black civil rights organizations. In this Ella Baker formed group:

1) had a membership that was not exclusively focused on the black middle class. Other groups, NAACP and SCLC tended to look down on rural blacks.

2) was group-centered rather than individual, Messiah-centered (think Martin Luther King and the SCLC, Malcom X and Muslims for a while)

3) had a lot of female led inner groups and black females involved in the top level decision making in the early years.

4) had young black men that eventually saw having young white women in the organization as a symbol of their racial freedom

5) had white women, becoming more feminist, seeing black men as their sexual freedom

6) wound up splintering as macho became a "positive" in male culture across the nation, which increased black male/white female sexual relationships which in turn started creating chaos in the group

7) wound up ousting of white people from the interracial SNCC (which I've known about for years). But this ousting of white people was really the ousting of white women (which I did not know until reading this book).

Ousted from SNCC, white feminists went to a predominantly white civil rights group and were treated worse by white men (used to their entitlements and privilege) when they tried to get back into having the same kind of leadership positions they'd once had at SNCC.

Learning the same history all over again from a female perspective has shed so much light on the place were in now. I've also come to realize how much you will fail to understand if you do not pay attention to how people react to class boundaries that are as real as socially created race/ethnic boundaries.

Black men and black women can be different AND still be dedicated to equality and overcoming sexism, just like black men and black women are dedicated to anti-racism while not being dedicated to sameness in regards to the dominant white culture.

I know this can be done because in the history books I've been reading I think I've seen that black men and black women have done it before -- right after they came out of slavery.

I hope slavery wasn't an extreme version of the enemy of my enemy is my friend kind of situation. An common enemy creates firm allies, but the alliance is often temporary. It truly looks like every year after slavery shows black men valuing how white males perform gender.  Black men and women worked side by side in the fields and did what had to be done just out of slavery, the children being put first in a way they couldn't be during slavery. But women still worked and their worked was valued...and they expected their opinions and decision making would remained valued no matter how much they worked outside of the home.

But black male and female relationships started changing as the black middle class increased, white patriarchal values moving more and more into the black community.

It's not like there wasn't plenty of patriarchy and misogyny in Africa to bring to the United States, but it seems like slavery had crushed patriarchy and misogyny to dust for a while. Black men and women had to pull together without holding onto artificial gender roles, including the one that says that man and his education, his voting rights, and his ability to provide are more important than a woman's.

It seems like patriarchy and misogyny had to be re-learned post slavery.

All of this reminds me of the old military saying: "Ain't no racists in a foxhole." That is, when the shells are falling all around you, all you care about is survival. Slavery can be seen as constant shelling, as 24/7 shelling, that kept black women and black men from thinking about anything except surviving together.

Post slavery, patriarchy and misogyny crept back in quickly. So, maybe there ain't any sexist misogynists in a foxhole either?

I truly hope *the enemy of my enemy is my friend* wasn't the source of black men having black women's backs back in the day. 

 - But listening to all 
the "bitches" and "hoes" 
in various raps
have made me wonder.

-- But seeing the avid defense 
of Clarence Thomas, Bill Cosby, 
Ray Rice, Chris Brown 
because the women that oppose them
are "bitches and hoes" anyway, I'm still wondering.

I'm both disgusted and still wondering

However, I must admit that I'm a lot more worried about black women getting back to having one another's backs as strongly as they seem to have black men's backs.
Taraji P Henson happy for Regina King at the Oscars

A lot has been made of black women showing up in large numbers whenever a black man is shot down. And this is absolutely true. In some press photos I can barely see the black men protesting for the large numbers of black mothers, wives, sisters, and auntie's protesting whenever the Michael Brown's and Freddie Grays are mowed down.
Protester turn out is not the same when a black woman is killed.
There had to be an adjunct movement created #SayHerName to get #BlackLivesMatters activists and supporters to focus on the deaths of black women.

Prior to 2014, I wouldn't hear about a black woman's death at hands of police until months had passed. Months. Prior to 2014, I might not find out a black woman had died at the hands of police for years.

Freddie Gray was in the center of our collective black focus before he was even dead. Rekia Boyd's killer was in the news at the same time but this cops escape from justice did not get the machine gun, repetitive sharing on social media Gray's death got.  News of Boyd's murderer being set free by a judge instead of a jury was met with "Who? Who's Rekia Boyd?"


Much has been made of black men not showing up for Rekia Boyd Protests, myself included.  But you know what? Black women didn't show up either.

Only a handful of black people showed up for Boyd's protest and most of what was missing was black women. It's not like 50% of a Freddie-Gray-sized crowd showed up, only a handful of people showed up. It's not like Rekia Boyd was shot in Iowa either.  Boyd was shot in freaking Chicago, one of the blackest towns in the damn nation.

Black women did not show up for Rekia Boyd either.

Black feminists and womanists showed up though. Black feminists and womanists show up for black women even when black men are not interested.  Harriett Tubmans, Sojourner Truths, Ida B Wells-s, Anna Julia Coopers, Diane Nashs, Alicia Garzas, Opal Tometis, Patrisse Cullors-s, and even Shonda Rhimes-s have always showed up for black women even if black men show no interest.

Again, it's not just black men that do not value black women at this point in time. It is the black community, including black women, that do not value black women the way it should.

I don't know how we are to draw ourselves back from the edge that some of us are so proud to be dancing on. Some of us as silly enough to be proud that we're "not acting white" by refusing to call ourselves "feminists."

MARA BROCK AKIL feminist and producer of
has black women, working behind and in front of the camera
REGINA KING, for example, is often a director

White women were not the first to execute or attempt to retrieve equality without sameness in their communities.

Black women were.

White women feminists have often emulated black women feminists without giving credit where credit is due--- same as other aspects of white culture stolen from elsewhere.

But even if you are mistaking feminism for "white culture" focusing on white feminists as a power that is destroying black culture is just a way for cowards to avoid the real conversation, frankly.

SHONDA RHIMES feminist and producer of
has black women, working behind and in front of the camera
and black music/musicians getting paid royalties

I keep trying to figure out how it is some black people think feminism (a way to combat the problems of sexism/patriarchy between women and men) is about black women and white women getting along MORE THAN it's about black women and black men getting along.

I mean, why would I, as a black woman, have higher expectations of white women than black men on the fighting sexism front? Why? This is much like finding your husband in bed with another woman and kicking her @$$ instead of the one that stood up with you in church and said "I do."

White women aren't the central problem for black feminists or womanists.  Men aren't even the central problem for womanists and black feminists. Black women failing to value themselves as individuals and as a group is the biggest problem we as black women have. 

Here And Now, October 2015: 

There are black men and black women who are throwing a black girl child beaten by a white police officer in a classroom in South Carolina under the bus just because she acted like a dumb kid like dumb kids are supposed to. There are black people jumping up to defend this white officer, to save this white cop's job.

I swear, I oughta promise to send each and every one of you 1 million dollars if you ever see a black teenage boy get thrown around like that then see even a few people in black skin start jumping up and down to save the white officer's job.

But I digress.

I'm thinking maybe the sexism solution is going to be as galling as the racism solution.

(Racism Solution: I don't think anti-black racism in this country is going to move much if white people don't move. They're the ones with the disease. If we don't create white allies who can teach the white numb from the neck up (forget the card carrying white racists) we're done.  We're only 13% of the population.

Things stay the same or get worse in this country unless white folk change OR until people of color start learning one another's stories making our outnumbering white people by 2050-ish actually mean something.)

Kerry Washington, Actress

With our love partners, with our sex partners, with our partners in the struggle, black men, the sexism/misogyny solution may be even tougher than the racism solution.

We're more engaged with black men, as we should be. Pulling back to say, "Hey, clean your lane. I'll be right over here when you get done," is going to be a hell of a lot tougher to say to black men than it is to white folk. First of all, there are a hell of a lot fewer black, male feminists to lead black men than there are anti-racist whites willing to teach white folk from where I sit.

Yet, somehow we must get that done. Without pulling out of black men's lane? Standing inside black men's lane silently while they go about the labor of cleaning up the sexism and unacknowledged misgynoir?

But first things first. The percentage of black women who come together to say most of us aren't like up to 50% of white women and proud of it. The percentage of black women who say "we don't tolerate being treated like property no matter how pretty the pedestal is" has to increase.

We have the experience with racists to teach us how to deal with sexists. We, as black women, just have to value ourselves enough to be demanding when respect is low and supportive only when reciprocation is obviously present.

Step Number One: You aren't there for "the new blacks" already. Why not try not being there for the black people supportive of those who rape and kill black women they've successfully labeled as "bitches and hoes."

STEP Number Two: Learn Your Black Female History. You will start to see that that entire black community is repeating a pattern, that we as black women are putting up with things that were beaten back before by the black women, most of them what we now call "feminists" and "womanists" that came before us.

Saturday, November 21, 2015



When and Where I Enter:
The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America

This 21 year old book is awesome. It was copyrighted in 1984, during the Reagan administration, a dozen or so years after the end of the Civil Rights Movement.

I'd already read Giddings'  "Sword Among Lions," her biography on Ida B Wells.  That book made me curious about the Black Women's Club Movement that began to develop a few decades after slavery among middle-class, black women.  I was amazed to figure out that black women and black men of that time (late 1800s to 1920s) were so much closer to feminist equality in their approach to life than we are now.

I've been thinking that slavery and  the poverty immediately following slavery forced black men and black women to work as a team toward advancement without hard divisions in gender roles.

There was gender bias in the black community, don't get me wrong.

However, black women of the time had fresh memory of slavery in their own heads from experience or from the oral history of their mothers to keep them from accepting or expecting their men to treat them like second class citizens - unlike white women.  Black women had to work to support the family just like the black men did.

Maybe black men had a fresher memory of domination as well for a while, too fresh to reproduce it in the direction of black women---for a short time anyway.

Black women of the late 1800s and 1920s created their own clubs and political organizations and led the anti-lynching fight. Ida B Wells did some of the first sociological studies in this country on lynching. More importantly, she knew how to affect southern white money. She traveled outside this country to where the primary cotton buyers were, England, and got anti-lynching resolutions passed there. As a result,  whites in Memphis --a location that was a primary cotton producer of the world-- were shamed into stopping lynching cold. There was no lynching at all for 20 years straight after Ida B Wells trips. Lynching was reduced across the country from all time highs.

The NAACP ( Ida B Wells one of the founders) copied her methods and used the anti-lynching issue to establish itself.

But this book gave me so much more of an overview of black history from a black female perspective that was nothing short of amazing to read. The book covers the period from slavery through The Civil Rights movement.

Blacks are divided by class just like everybody else. But it was interesting to read that people had to work to overcome that. Music was one of the things used to bring different classes of blacks together. It was a calculated and deliberate thing using music to unite black people at protests, not just a black people love music thing like I was always taught (--put this in the stereotypes black people like to believe along side the big dick one)

How sexism and poverty come together to create black women's achievement in school was made clear too. It was so obvious I couldn't believe I hadn't just come to it myself.

Black men used to quit school to support the family by getting blue collar jobs. Black women would couldn't do the same thing. At domestic jobs they were paid little or nothing, and raped besides. In order for black women to bring more money into the home, they had to get more education and leave domestics jobs.

In other words, blue collar black women (domestics) made a lot less money than black men in blue collar jobs. In white collar "women's jobs," teachers and social workers, black women better off than un-credentialed female domestics, yet still didn't make as much money as un-credentialed black men. At one point during the 60s, despite black women having more education, black women were still, on average, making 75 cents for every black male dollar.

And THIS, according to The Moynihan Report was part of black women emasculating black men and destroying the black family. Earning a wage that was critical to the family's survival and earning a wage so close to her husbands (remember it's 1965) was undermining of his masculinity.That's just one of many stereotypes about black women created by men of all colors between during the mid 20th century.

According to the author (and others)  The Moynihan Report was reviewed by many black male civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, prior to publication. So, Moynihan must have been quite shocked at the nasty reaction he got from the black community.

I'm not sure if The Moynihan Report was the first attempt to shift the effects of white racism onto black culture via the black woman, complete with black cosigning, but it surely wasn't the last.

Regarding colorism, the book was very light on this point. I know THIS book wasn't about THAT. But the book would have been a little more perfect if the author had been frank or detailed about linking middle class blackness and being light-colored, and how that came right out of house-slave/field hand. The color divide continued/continues from slavery through the 1960s to now --only most black people don't realize that historically, this is also a class divide. 

a highly rated supplemental book that addresses race, color and class 

Also, not examining the class/color divide could leave some thinking that whiteness adds IQ to the black race, just as white racists who keep saying "Obama is part white ya know" seem to believe. White racists will believe anything, I know. But a hole in our history can leave some blacks believing this as well.  We cannot afford to leave gaps where more internalized racism can get in.

Since Giddings was so brave in other sections of the book and covered so much of black history in general in order to give context to black women's history, it just seems odd to have skipped over the colorism link to class as it didn't exist.

Paula Giddings also explained much about shifting gender roles for women, of course, but also for men.

For some reason it never really occurred to me that men had a shift in ideals in regards to what "a real man" looks like, a shift that was independent of wanting equality.

There was a shift from men wanting to be
establishment/corporate/always in a suit/ideal dude (1920s - 50s?)
who did all for his family out of a sense of duty
independent dude who did
what he wanted,
when he wanted
including open promiscuity (a word generally not applied to men but it applies)

And this shift in male consciousness in the country affected black men as well.

Early in The Civil Rights Movement black women were still respected as leaders but that shifted as a result of changing ideals in masculinity, as "macho"   More overt forms of domination became seen as "true masculinity."  Shutting women down became good. As Giddings eventually points out, quite convincingly,  Black Civil Rights groups lost power at the very same time lost respect for black women's leadership.

The books also details the failings of white feminists.

Through this book I understood decision by decision how white suffragists/feminists of the 1920s through to white feminists of the 1980s turned to away from the issues of black women....

- to court southern white women (at anti-lynching's expense)

- to court anti-feminist white women (1980s, a lot of them southern white women I think)

- and even to court black men (Frederick Douglass)

RATHER THAN COURT black women for support on various issues.

And because of white women's failures to be what we call now call "intersectional,"  they have failed  at different national efforts decade after decade after decade. But the author, via other black feminists quoted (Angela Davis/Kathleen Cleaver)  make it clear that while our struggle is very different from white women...

- due to our earlier history with anti-black racism

-  due to our common goals against oppression with black men
(a link white women don't have)

-and our tendency to embrace one another despite class,

...that some of our ultimate goals are the same.  

I say that only some of our goals are the same because white feminists, mostly middle class or better, are married to a man that is perfectly capable of supporting her on his income alone. That leaves the white feminist to focus on things like abortion and slut shaming to the virtual exclusion of all else.

Black women, in the 1960s for example, were trying to figure out why they were only being paid 75% of what black men were being paid when they had more education as a group even then. (Black women have been closing that gap since this book was written though)

For black women our sexism/patriarchy struggle is different, according to Giddings, because black women have had to work side by side with black men (not a step behind like white women) due to higher rates of poverty among blacks. However, the biggest reason that black women's sexism/patriarchy struggle is different is that black women are completely intolerant of chattel treatment from black men due to chattel treatment from white men during slavery.

Black women refused to change masters from white men to black men, especially during the early days of our freedom in the U.S. And black men appear to have been, at the change of the 19th century, a lot more sensitive to this than they are today.

By comparison, large numbers of white women appear to have tolerated property status from white men, on and off for decades, for so long as an imaginary pedestal was involved.

Therefore we as black women have been "naturally" feminist in mindset before the word "feminist came to exist. The average black women may hate the word "feminism" as much or more as the average white woman because they put "feminism" the "like white people box," ironically enough.

However, black women have less tolerance for sexism than women of any color.  Black women's rates of remaining single and high rates of divorce prove this. We are, in my opinion, less conscious than the black women at the turn of the 19th century but our inability to tolerate the following is forever:


The author solidly makes the point that sexism is just as real as racism. From where I sit this is obvious.

Unlike white women, black women have never had the expectation while growing up that they are not going to fully participate in life as a fully functioning adult. Even if a black woman decides she will marry, work inside the home, and be the primary raiser of the children, if a black man dies --and they die often in the U.S.-- a black woman knows she will have to stand up and take over making of the living while still feeding the children. Black women, collectively, have had to be more dedicated to education and making a living. to sustain the self and the family that depends on her.

Gloria Steinhem once said that Black Women created feminism. In the moment when I first heard her say that, I thought she was shining the black female reporter on. I've come to the conclusion since that Glo was right on the money that particular time.

At the end of the book, Giddings makes the point that both the civil rights movement and the feminist movement stopped moving in significant ways when black women's needs were not (among many other things) taken seriously and black women withdrew.

I''m still thinking about that last bit. But I think the creation of the Black Lives Matter Movement, by three black women, just might prove she's right about this.