Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Black Woman's Burden

I was catching up on my You Tube subscriptions this weekend and came across this video by one of my favorite vloggers, Tonya TKO. One of the things that I appreciate about Tonya is her raw honesty. She's not afraid to put it all out there. At the end of a really busy and stressful week...at the end of a really stressful Democratic primary season that often made me wonder if women like me were completely invisible and unimportant...this monologue nearly made me cry.

Yesterday, when I read Linda Hirshman's offensive WaPo essay about how feminism has lost its way by bothering to consider the needs of women of color (Not only are our extraneous needs dragging down the women's movement, but we also helped Clarence Thomas get elected.), I thought about Tonya's video and the idea that black women's needs always seem to be inconvenient...how black women always seem to be inconvenient and undesirable wherever we go...how we are always left alone to handle things ourselves. There are so few safe spaces for us...so few places where we can lay our burdens down. Is there no relief from the twin burdens of racism and sexism?

Note: At one point, Tonya speaks about the black woman's place in the desire hierarchy of Western culture. I just wanted to point out that I do understand that the sexism and stereotype that exalts white women, exoticizes Asian and Latina women, and denigrates black women, damages ALL women. Nevertheless, it is painful to be on the downside of the hierarchy and I think it is honest to say that women on the upside of the hierarchy benefit from the way things are, even as they are simultaneously hurt by it.

P.S. Thank God Black Amazon is back with a powerful rant about the aftermath of the Clinton campaign.


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