Monday, April 12, 2010
The Black Girl's Manifesto: The Basic Rights of Femininity.
1. Black women and girls have the basic right, clearly accessible/demanded by other women to feel safe in the neighborhood they live in by the immediate removal of criminals and other delinquents who greatly decrease the likelihood of safety for black women in particular.
2. Black women and girls have the basic right to be feminine, to appear feminine, and to dress feminine without being considered a threat to white women's "feminine supremacy", or being brutally harassed to remind us that we "are not like other women", and that we should be treated/have access to less than, because of our skin color.
3. Black women and girls have the right to exercise the same standards other women in society exercise without being called "sellouts" for not subjecting themselves to financial/and or sexual exploitation.
4. Black women and girls have the right to say whatever needs to be said until conditions in their communities and direct vicinity improve, including being honest about the circumstances and attitudes within them without fear of being called "traitors" for their honesty.
5. Black women and girls have the right to expose the belief that it is their responsibility to protect, defend, provide for, and uphold the honor of men who go through great lengths to make sure that black women are NOT protected, that they are NOT defended, that they ARE NOT considered worthy of honor, and that they SHOULD NOT be provided for. Black women and girls have the right to acknowledge that this role reversal that exists in black communities has not been acceptable in any other society on the planet regardless of these societies racial and class based circumstances.
6. Black women and girls have the right to love, to be loved, to be treated as human beings effortlessly.
7. Black women and girls have the right to expose the hypocrisy that only includes them in "diversity" if they are used as props to make others feel superior and are an immediate threat when they are not.
8. Black women and girls have the right to expose the hypocrisy that liberal and progressives take on to be starch racists against black women because they think it's harder for black women to prove it.
9. Black women have the right to expose the sabotage of racist white women who view them as a threat through manipulation, cattiness, and other behaviors camouflaged in a sugary sweet fake persona, particularly in the workforce.
10. Black women and girls have the basic right to expose the lie that black female bodies are inherently for being devalued, and therefore, says our bodies are too "trashy" and "demanding attention" when we dress in the typical way other women are allowed to dress.
11. Black women and girls have the right to expose the lie that hip hop speaks about "the experiences and reality" of black neighborhoods, when it is actually about preserving hegemonic masculinity by showing that black women aren't worthy of empathy from outsiders for having to deal with the consequences of hegemonic masculinity.
12. Black women have the basic right to point out that black neighborhoods are not only unsafe because they are in them, but that criminals TARGET neighborhoods that are majority black women and children as most criminals seek out and exploit vulnerable populations and isolated women.
13. Black women and girls have the basic right to prioritize their safety and comfort over race, same as all other women.
14. Black women have the right to adequate Hollywood representation that is not stereotypical and involve "Strong" characters. Black women have the right to see attractive female leads who grapple with their complex identities and fall in love, same as other women.
15. Black women and girls have the right to sexual freedom and identity. Like straight black women, GLBT black women have the RIGHT to demand fairness and marriage over the stereotypes that prevent it.
16. Black women have the right to social and cultural freedom and identity. Like black men, black women have the RIGHT to talk about their experiences SOLELY in society without the contexts of black men and to demand their issues be addressed over the stereotypes that prevent it.
17. Black women and girls have the right to education without worrying that it makes "it might make the men look bad", "it might result in no one wanting you", and "it might mean that you should give the money from your hard work back to your community", the same as all other women.
18. Black women and girls have the right to experience identity crisis's, existential angst, and to toil with inner turmoil like all other human beings.
19. Black women and girls have the right to point out that sexual exploitation by black men, that music and opinions of black women is due to the fact that since black men are most likely to have no resources, that sexual capital is the only thing they can control. That since they cannot control their own image, they can control the image of black women. That since they own nothing, that they should be allowed to "own" the streets, and own "their" women without intrusion.
20. Black women and girls have the basic right to all social norms such as dating, marriage, commitment, flirting, singles parties, and picking mates they deem compatible like all other women.
21. It is not black women's responsibilities to take on the burdens of their community, anymore than any other women, because of their skin color.
22. Black women are allowed their own destinies and fulfillment and to pursue these things without being met with hatred for not prioritizing the fulfillment of others who do not have any particular interest/resources to do so the same for them.
23. Black women and girls have the right to demand fairness without being labeled "bitches" without being attacked and/or guilted into doing any of the above out of a false sense of solidarity.
24. Black women have the right to expose the lie that states that because of "their culture" (stereotypes and music) that they have signed, endorsed, or are "naturally equipped" to handle hatred, sexual degradation and humiliation from the powerless and overcompensating men around them.
25. Black women are allowed to discuss being groped, fondled, harassed or called debasing names from the time they are children simply for being black women without fear of retaliation.
26. Black girls and teens have the right to experiment with their socialized femininity and/or have the right to live harassment free because they "developed early" without being seen as "easy" and deserving of child molestation, like blond white girls and teens.
27. Black girls and teens have the right to live in a two parent household, and to demand that the psychological impact of not being raised in such homes at an 80% rate be studied by therapists and analyzed.
28. Black women have the right to question those who say they have "thick skin" by nature to deal with how they are treated in society; that they are not vulnerable or worthy of protection like white women, or to justify racial segregation and white privilege.
29. Black women must have the right to be hurt by the lie that we are less feminine, less vulnerable, less desirable and less hated than other women.
30. Black women have the right to reject white feminism, black male nationalism, liberalism, anarchism, and so forth because it does not apply to their particular circumstances. They are allowed to do so without fear of alienating potential ally's. Such groups have never really considered their particular struggles to begin with.
31. Black women and girls have the right to exist.
- I have the right to recognize that I have the right to safety, to not be sexually terrorized, to be safe in public, to not be treated like I can "handle" violence and sexual aggression because of my skin color.
- I have the right to acknowledge that I have my own personality, my own identity, and that I am treated with suspicion because I am a complex human being and not a stereotype of a black female.
- I have the right to acknowledge that I am treated with racism from white women in particular because of how I look, because I pose a threat to their feminine supremacy. And that each racist white woman I've who has tried to sabotage me believed that an effective form of manipulation is to project super sweet and innocent behavior so that if ever I got angry about their direct sabotage, I'd appear to be a stereotype.
- I have the right to acknowledge that I am treated with sexism because I am tall and I therefore pose a threat to male physical dominance. That people have treated me as though I should be "embarrass" for being tall. Or that I should feel ashamed for being tall.
- I have the right to acknowledge that my body is viewed as deviant because I am shapely, and that I must want attention for something I was biologically predetermined to have, and that I should accept that I deserve everything from leering stares to sexual exploitation.
- I have the right to acknowledge that people have acted with surprise for being attracted to me because I do not fit the beauty ideal, because I am not thin, not blond, and I am not the status quo.
- I have the right to acknowledge that my struggle has very little in common with white women, with black men, and with white men. And that I have no particular beef with white men just for the purpose of wanting the power they have. I am anti-hierarchy in all forms because I am a black female.
- I have the right to acknowledge that I have faced insecurity. That I was not "confident", "strong", or "equipped to handle insecurity" as society feels black women. I am like all other women who feel inadequate because of the Ad Industry.
- I have the right to acknowledge that I am terrified of men and sometimes have social anxiety around men from dealing with chronic Street Harassment, being stalked and followed and death threats from not responding to sexual advances.
- I have the right to acknowledge that I DO fit the beauty ideal more than many other women. And that I've never felt that men do not find me attractive.
- I have the right to acknowledge that I am shy, and often uncomfortable which has been assumed "black bitch" and "unapproachable", simply because I am black female.
- I have the right to change who I am, to experience personal growth, to go through "phases", and to grapple with my identity, to grow up and to change my political views with age because I am human, like other black females.
- I have the right to sexual liberation if I so choose to, AND the right to not partake in it for personal reasons. I have the right to acknowledge that I have had far less partners than most in my age group.
- I have the right to point out the hypocrisy in liberal, feminist, progressive and anti-racist circles who excuse their apathy of black women's circumstances because of pathologies such as white guilt that only apply to black men, and to prioritize how they are victimized in society.
- I have the right to speak about my experiences as a black female aside from white women, black men, etc., without being considered "divisive" for not prioritizing theirs.
- I have the right to discuss my experiences in a public forum regardless of those who benefit from them being "uncomfortable" with the subject matter.
I have the right to question science/debate sociologists as an art history major, to question religion as an agnostic, to point out black male privilege as an anti-racist, to correctly categorize white female privilege as a feminist, and to love men as a womanist.
I have the right to exist.
If you have others to add, please feel free.