Fair warning, Sharon, rant coming.
I find this uniquely insulting: Someone isn’t Black enough. African enough. What the hell is enough? What on earth gives ANYONE the right to say such a thing? How is it okay to draw lines within the Black sisterhood to establish primacy and power when everyone suffers? How is that conversation useful?
How is it okay that Black kids draw lines of demarcation on the basis of how dark/light someone’s Blackness is? How is that anything other than referred racism, interpreted within the Black community, taught by white supremacy? Same thing happens in other countries. The lighter, the better. I saw it in Peru. I see it everywhere, that desperate need to establish superiority, any kind of superiority over someone else.
Based on what, pray tell? I have ideas, doesn’t make me right, but I guess what troubles me most is when we women, women who are so often subject to the same inequities and pain, turn on each other.
How dare someone hijack a white name and show up Black. Really? Honestly? This is what we fight about when half the human race is subjugated, abused, assaulted, demeaned, murdered, tortured, sold off into sex slavery? Some fifty to sixty thousand Black women and girls just… missing? Somehow we’ll talk about the 300 girls that Boko Haram spirited away, causing international concern, but we can’t be bothered by the tens of thousands of Black girls and women gone missing?
And we worry about whether a name is African enough? How on Earth is that relevant when so much around us is on fire?
Oh, Sharon. Forgive my rant. Sometimes I just despair. We women need each other so very badly and look at what we do. Look at what we do.
We turn on each other when we so very desperately need each other.
I am going to reference this Zora piece in an upcoming article, but your comment above made me think of it:
Toni Morrison: “I Am Alarmed By the Willlingness of Women to Enslave Other Women.”
‘Cinderella’s Stepsisters,’ her poignant commencement address to the Barnard Class of 1979, is just as insightful today…
How do we, as I see other Black women writing, de-colonize our brains and our attitudes, when even within the Black community of women there is evidence of colonization? How do we allow ourselves to be so manipulated that we turn on each other? We women do it all the time. Over beauty, over body, over Blackness, over babies. No wonder we can’t heal the world when we keep hurting each other.
I am not Black, but I grew up with Black sisters. What you write is very painful because it is so very true.
I appreciate your voice and your honesty. I read some of your earlier work and commented. Keep writing. I’ll keep reading. I am attending.