Thought-provoking discussions! Click on image and article below:
Very interesting post and conversation. I encourage any comments to be made at original post (here).
As my feminist consciousness has developed the more I’ve become aware, both explicitly and implicitly, that there is a popular notion that feminism is un-African. Every time I write a post about feminism in an African context, I get at least one response about how feminism is this flawed, white supremacist ideology. The internet is rife with articles about this so I’m not going to pull up too many examples. Most argue along the lines that feminism is “diabolically anti-African anti-human neologism emerging out of the Eurocentric reactionary women’s movement in the 50’s”
What’s problematic about these arguments is not that people have a different opinion, as is their right, but that these critics don’t even bother to understand what African feminism is about before attacking it. Yes, there is global feminist consensus, but it is also important for African feminists to shape our own ideological home for African feminism through which we can view African women’s issues. In fact, this is very much an ongoing process and like all political work, it is nuanced. To very briefly summarize, some African feminists thinkers and activists are liberal, post-modern, eco, socialist feminists etc and some adopt a more radical approach to challenge the legitimacy of patriarchy. African feminists are concerned with the domestic imbalance and gender roles, but also about so called ‘bread and butter’ issues like poverty reduction, violence prevention and health and reproductive rights which affets African women worse than men. African feminism is just as much about the inter-connectedness of slavery, colonialism, racism and so on and how these historic realities have caused women’s oppression.
Yes, the term ‘feminism’ does not have African roots, rather, it came to the continent largely due to the African-American feminist movement. However, the concept itself is not one that western feminists exported to African women. Africa has some of the oldest civilizations and so it also has some of the oldest patriarchies. And African women have always found ways of resisting patriarchy through manipulating popular ideas of motherhood, or religion, or labour. The argument that feminism is un-African is also flawed in its romantic view of pre-colonial Africa. Even if African societies were egalitarian, which wasn’t always the case at all, most African societies, have now imported a largely western gender order, one that is patriarchal.
I find it sad that an African woman can debate Greek democracy in Accra or Freudian psychoanalysis in Harare or US capitalism in Lagos and be qualified as political, not western. But let us even mention women’s issues and someone will be quick to accuse you of neglecting our African past and being brainwashed by western values. The reality is African politics is not gender neutral and pretending that it is despite all the suffering that gender inequality causes is much more ‘un-African’ than what any one person chooses to affiliate with.
We would like to thank everyone who participated in blogging to protect women and their families from rape. Special acknowledgements to What About Our Daughters and African American Political Pundit. The link below will take you to the submissions.
(crossposted at Charcoal Ink with a few edits)
Just checked on Bossip and there is some ridiculous quote he told Allhiphop, stating:
AllHipHop.com: Now, you call yourself the “King of All White Girls.” Elaborate on that for me.
“Just the “King of the White Girls.” I ain’t self proclaimed but I run with it. [Laughs] There was a stage in my life where I went crazy with dating white women. I have nothing against black women, but they’re raised differently.White women are raised to respect and serve their men. Black women are taught to question [their men]. Black women look at submission as being weak. White women look at submission as being a woman. And anyone who has a problem with this statement is ignorant . Just look at the divine order; it goes man, woman, child.”
Besides his comment smacking of racist overtones towards white women, the fact that he generalises black girls in the mix just is infuriating! Look at the messages of this quote: submission is good, independence is bad. Am I the only one who thinks he is trying to be like one of the animals in the film version of animal farm by changing the ‘rules’? I could swear all day but I will restrain myself. What do you think? Is this funny or does it highlight an essential problem in gender communication of black men and women ?
The worst part of the interview is the way he is just trying to almost put black women down by comparing them to the white women he has gone out with. Does he think because he has ”made” it that he is automatically inclined to chat bare noise like that? His words hint to confusion for our black people globally: do people *really* think like this?
The rest of the interview is here and interestingly, the man has a sister. I wonder what she thinks of the comments. I know what I think.
Just to stress one more time: Polow Da Don, you are a class A fool.
Four African American lesbian women from Newark, New Jersey were sentenced this past June 14th to excessively long prison terms in New York for the crime of defending themselves against homophobic harassment and violence. These young sistas were railroaded by both a dismissively misogynist judge and by the reactionary, sensationalist media. As Imani Henry writes in Workers World:
Deemed a so-called “hate crime” against a straight man, every possible racist, anti-woman, anti-LGBT and anti-youth tactic was used by the entire state apparatus and media. Everything from the fact that they lived outside of New York, in the working-class majority Black city of Newark, N.J., to their gender expressions and body structures were twisted and dehumanized in the public eye and to the jury.
According to court observers, [presiding judge Edward J.] McLaughlin stated throughout the trial that he had no sympathy for these women. The jury, although they were all women, were all white. All witnesses for the district attorney were white men, except for one Black male who had several felony charges.
Court observers report that the defense attorneys had to put enormous effort into simply convincing the jury that they were “average women” who had planned to just hang out together that night. Some jurists asked why they were in the Village if they were from New Jersey. The DA brought up whether they could afford to hang out there—raising the issue of who has the right to be there in the first place.
It’s gonna take the struggle of people around the country to get these young women out of prison. Here’s information from the organization FIERCE! on how we all can help.
- Pro-bono legal support: Most if not all of the women need new lawyers for the appeal. Finding new counsel is the #1 priority for support. All leads and contacts welcome.
- Media contacts and writers: Journalists to report, community members to write opeds, and media-savvy people to advise the families about working with media.
- Pen pals: Prison is profoundly isolating, as well as boring. Express your solidarity and prayers for the women’s strength.
- Money: Some of the families have depleted their life savings paying legal fees. Also imagine: collect calls from prison, transportation costs upstate for prison visits, paying for prison commissary. Direct financial contributions (even $10, $20, $30) are needed, along with people to organize fundraisers.
- Diverse organizational support: Building a public campaign requires support from all
corners. If you think the sentences these women are receiving are too harsh, there is a place for your support.
NEXT COMMUNITY MEETING:
Tuesday, July 10th at 6:30pm at the new office of FIERCE
located at 147 West 24th Street, 6th Floor
(between 6th & 7th Ave. – 1/F/C/E to 23rd Street)
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
For more information about how to get involved, please contact:
Bran Fenner [email@example.com], Jessica Robertson [firstname.lastname@example.org], or
Jessica Stern [email@example.com].
Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi house arrest was quietly extended for another year by the military dictatorship of Myanmar, a southeast asian country formerly known as Burma. It was “quiet” in the sense that there was little to no media coverage of this event. In the early 90’s I remember hearing about Suu Kyi’s ordeal, hunger strikes and the violent crackdown on her supporters by the military regime, but lately nothing. I would bet that most people today, especially in the west, have never heard of her continued struggle and sacrifice for democracy.
Born in 1945, Aung San Suu Kyi was first imprisoned by the military (that is really what her house arrest is) in 1989 after entering politics and forming the political party National Leauge for Democracy. Although banned from campaigning, in a 1990 general election her party won 82% of the parlimentary seats, however the military junta refused to recognize the results. She was released in 1995 and placed under house arrest again in 2000. Suu Kyi was released in 2002, but was again imprisoned (house arrest) in 2003 until now. In 1991 while imprisoned, she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for her non-violent struggle against the military dictatorship of Myanmar.
Although the U.S. and European Union have recently renewed sanctions against the military regime, they have little effect as Russia, India and (yes…. you guessed it), China have oil, gas, pipeline and military weapons development deals in the works with the dictatorship. In January of this year, both Russia and China vetoed an American proposed censure of the regime in the U.N. Security Council.
The regime has stated that they would gladly release Suu Kyi if she promises to leave the country. She refuses to leave…. to abandon her people and so Aung San Suu Kyi continues to be imprisoned for her beliefs. Her 1990 “Freedom from Fear” speech is awe inspiring.
Let’s remember this forgotten heroine and sign any petitions that come your way which advocates for her release.
One of my favorite bloggers is my “Circle” sister Aulelia. On her blog page, Charcoal Ink, she consistently drops thought provoking posts on sensitive issues. Her latest post is on abortion: The “A” Question: What Does Abortion Mean? Now although I don’t totally agree with her opinions on this issue, she asks some very hard hitting questions: “One controversial question is do men have a say when it comes to abortion? What would happen if a woman wanted to have an abortion and her boyfriend did not want her to? It is a grey area however I am adamant that her choice in this case overrules his because he cannot force her to go through with it…or can he?”
I have contemplated doing a series of posts here dealing with what I refer to as Life Issues, focusing on discussing issues relating to abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia, marriage, personal responsibility and accountability, corporal punishment of children etc. Aulelia’s post got me thinking on the question of when does life begin? This is the issue that intrigues me most on the question of abortion. And depending on one’s answer to this, what impact or influence… if any… does it have on one’s opinion on this subject?
My own belief is that life begins at conception. My comment on Aulelia’s post in this regard was this:
My wife and I are expecting our first child. We have attended 2 ultrasounds and seen the development of our unborn child. We heard it’s heart beat. We saw the images of it’s heart, lungs, brain, stomach, legs, arms and cranium. During the second ultrasound, we saw the baby awake, stretch and drink ambiotic fluid for breakfast. I feel it move in my wife’s stomach and when I press against it, it presses back. How do you dehumanize a living unborn human being? Refer to it as a “fetus” or “a collection of cells”.
It is my belief that there is no more helpless human being than an unborn child. However, during any discussion/debate on abortion, very rarely does the “right to life” issue for the unborn child enters the discourse. The unborn child doesn’t have it’s own voice to advocate for it’s position on whether it wants to live or die. The discussion/debate usually centers around the rights of the woman, or father, or the impact of the opinions/values of society regarding abortion.
I am interested in what you all think on this issue.