Listen to this story
Yesterday, I went to Goodwill and went straight to the books section. I found some gems to put on my wall unit/bookshelf that I built at the end of last year. I wrote built—not took out of a box and put together—but built, which included the design, measurement, sawing, painting, etc. It is organized by genre. Reference books, foreign languages, religious texts and Toni Morrison all have their own section. There is also a feminist section and a Black lit section. Sometimes I find myself confused about where to put certain books that belong in both categories.
Sometimes I find myself having to choose between my Blackness and my womanhood, which is never a choice that I can make.
My struggle as a Black person is just as important and intrinsic to my identity as my struggle as a woman is, and so often, I feel that I am made to fracture myself in order for others to understand me. Black History Month is so absolutely important, but I think many Black men don’t understand how important Women’s History Month is as well because many of their oppressors are, in fact, white women, forgetting that many other marginalized groups have women as well. The strides that have come in womanhood can easily be paralleled to those in Civil Rights, and in fact, the same affirmative action that many white people are attempting to dismantle is the same affirmative action whose greatest beneficiaries have been white women.
We often hear the rhetoric that couples don’t stay together like our grandparents, but we also forget that grandma did not have a bank account and grandpa had another family.
While Black women have always worked outside of the home, the opportunities that were afforded us were recent. Women’s education as a whole was reduced to educating others and, at best, pursuing the arts because it was once a school of thought that it was not ladylike for women to receive higher education, especially in more complicated subjects, it was not like jobs were lining up to hire women. Coincidentally, we, the female descendants of people who were punished for learning to read, still hear those talking points about degrees not keeping us warm at night. I don’t know, I always thought the more/higher the degree, the warmer the house is.
Black men often refuse to see the marginalization of women as a whole simply because some women are white. They only see that their oppressor is complaining, and so none of the complaints are valid to them, which is understandable. But their oppressor isn’t the only one saying the same thing. Where white women have a blind spot for their racism, Black men have a blind spot for their misogyny and both suffocate Black women.
There is nothing more infuriating than hearing that I was tricked by white women into feminism as if I needed someone else’s help pointing out where I am injured. More importantly, that is just as dumb and insulting as white people saying to Black people that they should get off the Democrat Plantation. If I were to commit a crime, there would be no doubt that my race would be used as a reason why I committed a crime. If I were upset at being wronged, there is no doubt my gender would be used as the reason that I am upset. There is very little wiggle room on the tightrope.
Women’s History Month, just like Black History Month, celebrates the achievements of a once yet still very much marginalized group of individuals overcoming obstacles and making great strides despite the stereotypes and barriers used to hold them back.
Black history is important. Women’s history is important and as a Black woman, I am going to have two months of celebrating the achievements of people who are marginalized like me and still manage to achieve like me.