Being an African American Woman During Women’s History Month and An Active Women’s Rights Movement

Being an African American Woman During Women’s History Month and An Active Women’s Rights Movement

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March is Women’s History Month and everyone seems to be using this month to highlight protests that have been occurring more frequently since Donald Trump became President of the United States.

Last month, news broke that Uber had a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against them. March 8th was International Women’s Day and Amal Clooney rocking a baby bump, spoke out for Women’s Rights.

March 8th was, also, “A Day Without A Woman” which encouraged many women to skip work in an effort to disrupt the American economy.

I guess I have been doing my part then. I was laid off last year and refused to go back to a hostile, discriminatory work environment….so, I think I can say I have been participating in “A Day Without A Woman” for over a year now.

And, I guess that is as good a segue as any, to make my point.

Personally, I feel like all the hoopla about Women’s rights is a way to steal the spotlight from all the marching and fighting Black people have been doing in the last few years.

As an African American Woman, I don’t see all the fuss about Women’s rights when I’m still terrified that allowing my son to play outside means he might not come home alive. Read more here to learn why African American Women are leaving the Feminist Movement behind.

Where were all these women activists when Trayvon Martin’s mother cried for her fallen child? Why weren’t all these women speaking out when Sandra Bland was murdered while in police custody?

What were these women who missed work on March 8th doing when a young Black girl, Dejarria Becton, was manhandled by an overzealous police officer, Officer Eric Casebolt? This horrific incident occurred in Texas after a group of children were spending a typical summer day at the pool. Then, where were all these women so concerned with Women’s Rights when a young Black girl in South Carolina was tossed across the room because she didn’t want to obey the White officer’s orders? These incidents show the public disrespect and complete disregard that non-Black people feel over Black girls and Black women’s bodies.

And there was no public outrage from “feminists”.

Read this excellent article by Erika L. Sanchez that accurately explanins what it is like to be a non-White woman dealing with the “mainstream feminist” movement in the new millenium.

Where were these women then? Why was there nothing, but…silence?

So, now, to take our focus off of our Black Movement (that’s still making amazing headway, by the way)…we now see the Women’s Movement overtaking the media. And a new word has been popping up to disguise the reality that nothing has really changed for African Americans in America: intersectional.

Intersectionality is people coming together and uniting, even though, our struggles might differ. We will choose to still work together, but this is difficult to understand as a Black Woman in America. I feel it is rather confusing to attempt to fight my battles with a ton of other races of women. My battles as a Black Woman are life threatening to my family and I. My battles are dire on a day-to-day basis. Being “intersectional” does not benefit me because I am coming from a completely different playing field as non-Black women. Agreeing to intersectionality will water down a Black Movement that simply cannot afford to be watered down.

“Intersectional” in terms of people is a ridiculous word and what really needs to occur for unity to happen across all race is simple: reparations for African Americans.

Most people can’t even think of beginning to heal until the issue that happened is first repaired in some way. America owes African Americans reparations and I just don’t see Black people and White people ever truly working together in unity or from a place of equality until White Americans right their wrongs.

Was there fighting for women’s rights to this escalation and magnitude before “Black Lives Matter”? I don’t recall anyone fighting for my rights as a woman as I was being harassed and discriminated in the U.S. Army, then, later as a Federal Contractor. Where was the fight for Women’s rights then?

What has the Women’s Rights movement accomplished for African American Women?

The last time I checked, African American Women are still hired at lower rates compared to their White female counterparts. African American women are still being paid less compared to Caucasian and non-Black women.

I’m sorry. But, I’ll sit this Women’s “movement” out. I will only matter as a woman when being a Black person in this country is no longer a crime…

“Whiteness is already reigning in a World where being White is Supreme.”

So, now, in March 2017, the Women activists aka “feminists” have moved on to their next phase of fighting. Ironically, the Women’s march started with White women and ended with 3 Women “of Color” running the show. The explanation for this was that the White women didn’t know how to organize and mobilize because they had never had a reason to really protest before. Shouldn’t that be enough right there to explain why I can’t entertain the Women’s Rights movement when my being Black is way more detrimental to my way of life than being a woman?

National co-chairs of the march Carmen Perez, Linda Sarsour, and Tamika D. Mallory at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. Photo: Noam Galai/WireImage

The reality is that I, as a Black Woman, am not part of a race that is already winning. So, this means that my fight is not the same as anyone else’s fight and vice versa. We, as races in America, are at differing levels and stages in our struggles. My oppression doesn’t look like non-Black American oppression.

My worries when I lay my head down to sleep at night aren’t the same worries as non-Black women’s worries.

How can we march equally and together when my race always seems to be starting from many steps behind our non-Black female counterparts?

Do you follow and support the Women’s Movement of 2017? If so, what are you fighting for? If not, why are you choosing to sit this movement out? I would love to hear from you. Sound off below!

Samantha Dawson is a Web Designer, Graphics Designer, Freelance Writer, CEO of LocStar Revolution, NoVA 24/7 Notary Services and Web Designers and Scribes. In her free time, you can find Samantha reading biographies, watching documentaries on Netflix or spending quality time with her family. Samantha lives in Fairfax, VA with her fiancé and 3 sons.

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