Dred Feminist Rant #14 – November 6, 2018
From the Politics of Inclusion to the Politics of Ownership
For the past 40+ years, I’ve been part of a legion of Black feminists demanding that our voices and perspectives be included in the women’s movement. This was a worthy goal that many of my foremothers also took on and I’m proud to have been a strong link in that chain of freedom.
But we’re at a different time now. Black women have revealed the soul of America in today’s election, just as we’ve done countless times before. This is a transitional moment in human history because for us it’s not about inclusion, but ownership of the definition of what it means to be fully human with dignity – to be the guiding Northern Light for those blinded by their quest for money and power, and for those in resistance who muddle along merely hoping for change. We offer our visions “into the firmament of eternal truth.” We own this political moment and our time is now!
I could list the countless ways Black feminists have rocked the world, or like Sojourner Truth predicted, set it right side up, with Ain’t I a Woman? Anna Julia Cooper and When and Where I Enter. Ida B. Wells and Lynching. Mary McLeod Bethune and Education. Rosa Parks and Civil Rights. Angela Davis and Black Liberation. Ella Baker and Organizing. Fannie Lou Hamer and Voting. Barbara Smith, the Combahee River Collective and Identity Politics. Black Women’s Agenda and Women of Color. Audre Lorde and the Master’s Tools. Octavia Butler and AfroFuturism. Mechelle Vinson and Sexual Harassment. Dessie Woods and Self-Defense. Patricia Hill Collins and the Matrix of Oppression. Kimberlé Crenshaw and Intersectionality. Toni Bond and Reproductive Justice. Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi and Black Lives Matter. Marissa Alexander and Stand Your Ground. Tarana Burke and #MeToo.
I could go on and my deepest apologies to others who should be on this list I’ve omitted for the sake of brevity. This is just a sample of the ways our multi-generational Black Girl Magic has transformed society, while still being treated as the mules of the world, to also bring in Zora Neale Hurston. Our philosophies built on our embodied wisdoms are our precious gift to humanity which we have joyfully shared without thanks from many who benefit and profit from our generosity. We may never be acknowledged as the philosophers we have always been because we are not dead white men. But who cares, because we know who we are and what we bring to the struggle.
We are no longer Dickens’ Oliver holding out our hands begging for more, but proclaiming our indifference to whether white America recognizes our insights and power. This also goes for the political mess called the Democratic Party that always calls on us a beat too late to keep up with our radical rhythms of revolution against white supremacy.
I will be writing more on this topic as soon as I can, since I’m in the final throes of my next book, Calling In the Calling Out Culture, trying to offer a pathway for building our power to defeat neo-fascism by aligning our desires for radical change by challenging cruel behaviors in the human rights movement.
These Dred Feminist Rants are one way I let off steam and plant seeds for discussions when my heart is too full to keep my dreams inside. Aché!