I posted this over on the WAOD Facebook Fan Page and thought this was blog-worthy.
Matt Pearce of the The LA Times wrote a story about Black women"finding their voice" in the Ferguson protest "movement." Apparently, sexism is strong in the Ferguson protest "movement." Surprise! Everything old is new again. Black women are being shouted down and excluded at meetings- meanwhile many of the protests are comprised of a majority of women.
"When she tried to answer students’ questions about the protests that followed the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, the men with her interrupted and answered instead. When she tried to tell her story, the men told theirs instead.
It was about three weeks after Ferguson erupted in unrest last summer and Elzie, another female activist, and six men from the fledgling protest movement were speaking to a room full of Washington University students in St. Louis. Except only the men were talking." Los Angeles Times
This isn't anything new. Black women were all up under and through the Civil Rights movement. They face the same water hoses, dogs and billy clubs. Fannie Lou Hamer was beaten by police just like men, but oh when it came time to take the stage at the March on Washington, the men refused except to let us sing a song and one speech from Josephine Baker.
Black women need to accept the fact that "showing up" will not be acknowledged by traditional Black institutions or their digital age social media driven spinoffs.
So if you want to "show up," fine, just don't expect Black male leaders to want to cede ground to you.
The one highlight of piece was that two of the women complaining went on to get appointed by the governor to the Ferguson Commission - something many of the Black male protesters couldn't and wouldn't do. So in other words, they claimed a completely different kind of power - that is likely to last longer than the kind that dwindles when mainstream media stops being interested.
Black women need to build their own power bases. If they choose to use them to advocate for more than Black women, fine. But this episode has once again proven that traditional Black orgs and their offspring haven't improved their record on sexism and misogyny.
For background on the March on Washington's sexism, read about Black women being excluded from both the March on Wasington and the 50th Anniversary last year.
And yes, I'm putting the word "movement" in quotes - the Civil Rights Movement was at least 50 years old by the time the March on Washington rolled around. 4 months of mentions on Twitter and cable television does not a "movement" make.