Sexism in the Ferguson Protest "Movement" - Surprise!

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. 


TALES OF A FREE BLACK WOMAN: Toni Morrison Can House Her Papers Where SHE Wants To

Highly entitled Black people are complaining about Toni Morrison leaving her papers to Princeton University. They feel entitled to tell this woman what she can do with HER work. Work they didn't create. Work many people supported. Yes, Toni Morrison graduated from Howard, but she has a lengthy professional relationship with Princeton.  We could debate which school is fit to house her papers, but that's irrelevant.

The fact that you feel entitled to try to regulate the choices that this woman can make with her life's work is indicative of a much larger problem - We feel entitled to Black women's bodies, minds, images, blood, sweat tears, time, talent and treasure--- JUST BECAUSE! If you want something from Black women, you should have to EARN IT! Make an argument for it.

We don't know if any HBCUs offered to take her papers. We don't know what Princeton offered her. We don't know what resources Princeton is going to bring to bear.  Did Howard want the papers? Did Howard present an offer? Other than graduating from Howard, what is her current connection?

The King Papers are at Stanford by the way. Langton Hughes' papers are at Yale.  I guess we should thank Marc Lamont Hill for letting ONE Black women participate in the conversation with FOUR Black men talking about Toni Morrison.

And can we stop it with the "open letters"?

While I made life long and treasured friends in undergrad and grad school, I don't feel any deep connection to the institutions I attended. I have far more of a connection to the local colleges and universities where I take continuing education classes. Just because she went to an HBCU doesn't mean she had an amazing experience that trumps her connections to Princeton.


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