Links of the Week 08/25/2012

1. Women of Colour-How do they flesh it out? [RubySlippers]

“I encourage everyone to be strong and independent whether male or female. But too often in the media (black and white) as well as within the black community there exists one descriptor of a black woman: strong. But I think this descriptor doesn’t make room for the complexities of being a woman. It does not allow for the fact that she has vulnerabilities and dependencies.  

I understand that this push towards being strong has its roots in a history of oppression, the current lack of a family structure within the black community that includes a father.  Facing the challenges of poverty, single parenthood, racism, and or sexism requires strength. But I often wonder if it is real ‘strength’ or a façade. That underneath the strong black woman there is someone who is hurt, afraid, struggling with their self-worth, wanting to be loved, wanting help.”

2. The “Where are you really from” Power Dynamic [Racialicious]

“Where do you come from?” is a common question that some Anglo-Australians use to interrogate the identities of people of colour the moment that they meet them. I am a brown man and have experienced this sort of behavior all my life. This is what I have to put up with every single day and I find it very irritating. Do you realise that the question “where do you come from?” immediately sets in place a structure that excludes people, rejecting them with a form of passive racism?

 The question itself automatically assumes that the person you are demanding this information from could not possibly be from “here.” They must be the “other,” from somewhere else.

3. Dear Pastor: From a black female congregant [WOG Magazine]

“I remember when we’d talk about “courtship” or dating in my church prior to marriage, I’d have a lot of questions. I’d think like most girls do: “Who might ask me?” “Is there anyone I could be interested in?” etc. But as a black female in a predominately white church I’d also think, “CAN anyone like me?” “WILL they pursue me even if they did?” “IF they did what would their peers or family think?” 

People are always asking me about my hair. It’s pretty much a constant conversation for the black female. I’m confident that my friends were not in any way trying to make me feel out of place or awkward. They just found it fascinating. I’ve been asked several times within the church if I would “burn” if I were out in the sun for long. It’s so funny to me. I answer “Yes, black people can burn but we do have a little bit more protection because of pigment but then again we also attract more sun which is why I have to layer on the sunscreen.” All this to say, young people especially, have a lot of questions and some have never interacted with another black person before. I met someone who had never spoken with a black person before meeting me at church. They were pleasantly surprised.”

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