If You’re A Straight Black Woman, Delete The Following Term From Your Vocabulary: “Heteronormative”

Welcome to the third installment of an ongoing series of You Betta Recognize posts.

THOUGHT-TERMINATING CLICHES

During the course of several recent conversations, including those about the No Wedding, No Womb campaign, I’ve heard (straight) Black women use the jargon term “heteronormative.” As someone who has supported equal justice for gays and lesbians, I wondered why I’ve recently been uneasy about their use of this term. Since it’s impossible to talk about these matters without listing one’s “I support justice for gays and lesbians” street cred, here are some links to posts where I’ve denounced African-Americans’ mass bigotry against gays and lesbians. Here. Here. I also mention this fake-religious based bigotry against gays and lesbians on page 44 of the book.

If you’ve read my writing over time, you will also see that I don’t give anybody a blank check. On occasion, I have also pointed out some destructive things that some gays and lesbians are doing. Furthermore, I always keep my interests and those of people who are most like me foremost in mind. As I mentioned during The Art of Stealth, Part 3: Sidestep African-American Guard Dogs By Staying Focused On Self-Interests,

A QUICK GUIDE TO IDENTIFYING GUARD DOG BEHAVIOR

The easiest way to identify guard dog behavior is to consider the question: “Is this person’s advocacy on behalf of self, and people who are most like self? Or is it on behalf of a group of people other than self?” “Self” is measured by closeness to, or distance from, one’s own identity. For example, in my case, “self” is African-American women and girls. Latinos (of any race) are not part of “self.” Continental Africans are not part of “self.” Other non-African-American Blacks are not part of “self.” Non-African-American Muslims are not part of “self.” In the context of the conversation that I’ll use later on as an example of guard dog behavior, “self” means African-American Muslims.

Now, I will on occasion support the interests of specific individuals other than self. But I only do that for the specific, individual “others” who have invested in me. My support does NOT extend to these other people’s entire ethnic groups, tribes, or nations! And even with that, I won’t support X for individual helpful others if doing so would damage one of my own ethnic group’s core interests. I’m not going to cut my own people’s throat to be in solidarity with others, including those specific others who have helped me. The same way they don’t cut their own people’s throat to be in solidarity with anybody else.

In this context, the people most like me are straight, African-American women and girls. Prioritizing my own interests and those of people most like me also means that I have criticized certain non-mainstream choices that I feel damage the interests of African-American women and girls in general. Specifically, choices that serve to “other” African-American women and girls.

At first I wondered if my growing unease with straight Black women’s use of the term “heteronormative” was about potential guard-dogging behavior. Then I realized their use of this terms isn’t quite about guard-dogging; it’s about something else. It’s about using the term “heteronormative” as a thought-terminating cliche. It’s also about naive straight Black women confusing gays’ and lesbians’ contexts with their own contexts. It’s so hard for so many African-American women to focus on their own interests. When I started this blog, I knew this would be a recurring theme,

Lifestyle optimization requires you to examine ideas from the vantage point of your own particular context and circumstances. This one statement will probably be a recurring theme in the blog posts here. It’s impossible to have an optimal lifestyle when you make critical life decisions based on other people’s circumstances. Listening to other people whose circumstances or interests are out of alignment with yours will throw your life into chaos and ruin.

This is the primary reason so many African-American women are living in misery and hardship. They’re programmed to think about other people’s (read: Black men’s, and the already-dead Black community’s) circumstances and interests, instead of their own. Or they’re taking positions that only make sense in the context of nonblack women’s collective life circumstances.

I submit to you that when most straight Black women use the term “heteronormative,” they have totally lost sight of their own circumstances and interests. Also, this term and some other terms like “slut shaming” (which is another term that African-American women need to stop using, but we’ll talk about that on another day) are the secular, self-described “progressive” equivalents of the following Christian thought-stopping cliches:

“Your just being judgmental. Judge NOT least you be judged. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Can’t we all just get along. Touch not the Lords anointed. Your causing division in the body of Christ. You don’t believe in the promises of God. You don’t believe in Miracles. That is not very Christian of you. Your putting God in a box. You not a very good Christian. Your not even really a Christian. What about unity. Didn’t Christ come to bring unity. You have a Jezebel Spirit. Your hindering the works of God. You don’t believe in faith. We really like what your doing BUT. Your cause is Noble BUT. Your heaping judgment upon your head by judging. You don’t believe in prosperity. Your just jealous because you have not gotten your healing and financial blessings. God told me to tell you….”

I realized that many straight African-American women are using the term “heteronormative” as a thought-stopping cliche to silence any suggestion that more (heterosexual) African-American women should get their childbearing choices back in sync with time-tested human norms. Specifically, the time-tested human norm of “no wedding, no womb.” Nobody except African-Americans is confused about what thousands of years of human experience have shown. As I said during Remove Grasshoppers From Your Social Networks,

DERANGED GRASSHOPPER BELIEFS

As children, most of us read the fable of The Grasshopper And The Ant. For those who were resistant to believing this, the bizarre, indignant “grasshopper” responses to the recent No Wedding, No Womb initiative confirmed that the African-Americans collective is mostly composed of grasshoppers. Grasshoppers who act and live as if they:

  • Don’t understand that out of wedlock births (oow) and the single parenting that is the logical, predictable result of oow, has engulfed the African-American collective in destructive flames.
  • Don’t understand that sex is the leading cause of pregnancy,far ahead of in vitro fertilization and immaculate conception.
  • Don’t understand that several millennia of human experience have shown that human pair-bonding (also known as marriage), and the extended family obligations created by marriage, represent the best human practice for child-rearing.
  • Don’t understand that “programs” cannot replace family.
  • Don’t understand that the last few decades of “programs” have not worked; even in the context of a functioning economy. The economy is no longer functioning.
  • Don’t understand that the federal and state governments don’t have the money to pay for current “programs.” They certainly don’t have the money for additional “programs.” Nor is there any desire on the part of the rest of the US population to subsidize African-Americans’ dysfunction with additional programs to accommodate our mass, self-destructive refusal to form families.
  • Don’t understand that there’s already a time-tested, widely-known, and commonly-practiced human “program” that provides “support systems” for women and their children. It’s called marriage and (legitimate) family.
  • Don’t understand that, after 40+ years of our whining, other Americans are not going to rearrange their society to accommodate African-Americans’ refusal to form families. This restructuring won’t happen now, or any time in the foreseeable future. Other people will simply continue to leave us behind. To die in our foolishness.

Incidentally, I could discuss the thought-stopping uses of Arabic words like “shirk” and “bid’ah” among Sunni Muslims (I’m a Sunni Muslimah), but most of the audience wouldn’t recognize these words or their context.

SOME THINGS THAT PROGRESSIVE, STRAIGHT AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN NEED TO CONSIDER AS THEY BLINDLY FOLLOW WHITE GAY MALE LEADERSHIP’S PARTY LINE

Real life is filled with nuances and shades of gray. It’s possible for people to be oppressed and oppressors at the same time. More straight, progressive African-American women would do well to remember this. Especially when it comes to blindly repeating dogma marketed by the White gay men who generally control the major GLBT organizations in the United States.

MANY WHITE GAYS SCAPEGOATED STRAIGHT BLACKS FOR THE PASSAGE OF PROPOSITION 8

Considering the low percentage of Blacks who are part of the voting public in California, I found it amazing that so many White gays concluded that Black voters were responsible for the passage of Proposition 8. But then again, there’s nothing surprising about people choosing weak targets for venting their anger. See this post by a Black lesbian blogger named Pam Spaulding about this scapegoating. Also see this post, by another Black lesbian blogger named Jasmyne Cannick for a discussion of how mostly White GLBT activists tried to set the agenda for local Black lesbians and gays, and overall failed to reach out to Black voters during that election.

WHITE GAYS IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY ENGAGED IN HATE CRIMES AGAINST BLACKS IN THE AFTERMATH OF PROPOSITION 8

In the Pam Spaulding post linked above she quotes another blogger who mentioned,

A number of Rod 2.0 and Jasmyne Cannick readers report being subjected to taunts, threats and racist abuse at last night’s marriage equality rally in Los Angeles.

Geoffrey, a student at UCLA and regular Rod 2.0 reader, joined the massive protest outside the Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Westwood. Geoffrey was called the n-word at least twice.

It was like being at a klan rally except the klansmen were wearing Abercrombie polos and Birkenstocks. YOU NIGGER, one man shouted at men. If your people want to call me a FAGGOT, I will call you a nigger. Someone else said same thing to me on the next block near the temple…me and my friend were walking, he is also gay but Korean, and a young WeHo clone said after last night the niggers better not come to West Hollywood if they knew what was BEST for them.

Los Angeles resident and Rod 2.0 reader A. Ronald says he and his boyfriend, who are both black, were carrying NO ON PROP 8 signs and still subjected to racial abuse.

The following is from Ms. Cannick’s November 2009 post, A White Gays Guide on How to Deal with the Black Community for Dummies: Chapter 12- What About the Hate Crimes That Gays Committed on Blacks Last November?,

I have no doubt that gays continue to be the victims of hate crimes not only in L.A. County but across the country and world, especially Black gays.

But here in L.A. County, last November there were quite a few gays who were committing the hate crimes—against Black people who were both heterosexual and gay who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Angry because of the passage of Prop 8 and looking to blame someone, many gays turned their anger towards Blacks and it didn’t matter if you were gay or not all that mattered during that chaotic time was that you were Black. Numerous accounts of being called Nigga, people being accosted in their cars, etc. were reported by Black people who like I said, found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time (i.e. Westwood, West Hollywood).

So for me to take any report seriously from the L.A. County Human Relations Commission regarding hate crimes has to explicitly detail that part of the situation because if not, then once again it appears as if gays are the poor victims of hate crimes when in fact, the street goes both ways and when upset gays know how to spew a lot of hate of their own onto others.

L.A.’s Black leadership needs to jump on that and make certain that’s reflected in the report because I can guarantee you that if a Black committed a hate crime against a gay person–it’s in the report.

And you know know this…

Oh and for my new readers over at Young’s Communications, just in case you’re confused or are getting ready to label me a homophobe in addition to a racist, check yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self–I’m a lesbian–a Black lesbian. I know…now go run and tell that.

STOP BLINDLY USING POLITICIZED JARGON; AND EXAMINE MATTERS ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS

I’m compiling a list of secular, progressive jargon that I believe African-American women need to stop saying. Here’s why: I’m beginning to think that Black women should declare a moratorium on the use of any political or politicized terminology. Because among Black folks, all of this terminology functions as thought-stoppers. [I’ll note that a similar thought-terminating dynamic exists among “conservative” and “religious” Black women.]

I think that more of us (myself included) need to abandon all of these various political ideologies and their jargons, and examine issues on a practical, case-by-case basis.

ANTI-GAY AND ANTI-LESBIAN BIGOTS: STAY OUT OF THIS CONVERSATION

To all the anti-gay, anti-lesbian bigots who might be reading: STAY OUT of this conversation. Don’t think that you’ll be able to fly under the radar of the good-faith questions and criticism being raised by this post. On the one hand, gays and lesbians aren’t “sacred cows” who are beyond criticism or questions. But that’s not the same thing as bigotry. I won’t publish any comment that I feel constitutes bigotry against gays and lesbians.

ADDENDUM

Here’s my point: For African-American women to learn how to ask the questions, “What’s in it for me to support X? How does X pertain to MY interests?” Now, I’ll play along as long as supporting generalized X isn’t cutting my own throat or my own group’s throat. But I’m not going to cut my own throat to be in solidarity with anybody. Nobody else does that for African-Americans. And I don’t blame them, because that’s too much to ask.

For an example from a different context, nobody has been able to explain to me how using the terminology “undocumented workers” brings any benefit whatsoever to African-Americans. Instead of referring to non-citizens who illegally enter and remain in this country as “illegal aliens.” Now, I see why Latinos want everybody to use that terminology. It benefits them because they’re the main ones who are entering this country illegally. And many of them don’t want this country to safeguard its borders or enforce its immigration laws. But since the term “undocumented workers” does nothing to benefit me or mine, I won’t use that term.

Well, I believe similar dynamics apply to this “heteronormative” terminology. This type of terminology serves the interests of GLBT people. (By pretending that heterosexuality is somehow not the majority, “default setting” for most humans. Similar to how right-handedness and brown eyes are the majority “default settings” for most humans.) But this type of terminology brings NO benefit to straight African-American women. Straight African-American women can’t afford to unnecessarily align ourselves with deviation from the mainstream. We’re already being stigmatized, and stigmatizing ourselves, as being deviant in a multiplicity of ways. For just one horrid example, think about the movie Precious. This type of talk is a luxury item that we can’t afford.

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68 Responses to “If You’re A Straight Black Woman, Delete The Following Term From Your Vocabulary: “Heteronormative””

  1. Rhonda says:

    Another word to eliminate, I think, is cisgendered.

    Many, many months ago, I got into an on-line debate, which turned into a fight, whereupon I was ganged up on by a group of about five Political Correctness Agent commenters, for not caring to use or acknowledge that word.

  2. Rhonda,

    You said, “Another word to eliminate, I think, is cisgendered.”

    Yeah, that’s on the list that I’m collecting.

    You said, “Many, many months ago, I got into an on-line debate, which turned into a fight, whereupon I was ganged up on by a group of about five Political Correctness Agent commenters, for not caring to use or acknowledge that word.”

    I’m not surprised. And before too many people’s heads explode with rage, let me repeat the point of this post:

    I’m perfectly fine with GLBT people talking that “heteronormative” talk—it serves their interests to do so. My point is that the way many straight AA women are using that term does NOT support these straight BW’s interests. That’s a problem. Because unlike other identity groups, AA women don’t have organized, effective champions or protectors.

    This situation is very similar to WW calling themselves complaining about the institution of marriage. WW can afford to talk that stuff because the bulk of them are reaping the many benefits of marriage! AA women need to learn how to align their thoughts, vocabulary and actions with their own interests. Instead of always aligning them with other people’s interests.

    I’ll also note how so many BW are enraged about the vocabulary that many BWE bloggers have developed as shorthand to describe BW’s circumstances. Many of the same BW who will demand that you use terms like “heteronormative, slut-shaming, cis-gendered” will want to chop your head off if you use the acronym “DBRBM.” That’s crazy and self-defeating.

    Just today I came across the mewlings one of my critics who is enraged because I don’t have divided loyalties. It angers this chick that my loyalties are with AA women and girls. She chooses to characterize me prioritizing myself and other people who are most like me (AA women and girls) as “hatred.” It’s interesting. It’s okay when other people put themselves and people most like themselves FIRST and FOREMOST. Nobody ever questions that. But how dare I—as an AA woman—be uppity enough to do the same for AA women and girls?

    And the ants went on with their work!
    {I’m still chuckling about Aesop’s fable :-)}

    • Tee says:

      Khadija:

      “Just today I came across the mewlings one of my critics who is enraged because I don’t have divided loyalties. It angers this chick that my loyalties are with AA women and girls. She chooses to characterize me prioritizing myself and other people who are most like me (AA women and girls) as “hatred.” It’s interesting. It’s okay when other people put themselves and people most like themselves FIRST and FOREMOST. Nobody ever questions that. But how dare I—as an AA woman—be uppity enough to do the same for AA women and girls?”

      I sense that many AA women are waking up, and are on their way to their rightful place.

      Others know this too.

      Non-AA women, and the people who support them (including grasshoppers) know that to give priority to someone who is like oneself is natural and pure. That is why they do it, and it’s why they are threatened by the concept.

      Just recently I was “put in my place” because I suggested that AAs should stop saying “Blacks and Hispanics…” because the only time Hispanics mention the two groups together, it’s usually something negative like Diabetes. Black people really get on my nerves with this Big-Mama -loves-you-no -matter -what stance.

      Peace,

      Tee

      • kandika says:

        I don’t care if hispanics don’t mention us with them (especially when they pop into their second language)but blacks and hispanics are usually the ones with children in ROTTEN SCHOOLS!! yes, we’re the SAME on that front

        • Kandika/Calpurnia,

          No, we’re NOT the same on the public education front. In Chicago, Latinos will go to great lengths to NOT have their children attend the same schools that AA children attend.

          Not that I necessarily blame them for this, given the behaviors of many of the AA children who attend public schools. But the disruptive behavior factor isn’t the only or even primary thing motivating these Latino parents.

          The bottom line is that many of them are straight-up RACISTS who hate AAs. This includes the Black Latinos among the local Puerto Rican population. [Many of the men from this group keep their heads shaved bald like Vin Diesel so nobody can see that they have African-descent hair.]

          And the ants went on with their work!

          • calpurnia says:

            I’m from CA, not Chicago and that is what i see here!! (p.s. I thought Vin Diesel was Half Italian like Prince and Alisha Keys)

          • Kandika/Calpurnia,

            The Negro slave called Prince has 2 Black parents. I recall being quite annoyed at the time the movie “Purple Rain” came out because that’s when the Negro slave called Prince started playing coy about his parents’ race. He started claiming that the movie was autobiographical at the time. Meanwhile, I recall reading some newspaper articles at the time that mentioned where the movie diverged from his actual biography. One point of divergence was the fact that the Negro slave called Prince has 2 Black parents.

            Even though the Prince fraud predates the Obama-ssiah, I see more of this happening in the future as more folks try to become “Cablinasian,” “triracial,” “multicultural” and such. It reminds me of the Negro slave politician Harold Ford who falsely claimed that his grandmother was White when he was running for the Senate in Tennessee. This Negro slave politician correctly understood that part of the Obama-ssiah’s appeal to non-Blacks is that he’s half non-Black. I praise God that the Negro slave politician Harold Ford lost that election. The damage he would do is beyond calculation.

            Harold Ford never missed an opportunity to score political points by throwing black people under the bus. On election day in 2006, Ford made a last minute campaign swing to the Little Rebel Club, wearing a hunting cap a la Elmer Fudd, hugging rednecks and worshipping an enormous Confederate flag. He was the precursor to the smarter and savvier Barack Obama, whose every utterance and action was excused by black voters because his election was seen as being more important than the well being of an entire race of people.

            So eager was Ford to impress the Little Rebel’s of his home state that he even lied about the race of his own grand mother, claiming that an obviously black woman was white. Ford’s shameful canard was discovered when he was exposed by his aunt, Barbara Ford Branch, who couldn’t stomach the lie being told about her mother. “I will not let them try to make my mother something she wasn’t.” Unfortunately, Ms. Ford-Branch was the only honest member of her family. The rest of the Ford clan, including her brother, former congressman Harold Ford Sr., went along with a falsehood for the sake of junior’s political career.
            Ford’s defeat in the 2006 Senate race was good news for black politics and for the Democratic party. There are already too many Democrats in name only who cannot be trusted to support the most fundamental policies that were traditionally the mainstay of the party.

            http://www.blackagendareport.com/?q=content/freedom-rider-harold-ford-returns

            And the ants went on with their work!

  3. squarlymade says:

    YES,YES,YES I really know you are on to something with these post!
    I have stopped uplifting bm in my mind (checking for them, making eye contact) permanently. Now I will stop using words from ‘other’ groups that do not pertain to my interest. One fraise is ‘keeping legs closed’. This is so ridicules when people try to make it seem as if it’s the enjoyment and pleasure of sex by black women, that is the problem.

  4. Squarlymade,

    You said, “Now I will stop using words from ‘other’ groups that do not pertain to my interest.”

    That’s my whole point—for AA women to learn how to ask the questions, “What’s in it for me to support X? How does X pertain to MY interests?” Now, I’ll play along as long as supporting generalized X isn’t cutting my own/my own group’s throat. But I’m NOT going to cut my own throat to be in solidarity with anybody. Nobody else does that for AAs. And I don’t blame them, because that’s too much to ask.

    For example, nobody has been able to explain to me how using the terminology “undocumented workers” brings any benefit whatsoever to AAs. Instead of referring to non-citizens who illegally enter and remain in this country as “illegal aliens.”

    Now, I see why Latinos want everybody to use that terminology—it benefits them because they’re the main ones who are entering this country illegally. And many of them don’t want this country to safeguard its borders or enforce its immigration laws. But since the term “undocumented workers” does NOTHING to benefit me or mine, I won’t use that term.

    And the ants went on with their work!

  5. Rhonda says:

    How about eliminating our use of calling, refering to, other black folks brother, sister.

    Scenario: Walking along the streets of the city arm-in-arm/hand-in-hand with a white man. A black man [stranger, to them] shouts out: “Why you with that white man? You need to get with a brother!” My response: “That would be incest!”

    Or, when some black man (never middle-class or beyond, or educated, etc.) says [on the street, again]: “How you doin’ sister?” Me: “I don’t recall seeing you in my parents’ house when I was growing up. You’re no brother of mine.” (Note: I don’t respond any more; I haven’t for years.)

    I hate, hate, hate the familiarity that that term carries with it–all familiarity, no respect! I don’t like to hear it coming from some other black person’s mouth, neither do I like it in print.

    • Rhonda,

      My reaction to the “brother, sister” thing depends on what I sense of the motives underlying the use of those terms.

      The situation of being accosted on the street by some unknown BM is all about aggression, whether it’s overt or covert. In those situations, there’s NO goodwill attached to being addressed as “Sister.” I bristle at those hostile uses of the term “sister.”

      However, there are some situations where I’ll generally play along with the “brother, sister” thing:

      (1) In the religious context with other Muslims. I don’t want to be the one to repay a sincere, well-meaning term of address from another Muslim with discourtesy.

      (2) When those terms are being used by sincere, well-meaning,”old-school” Black activists who really mean the things they’re saying. There are a few such people still around. I don’t want to be the one to rebuff a sincere, well-meaning term of address from a sincere Black activist who has paid the dues for the benefits I enjoy. I don’t want repay such a person’s sacrifices with discourtesy.

      And the ants went on with their work!

    • kandika says:

      Rhonda, it’s a throwback when we were a REAL COMMUNITY; i don’t know how old you are BUT the term used to mean something–especially in the late 60s early 70s

  6. Another vote for eliminating cis-gendered as well. I think it’s incredibly arrogant for these groups to decide that they have the right to change a perfectly acceptable term (woman) to some nonsense jargon because they don’t meet the criteria. Call yourself whatever you like, but leave me the privilege of doing the same.

    Hetero-normative is another one. This entire culture is hetero-normative and they’ve been reaping the benefits of same. Yet, somehow black women are supposed to continue to practice deviance because to do otherwise supposedly undermines gay people’s agenda. Please. Let those witches go first. When they’ve got an OOW rate that’s incompatible with life then we’ll talk about “hetero-normative.” Of course that conversation will never occur because unlike us, they’re not stupid.

    I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who used the terms “brother” or “sister” sincerely, therefore I stick to the phrase “If you didn’t come from my mother, you are NOT my brother.” I hate the implied familiarity. Everybody I’ve ever see using those words were doing so in an effort to get something out of me.

    • ZooPath says:

      What got me about the whole heteronormative nonsensical critiques of NWNW is that it was insanely irrelevant! Unless someone is going to fix their mouths to tell me that AA lesbians are ones having the babies who comprise this 70% OOW rate then anyone trying to turn this into a LBGT issue needs to go.sit.down! These children are being bred by heterosexual black people. For the love of all that is above and below, what do the affairs of gay people have to do with it? I just can’t…..

  7. pioneervalleywoman says:

    Greetings, Khadija!

    I don’t use the jargon, and I teach the very topics where they can be found in intellectual history!

    If I do talk about it, it is limited to the context of discussing how people in one group defines itself in regards to the rest. So for example, if I am assigning a text of gay rights, in all likelihood, the text might use the word heteronormative. But I will not use it elsewhere or assign a text that will use it out of context, ie., a text on mainstream feminism or critical race feminism.

    As you said, I refuse to “other” schools of thought that signify me and those like me in a context where it is uncalled for and absolutely unnecessary. And because I don’t “other” myself and those like me, critical race feminism (talking primarily about Af-Am women) has its own separate unit from other feminist theory perspectives.

    As for the phrase “cisgendered,” it is not a major and influential perspective in intellectual history. So I don’t teach it. However, if a student wants to research it on his/her own, s/he is free to do so. I’m just not interested in joining transgendered people playing around with mainstream definitions of women and men because that is not where most men and women are.

  8. Valerie says:

    As usual Khadija, you made some excellent points and I’m glad you talked about Christinity, if we were really following Jesus, in African American/African Caribbean in the UK, we would not have so many out of wedlocks births, we wouldn’t be sleeping with unless men in the first place, we would be equal yolked and we would marry quality men, of any ethnic group instead of waiting for black men. In black churches if they are not teaching how to apply the word of God to our daily lives, we would leave them instead of sitting down in a unless church for years without getting any results, also when we give our tithes and offerings, we would stand on the Word of God and expect results.

    We would form alliances with people who are dreamers like ourselves and stay away from dream sabourtagers and dream killers, even if that means comming out from our communities, leaving our father and mothers just like Abraham had to do, for him to have God’s vision for his life.

    Jesus never came for peace, even though he was the Prince of Peace, he came to establish the truth, and unfortunately for some people the truth is too much to handle, the Father’s will will becomes our will for our life and we don’t have to make apologises for what we like, and if people are dragging you down, you still pray for them, but let them go and you get on with the vision of your own life.

  9. sisterlocgirl says:

    This is a very thought provoking post. These so called PC terms being foisted upon us in terms of having discourse regarding the myriad issues facing AA women and girls actually are not so clever ways to cloud very serious, damaging practices that are being sold to us as okay. The entire campaign in the black religious community to become up in arms over homosexuality is yet another bait & switch to keep from dealing with the true problems in the BC. Last time I checked, gay folks aren’t dropping babies left right and center and expecting everyone else but the fathers to take their share of the responsibility. In addition, a good number of GLBT people are fighting for the RIGHT TO BE MARRIED! Hmmm, seems like more of these religious folks who claim to value children, women, and motherhood should be out screaming to the rafters to get people to uphold what they give lip service to. Wake up people. Gay people are NOT the problem in the so called BC. Its yet another tactic being employed to keep you from paying attention to the systematic destruction and disempowerment of AA women and girls. Let other people set your agenda at your own risk. As far as the term ” slut shaming ” I don’t think of these young women in those terms. Instead I see an entire generation of young AA girls who have had no instruction on how valuable/precious they are and that they have a CHOICE to NOT be a sperm repository for any AA male who deems them worthy of being his easily discarded sex toy. I can’t wait to see the thought terminator phrase list. It never ceases to amaze me how critical thinking and just plan common sense is an ever vanishing commodity with the vast majority of AAs. Thank goodness for blogs such as these. I tell you, sometimes I think I see a rabbit in a waistcoat running around, late for an important date LOL! It’s nice to know i’m not alone in my general outlook as it applies to AA women & girls.

    • ak says:

      sisterlocgirl:

      The entire campaign in the black religious community to become up in arms over homosexuality is yet another bait & switch to keep from dealing with the true problems in the BC.

      Exactly. It always was.

  10. Gin says:

    You can be respectful with your terminology and know the level of importance you place on personal issues. It’s not difficult or shaming yourself to do both. You can stay committed to self while discussing other issues. Clearly some are in good conscious and the correct stance. I’ve studied Political Science so maybe my view on being aware is board. It is very important be aware and supportive – we are all human before any race, creed, etc. I see little benefit in dividing causes.

    • Karen says:

      With all due respect, THERE IS NO ONE from outside supporting the agenda of self determination for AA women and girls. NO ONE.

      With that in mind, I am not supportive of ANY agenda that impedes the progress of my group. The facts speak for themselves that every other group has been more than happy to ride our coattails to advance their aims. ENOUGH

      As it applies to language I am in full agreement to use terms that truly describe the realities. Illegal alien is preferred over “undocumented worker”. They are illegal and either need to leave or apply for citizenship. My tax dollars should no more go to them then for people who choose OOW and expect “da govment” or some “program” to assist. The Government gets their money from working people like myself via my tax dollars.

      I will not give credibility to terminology which puts the needs of myself or my group (AA women and girls) on a secondary basis. It is time for us to realize that we are not in coalition with anyone. The others are only in coalition with us when it furthers their interests. When you show me AA Women on the advisory boards of major Hispanic, Asian, Jewish, NOW or LGBT organizations where we are setting policy and can excecute change, then and only then will I consider terminology in that context. We are all human but “sharing”(whether it be causes or resources) is not humanity’s defining characteristic. Only AAs have yet to figure it out, we love to share with everybody and then are always “surprised” that no one wants to share with us.

      • Gin says:

        I do see causes that are specific to AA women being addressed in feminist blogs which are largely headed by WW. But when did it become an eye for an eye anyway?

        As a California resident with friends of Mexican descent – I will respect their cause. I am well educated on it and taking the stance you defend will not benefit myself, the current economy and minorities as a whole. I will not support further oppression of ANY race, as a AA woman.

        Terminology will not make a person or group secondary. I believe your efforts and involvement towards a cause show your place. If you can support you cause diligently, and include your cause in discussion with feminist themes, LGBT themes…that’s where the cause gains more momentum. AA issues tend to crossover and should be addressed in discussions so people are made aware.

        • Gin,

          With all due respect, that’s an incredibly naive posture to take. I’ve read reports of (racist) Mexican gang members shooting at random Black folks (including, IIRC, a young Black girl). I’ll hope and pray that one of those bullets doesn’t hit you. Since you live in California.

          If something else happens, like Proposition 8, that upsets White gays, here’s hoping that you’re not walking around any of their neighborhoods (West Hollywood, etc.). They might commit some more racist hate crimes like they did in the aftermath of Prop. 8—specifically a hate crime against you if you’re strolling through their areas at the “wrong” time. Here’s hoping that this doesn’t happen to you.

          I’ve read and heard many reports of Cubans in Miami and other parts of Florida creating not just bilingual requirements for most jobs there, but putting “Native Spanish Speakers Only” in the job descriptions of the jobs they control. Since you live in California, here’s hoping that the local Mexicans don’t put similar requirements in place to freeze you out of employment.

          All these other people are pimping the naive Black folks who hold your sorts of views, and you can’t even see it. As Karen told you, you’ll know that there’s some true solidarity going on if and when these various other people put “AA Women on the advisory boards of major Hispanic, Asian, Jewish, NOW or LGBT organizations where we are setting policy and can excecute change”

          When the various people that you mistakenly think are your “allies” put YOU or another AA woman like YOU in control of setting policy for their organizations, then you can accurately talk about some “solidarity.”

          With all due respect, without this kind of reciprocity in place, you’re just being used as a guard dog by these others. One who’s rewarded with a few pats on the head and a few Scooby snacks instead of shared command and control.

          And the ants went on with their work!

        • ak says:

          You can respect your friends’ causes but the people on this blog are only saying don’t lose track of any of your OWN causes and not to prioritize everybody else’s causes over your own causes, because ‘they’ whoever ‘they’ are, won’t prioritize your cause and put it in front of theirs.

          This blog doesn’t sound like people are supporting any oppression of people who are non-AA, but people here just want to support their OWN uplift. Because no one else in this world will do that for you. It’s just the way the world is. Everybody else is only focused on themselves only.

          It’s not oppression if an illegal alien from any country and any culture get thrown out of a country that they know they’re not supposed to be living in, a place that they didn’t even try to seek asylum in. That person is just taking their chances and it may not turn out for them the way they want it to. They might be forced to leave.

    • Dividing causes? Do you really think these people are united with us? What kind of union is it when they encourage black women to eschew hetero-normative norms because it’s to their benefit. Even though doing just that has been absolutely deadly for us. That doesn’t sound like being united that sounds like being played. Sorry, I am all for being supportive of others WHEN they are supportive of me. When they’re holding hemlock to the lips of me and mine they can go to hell for all I care.

  11. KM says:

    I’m sorry, the only time the phrase hetero-normative needs to be said is in a LGBT arena with LGBT issues on hand. The people using hetero-normative with the NWNW agenda are obfuscating.

    I’d also add “people of color” (only hear that when Latinos, Africans and/or Asians want something and need AAs to jump on board) to the list as well as any variation of “We gots to do better.” It’s not said to really make AAs want to do better, its a cop out to make people think that you’re interested in doing better but most who say it really aren’t (and it’s said in a joking voice.)

  12. Tee,

    You said, “I sense that many AA women are waking up, and are on their way to their rightful place. Others know this too.

    Non-AA women, and the people who support them (including grasshoppers) know that to give priority to someone who is like oneself is natural and pure. That is why they do it, and it’s why they are threatened by the concept.”

    Yeah, I’m always fascinated to see the particular things that AA guard dogs fixate on when complaining about my blog posts. What’s so interesting to me is how so many of these AA guard dogs believe that they are champions of AA interests—while criticizing my statements…because I consistently put AA interests FIRST and FOREMOST. The usual phrase many of them use is some variation on the faux-noble assertion that they “won’t step on others to uplift self.”

    Amazing. First of all, in their minds for an AA to say “I put AA interests FIRST” equals stepping on others. Second, the people that they’re so worried about (foreign Blacks, Latinos, and so on) are often busy stepping on them! Not all, but significant numbers of them.

    Third, how is it “stepping on anybody” for me to call a spade a spade? And that’s all I’ve really been doing here. Like I said in another context, I haven’t called for boycotts or any other adverse actions against anybody. All I’ve said is to suggest that AA women should ONLY support people who support them. But I guess that sort of recommendation is a thought crime.

    You said, “Just recently I was “put in my place” because I suggested that AAs should stop saying “Blacks and Hispanics…” because the only time Hispanics mention the two groups together, it’s usually something negative like Diabetes. Black people really get on my nerves with this Big-Mama -loves-you-no -matter -what stance.”

    Guurl, me too. Revs. Hot Comb and Baby Daddy make me sick with that “Blacks and Latinos” talk. The only time I hear Latinos verbally link themselves to us is when they want to ride our civil rights coattails. In every other context, dem people make it plain that they have NO connection to us, or affiliation with us. And, many of dem people are frantic to self-identify as racially “White” if at all possible. Which is just fine with me—just stay off my people’s civil rights coattails, and get your own!
    _______________________________

    Roslyn,

    You said, “Another vote for eliminating cis-gendered as well. I think it’s incredibly arrogant for these groups to decide that they have the right to change a perfectly acceptable term (woman) to some nonsense jargon because they don’t meet the criteria. Call yourself whatever you like, but leave me the privilege of doing the same.”

    ITA.

    You said, “Hetero-normative is another one. This entire culture is hetero-normative and they’ve been reaping the benefits of same. Yet, somehow black women are supposed to continue to practice deviance because to do otherwise supposedly undermines gay people’s agenda. Please. Let those witches go first. When they’ve got an OOW rate that’s incompatible with life then we’ll talk about “hetero-normative.” Of course that conversation will never occur because unlike us, they’re not stupid.”

    Again, ITA. The more I think about this, the more put-off I am about the term “heteronormative.” Because it implies that there’s somehow something wrong with acknowledging that heterosexuality IS the majority human attribute. Heterosexuality IS the “default setting” for most humans. Similar to how right-handedness and brown eyes are the default settings for most humans. Now, there are some other, minority human “settings” such as homosexuality/bisexuality, left-handedness, and blue eyes. But these are not the majority default settings.

    And there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that most humans from the beginning of time have been heterosexual, right-handed, and brown-eyed. Or that most humans being born for the foreseeable future will also have these traits.
    _______________________________________________

    Greetings, PioneerValleyWoman!

    You said, “As you said, I refuse to “other” schools of thought that signify me and those like me in a context where it is uncalled for and absolutely unnecessary. And because I don’t “other” myself and those like me, critical race feminism (talking primarily about Af-Am women) has its own separate unit from other feminist theory perspectives.”

    ITA. I prefer to keep my own interests and perspectives front and center. Instead of shifting myself off onto the sidelines. Which is what so many straight BW are doing when they use these progressive jargon terms like “heteronormative.”

    You said, “As for the phrase “cisgendered,” it is not a major and influential perspective in intellectual history. So I don’t teach it. However, if a student wants to research it on his/her own, s/he is free to do so. I’m just not interested in joining transgendered people playing around with mainstream definitions of women and men because that is not where most men and women are.”

    Guurl, I wanna thank you! That’s exactly what’s going on underneath the use of that term! And no, like you, I’m also not going to cooperate with somebody else redefining me as being on the fringe so they can get themselves redefined out of the fringes and into the mainstream.
    _____________________________________

    Valerie,

    Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it.

    I don’t want to veer too far off into a discussion of Black folks MASS religious hypocrisy. But it is what it is. You’re quite correct. If most Black Christians were actually practicing their faith, this oow epidemic wouldn’t be at the levels that it’s at.

    AA Sunni (orthodox, not Nation of Islam) Muslims have the opposite problem of treating marriage like a sick joke. Far too many of us get married in religious ceremonies with the frequency that other people use for dating. That’s why there are Sunni Muslim Negro males who have been through 5-10 religious marriage ceremonies. Some after divorcing the woman a matter of days after marrying her. It’s crazy, and at this point I would prefer that these people go back to fornicating. That shows less disrespect for the institution of marriage than what they’re currently engaged in.
    ____________________________

    Sisterlocgirl,

    Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it.

    You said, “These so called PC terms being foisted upon us in terms of having discourse regarding the myriad issues facing AA women and girls actually are not so clever ways to cloud very serious, damaging practices that are being sold to us as okay.”

    Yes, that’s how the use of these terms has been playing out—they serve to distract us from our OWN interests.

    You said, “The entire campaign in the black religious community to become up in arms over homosexuality is yet another bait & switch to keep from dealing with the true problems in the BC. Last time I checked, gay folks aren’t dropping babies left right and center and expecting everyone else but the fathers to take their share of the responsibility.”

    Yep, ranting about gays and lesbians gives decadent, straight AAs who are living lives straight out of The Picture of Dorian Gray a cheap way of feeling “holy.” It’s disgusting. I got into it with many such decadent straight AA fools who voted for Bush because they believed he was “a good Christian man with Christian values.” Thankfully, that type of talk dried up after Bush did a “heckuva job” of ignoring the Black bodies floating down the streets of New Orleans after Katrina hit.

    You said, “In addition, a good number of GLBT people are fighting for the RIGHT TO BE MARRIED!”

    That’s what got me. We witnessed the spectacle of masses of (foolish) straight AA women using the term “heteronormative” as justification for why they are against encouraging more AA women to have their children within the course of marriage. They were using the term “heteronormative” to justify KEEPING the majority of AA children born out of wedlock—with all of the often life-crippling disadvantages that come with being born OUTSIDE a family unit. Meanwhile, the gays and lesbians who originated the term “heteronormative” are fighting to be able to get legally married themselves!

    Lord have mercy. How crazy can we be?!
    ____________________________________________

    Gin,

    You said, “You can be respectful with your terminology and know the level of importance you place on personal issues. It’s not difficult or shaming yourself to do both. You can stay committed to self while discussing other issues.”

    (1) But that’s NOT what’s happening when many straight, AA women use GLBT jargon like “heteronormative.” What’s happening when straight BW use these terms are things like the spectacle that we recently witnessed:

    We witnessed the spectacle of masses of (foolish) straight AA women using the term “heteronormative” as justification for why they are against encouraging more AA women to have their children within the course of marriage. They were using the term “heteronormative” to justify KEEPING the majority of AA children born out of wedlock—with all of the often life-crippling disadvantages that come with being born OUTSIDE a family unit. Meanwhile, the gays and lesbians who originated the term “heteronormative” are fighting to be able to get legally married themselves!

    (2) Those terms are reaching for something way beyond simple respect—they seek to displace the mainstream, straight identities from the center. And place GLBT at the center. Terms like “heteronormative” seek to reject acknowledgment that the majority human “default setting” IS the majority setting! I’m not going to cooperate with the people most like myself being pushed out of the mainstream and into the fringes.

    You said, “It is very important be aware and supportive – we are all human before any race, creed, etc. I see little benefit in dividing causes.”

    Let me stop you right there. What’s with this “dividing” talk? First, why is it only perceived as “dividing” when AAs speak about our OWN interests? Second, how does one “divide” something that was never “joined together” in the first place? With all due respect, as far as I’m concerned, that “dividing” statement of yours is based on several false premises.
    ________________________________________________

    Karen,

    You ain’t neva lied! I 100% cosign! Especially the following parts where you spoke my thoughts better than I could:

    You said, “With all due respect, THERE IS NO ONE from outside supporting the agenda of self determination for AA women and girls. NO ONE.

    With that in mind, I am not supportive of ANY agenda that impedes the progress of my group. The facts speak for themselves that every other group has been more than happy to ride our coattails to advance their aims. ENOUGH”

    That’s right. Enough, already!

    You said, “I will not give credibility to terminology which puts the needs of myself or my group (AA women and girls) on a secondary basis. It is time for us to realize that we are not in coalition with anyone. The others are only in coalition with us when it furthers their interests. When you show me AA Women on the advisory boards of major Hispanic, Asian, Jewish, NOW or LGBT organizations where we are setting policy and can excecute change, then and only then will I consider terminology in that context.” (emphasis added)

    Exactly!
    _________________________________________

    KM,

    You said, “I’m sorry, the only time the phrase hetero-normative needs to be said is in a LGBT arena with LGBT issues on hand. The people using hetero-normative with the NWNW agenda are obfuscating.”

    Yes, indeed. The NWNW naysayers’ use of the term “heteronormative” was a trick and a smoke screen.

    You said, “I’d also add “people of color” (only hear that when Latinos, Africans and/or Asians want something and need AAs to jump on board) to the list as well as any variation of “We gots to do better.”

    “People of color” was already on the list. As you said, folks generally only pull that out as self-description when they want something from AAs. Otherwise, a lot of dem folks self-define as “White.” Thanks for mentioning the “We gots to do better.” I hadn’t thought of that.

    And the ants went on with their work!

  13. Truth P. says:

    My suggestion,if you are taking any.

    Let’s get rid of “beating a dead horse”.I found that many people use this phrase when referring to sometimes life saving info that THEY have already been exposed to.They don’t consider that some people have never heard these ideas and some people have never heard the truth….Perhaps they do consider that people have’nt heard it and would like to keep them from getting the information{insert->*curious side eyes*<-here}.I notice that when celebs such as Regina King say something that could help save or improve a black woman's life such as "It is necessary for AA women to date outside their race in order to find a husband" someone then follows up with "Telling AA women to date outside their race is beating a dead horse…How many magazines are going to say something like this?"It's been said a million times before".This is then followed up with the person who is talking about somebody beating a dead horse saying "Black women can't marry outside their race because we're(insert something negative)."
    Yeah, lets get rid of beating a dead horse.

    Also i'd like to mention that I have used the word cisgendered before so as to not offend someone else.I think that the topic we were speaking on was the reason I used it.Are there any situations where the use of that word could be appropiate sometimes?

    • Magenta says:

      It’s sunny that you mention that because that is one of my pet peeves as well. In addition to OOW and IR, the “beating a dead horse” thing will come up whenever the perverse colorism in the AA community is discussed.

      As soon as the topic comes up, many will angrily say “It’s (fill in the current year here), are we STILL talking about this???” But these will be the same folks crying when a white person makes a similar response when they start whining about white privilege-ha!

      Clearly these issues are still coming up because they are still a problem. Because many BW do not want to face reality about the MAJORITY of BM’s preference for lighter skinned women they would rather keep their heads in the sand.

  14. TruthP.,

    Yes, I’m taking suggestions for the list of common thought-stopping phrases and terms among AAs. 🙂 Thanks for the addition of “beating a dead horse.” Yes, American Black folks use this phrase to silence any further internal discussion of topics they don’t like and don’t want to hear.

    My reaction is often to tell such folks something along the lines of:

    If you’re tired of hearing about X, then feel free to turn the channel or leave the conversation. Nobody is requiring you to read/listen to this. So, please go if you’re weary of this topic. Please be advised that you’re NOT going to stop those of us who are interested in continuing our conversation about X. We’re going to keep talking about X to our heart’s delight. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

    You said, “Also i’d like to mention that I have used the word cisgendered before so as to not offend someone else.I think that the topic we were speaking on was the reason I used it.Are there any situations where the use of that word could be appropiate sometimes?”

    Like I said before, there are times when I’ll play along with certain things (“brother, sister,” and other terms) in order to be polite—but only with those people I feel are deserving of my courtesy. I would suggest that others use similar guidelines.

    My main purpose is post (and the previous “Delete the phrase ‘fighting White hegemony'” post) is to give other AA women talking points they can use when they come under attack by: (1) various AA “grasshoppers” who want to exploit them; and (2) various AA guard dogs who want for pressure and force them to support other people’s agendas. People are perfectly free to keep using this terminology (along with the “fighting White hegemony” talk) if they want to. I’m just pointing out some reasons why that’s not a good idea for most straight AA women. And the many ways in which using this jargon runs contrary to our interests.

    And the ants went on with their work!

  15. pioneervalleywoman says:

    Truth P:

    Also i’d like to mention that I have used the word cisgendered before so as to not offend someone else.I think that the topic we were speaking on was the reason I used it.Are there any situations where the use of that word could be appropiate sometimes?

    My reply:

    I can think of one instance. A colleague will visit our school tomorrow; we are hosting breakfast and lunch, where she will present her work. She is a gay rights person, but on the radical side, where she has some specific interests that include interests of transgendered/transsexual people where “cisgendered” could come up. So that is where, if I were interested, I would use it.

    But here is something interesting, cisgendered applies to people whose gender identity and behavior/roles coincide, and as I mentioned, it is used in the context of transsexuals/transgendered folks developing their perspectives. So all of a sudden we need a separate name to apply to regular men and women, cisgender? As though they are some other category? I say keep the categories for the transsexuals and trangenders and leave everyone else alone; which is why I don’t teach it, but if it comes up in the context of the lgbt materials I teach, I use the standard terms of transgendered/transsexual.

  16. And another thing we have to keep in consideration, most people have no idea what these terms mean. Real talk, they’ll say cisgendered? What’s that? Does that mean she used to be a dude? Ewww. The last thing black women need is to be a party to anything that leaves our gender or femininity in question. It’s one of the few tools we have. What has the GLBTQ community done for us that we would be willing to take such a hit for them? Sorry, we’ve got enough on our plate. Heteronormative is beneficial to us. Deviance, not so much. Normative good. Deviant bad.

  17. Karen R. says:

    Hi Khadija,

    Excellent post as always!!! I agree with many of the commenters here especially “Karen.” Why is it that whenever AA women are pro-AA women that is seen as wrong? Why are we obligated to hyphenate our issues so as not to offend? You said…”What’s with this “dividing” talk? First, why is it only perceived as “dividing” when AAs speak about our OWN interests? Second, how does one “divide” something that was never “joined together” in the first place?” This is it in a nutshell!! To be pro AA woman is not anti anything else.

    This post further connects the issue that you wrote about when discussing “Fat Acceptance and Gabby Sidibe.” It seems that the ONLY time that the “others” join our cause is when it undermines and mocks us as AA women. I saw that ELLE cover in a bookstore several days ago and I was absolutely HORRIFIED.

    In terms of phrases that need to be eliminated, please consider “but they do it too” or “they have been doing _______ for years.” This phrase has been used ad-nauseum particularly when there is a need to justify inappropriate, illegal, or otherwise dysfunctional behavior. For example, several AA politicians in Detroit have been found guilty of and jailed for corruption (stealing from the AA’s they pledged to serve)and many defenders continue to say “well, they (whites) have been doing it for years.”

    • ZooPath says:

      Yes, “they do it, too” has got to go.

    • ak says:

      Karen R.:

      In terms of phrases that need to be eliminated, please consider “but they do it too” or “they have been doing _______ for years.”

      Yes, yes, yes! When I hear ADULTS say ‘But they do it too’ my mind goes straight to a parent saying to a child ‘If all your friends jumped off of a cliff would you do that to?’.

  18. I’m peeping in and will peep out shortly, but I have to state why the term “slut-shaming” really got me peeved on that other board. See, I have never thought of that expression in relationship to Af-Am women. The phrase has sprung up within the last few years in mainstream blogs and is used primarily to relate to the perceived degradation of mainstream women’s reputations as it relates to their dress and sexual activities. I personally don’t condemn folk on what they wear or how many partners they choose to have. They can wear skirts just below their boobs and screw as many men (or women) as they want and it doesn’t mean beans to me.

    However, that is not what the NMNW campaign is about as I see it. It isn’t about slut-shaming; to me, it is an imperative conversation needed in the black community and that’s where mainstream bloggers get confused. Sometimes the conversation isn’t about them. Sometimes separate communities cannot afford to converge agendas simply because one tends to get subsumed while the other engulfs. And that’s what often happens when minority issues contradict mainstream’s perspectives and objectives.

    Here is another reason why I don’t believe the phrase “slut-shaming” applies to Af-Am women. I feel Af-Am women have unfairly borne the brunt of “promiscuity” for far too long. I have heard of and read about the exploits of mainstream women “hooking up” in much the same way that young white men did in decades past with the goal of “sowing their wild oats.”

    Personally, I have not run into many black women who want to “sow oats.” Many of their sexual encounters have occurred with the goal of gaining and keeping a man with whom they want to build some type of relationship. When the man leaves, they then try again with someone else, hoping this time that the sex will bind the guy to them. Whereas many of the mainstream woman afraid of the term “slut” simply don’t want the finger-pointing at their various encounters. Whereas their exploits with various lovers may number into the teens and beyond, the black women I know may only have had two, three or four “relationships.” The difference is that they may not use birth control or may refuse to get abortions so the result of their relationships are there for everyone to see.

    As someone once pointed out to me, we as a community could never afford to indulge in the intemperance of mainstream America. They have safety nets (parents, friends with money, other relatives) when they get addicted to drugs, get STDs, get pregnant, or have “squirmishes” with the law. They have generations of money to hide, obfuscate, and bury their sins. Those women who run wild during their youth will go on to marry and disappear into suburbia. That young white guy who experimented with various drugs will one day become a bank executive or broker, their criminal records scrubbed. This doesn’t happen too often with us.

    Personally I’m approaching NMNW from a selfish perspective. Mainstream women don’t have to live with the fallout of those OOW numbers. I’m growing older and I personally don’t want to grow old around feral, OOW “unraised” children. Case in point: the 90-year-old woman I read about who was gang-raped by marauding teens. Those mainstream (OK, white) bloggers won’t have to deal with this reality, so they should STFU with trying to apply their theorums to reality, because sometimes it’s just not practical.

    • Those women who run wild during their youth will go on to marry and disappear into suburbia.

      Yep, the phenomenon is so common Everclear even has a song about it called “Volvo Driving Soccer Moms.” “Where do former porn stars go? They become Volvo driving soccer moms.”

  19. Magenta says:

    I am so glad we are having this discussion. As a result of a lot of these BS, made-up, PC terms I have had to stop reading many feminist blogs.

    I nominate “people of color” to be one of the terms deleted. This expression has always bothered me, even as a teenager, even thought I didn’t know why. It wasn’t until I started getting more familiar with the works of Dr. Claud Anderson and later started reading the BWE blogs that I understood why. AAs have a distinct heritage and history, and I don’t like being put in some generic “brown people” category. It is erasure of the worse kind.

    Second, it deludes AAs into thinking we are in some coalition with other minority groups, which we all know is complete BS. Everyone has their own agenda. Sometimes it may be compatible with ours, but most if the time it won’t be. Some folks are not even saying people of color anymore, not they are saying “black and brown” people. WTF! I think I may have even heard Farrakhan say this a time or two, I was so disappointed.

  20. Magenta says:

    I find the “slut shaming” talk to be strange. How does discouraging OOW childrearing amount to “shaming” a woman? What many of these feminists don’t understand is that these OOW women have already been shamed! Really, what bigger shame is there than to be cast off as some “baby mama”, abandoned and left to care for a child on your own in permanent poverty??? Some of these women and girls self esteem is so low that they think marriage is a “fantasy” or is “for white people.” They think that because of their race, or their looks, or their situation, or because of some bad choices they have made in the past, that living an underclass life is all they deserve. So they have already been shamed! The DBRBM that knocked them up also shamed them when they refused to marry them or take care of their child.

    The BWE movement is telling these women that they deserve better! They deserve to be loved and cared for. Their children deserve to be in a loving two parent family where they can thrive.

    The OOW apologists are the ones who are shaming these women, they are the ones telling them they are simply they are not mules and breeders. They are the ones telling them that marriage is for other people.

  21. Roslyn,

    You said, “The last thing black women need is to be a party to anything that leaves our gender or femininity in question. It’s one of the few tools we have.”

    This is something that many legitimate dissenters, guard-dogging and/or fat acceptance critics, and Ikettes don’t understand. In my view, they’re so fixated on teenage issues of “conformity vs. non-conformity” that they’ve lost sight of grown-up reality. They want to throw away one the few tools we have for advancement (our femininity) in order to support a teenage type of rebellion against social norms.

    The real deal is that there are MANY (generally non-conformist) ways to lose in adult life; and FEWER (generally conformist) ways to win in adult life! This basic reality is why most religions talk about the NARROW path to salvation or whatever that faith tradition perceives as success.

    Ladies, grow up! Please…put away childish things like the knee-jerk reaction of wanting to support teenage-type rebellion against social norms. Do y’all understand that YOU’RE the grown-ups now?!

    You said, “What has the GLBTQ community done for us that we would be willing to take such a hit for them? Sorry, we’ve got enough on our plate. Heteronormative is beneficial to us. Deviance, not so much.”

    ITA.
    _____________________________________________

    KarenR.,

    Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it.

    You said, “Why is it that whenever AA women are pro-AA women that is seen as wrong? Why are we obligated to hyphenate our issues so as not to offend? . . . To be pro AA woman is not anti anything else.”

    Exactly!

    You said, “In terms of phrases that need to be eliminated, please consider “but they do it too” or “they have been doing _______ for years.” This phrase has been used ad-nauseum particularly when there is a need to justify inappropriate, illegal, or otherwise dysfunctional behavior.”

    Oh yes, the ever-popular White People Are Doing It Too Excuse. I talked about this at the previous blog. That particular post has become a chapter in the book (“Don’t Delegitimize Your Struggle By Making ‘White People Are Doing It Too’ Arguments”).
    ____________________________________________________

    Sharon Cullars,

    You said, “However, that is not what the NMNW campaign is about as I see it. It isn’t about slut-shaming; to me, it is an imperative conversation needed in the black community and that’s where mainstream bloggers get confused. Sometimes the conversation isn’t about them. Sometimes separate communities cannot afford to converge agendas simply because one tends to get subsumed while the other engulfs. And that’s what often happens when minority issues contradict mainstream’s perspectives and objectives.”

    Indeed. Every conversation is not about—or for—everybody. Because various groups are living under various, different mass circumstances. And have different, sometimes opposed, interests.

    You said, “Here is another reason why I don’t believe the phrase “slut-shaming” applies to Af-Am women. I feel Af-Am women have unfairly borne the brunt of “promiscuity” for far too long.

    …Personally, I have not run into many black women who want to “sow oats.” Many of their sexual encounters have occurred with the goal of gaining and keeping a man with whom they want to build some type of relationship. When the man leaves, they then try again with someone else, hoping this time that the sex will bind the guy to them. Whereas many of the mainstream woman afraid of the term “slut” simply don’t want the finger-pointing at their various encounters. Whereas their exploits with various lovers may number into the teens and beyond, the black women I know may only have had two, three or four “relationships.” The difference is that they may not use birth control or may refuse to get abortions so the result of their relationships are there for everyone to see.”

    Exactly. The overall context is TOTALLY different. And the mass consequences are different. Which you noted when you said, “As someone once pointed out to me, we as a community could never afford to indulge in the intemperance of mainstream America. They have safety nets (parents, friends with money, other relatives) when they get addicted to drugs, get STDs, get pregnant, or have “squirmishes” with the law. They have generations of money to hide, obfuscate, and bury their sins.”

    THANK YOU! These other peole have safety nets to catch them when they fall. AA women DON’T have any safety nets. When we decide to do “high wire routines” and fall, it’s FATAL. We need to stop tripping about that.

    You said, “Personally I’m approaching NMNW from a selfish perspective. Mainstream women don’t have to live with the fallout of those OOW numbers. I’m growing older and I personally don’t want to grow old around feral, OOW “unraised” children. Case in point: the 90-year-old woman I read about who was gang-raped by marauding teens. Those mainstream (OK, white) bloggers won’t have to deal with this reality, so they should STFU with trying to apply their theorums to reality, because sometimes it’s just not practical.”

    ITA! Not only do these outsiders need to STFU, but we need to STOP listening to them. Their circumstances are not our circumstances. They have safety nets; and we don’t.
    _______________________________________

    Magenta,

    You said, “I nominate “people of color” to be one of the terms deleted.”

    Oh yes, it’s on the list. In my view, it’s not so much a thought-stopper; it’s more of a scam term used to deceive gullible AAs.

    About Min. Farrakhan: He has also been gullible and deceived at times. For one example, Min. Farrakhan was one of the loudest voices telling AAs that Clarence Thomas was “just fooling White folks” and would act in Blacks’ interests once he got on the Supreme Court. Well, we’ve seen how that worked out. I don’t think the Min. has ever admitted that he made a mistake and led AAs into error with that call.

    Min. Farrakhan has also been gullible enough to talk that “Black and Brown Together” and “Black and Red Nations Together” talk. He was quiet for a while on the “Black and Red Nations Together” tip after the Cherokee Nation voted to strip the AA descendants of the AA slaves they held (aka “Cherokee Freedmen”) of their citizenship in the tribe. From Wikipedia:

    The Cherokee Freedmen Controversy is an ongoing political and tribal dispute between the administration of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and descendants of the Cherokee Freedmen related to their tribal membership. After the American Civil War, slaves held by Cherokee were freed, and the Cherokee Freedmen were made citizens of the tribe in accordance with an act of the Cherokee National Council in 1863. A treaty made with the United States government in 1866 further cemented the freedmen’s place as Cherokee citizens, giving them and their descendants federally protected rights to citizenship. The Freedmen were Cherokee Nation citizens until the early 1980s. The Cherokee Nation stripped them of voting rights and citizenship, a situation that lasted for more than two decades.

    In March 2006, the Cherokee Nation’s Supreme Court ruled that the descendants of the Cherokee Freedmen were unjustly kept for over 20 years from enrolling as citizens. They were allowed to register and to become enrolled citizens of the Cherokee Nation. Principal Chief Chad “Corntassel” Smith called for an emergency election to amend the constitution. A petition for a vote to remove the Freedmen descendants was circulated and Chief Smith held an emergency election. [1] As a result of the amendment’s approval in a referendum, the Freedmen descendants were removed from the Cherokee Nation tribal rolls. They have continued to press for their treaty rights and recognition as tribal members.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherokee_Freedmen

    It seemed to me that our “Red brothers and sisters” {laughter} in the Cherokee Nation have apparently left all the mostly-White folks who have only fractional descent from the Cherokee Nation on the tribal lists. {more laughter}

    At other times, Min. Farrakhan has simply been sexist and wrong. Such as his vicious statements against Anita Hill and Desiree Washington; and his support of convicted rapist Mike Tyson. [For those who weren’t old enough to be paying attention to what was happening at that time, Mike Tyson had already racked up several allegations of attacking women—including grabbing and groping total strangers—before he was arrested for raping Ms. Washington. IIRC, he had also punched out a man who had come to the assistance of one (total stranger) woman he had grabbed. The difference is that he allegedly paid a lot of settlement money to these other victims to keep them from having him prosecuted.]

    And the ants went on with their work!

  22. Rhonda says:

    This is an overall comment in response to a few of the comments above that I’ve read…

    In NYC the Spanish-speaking people that I grew up/went to school/played with were all Puerto Rican. NYC’s Latino demographic has changed in the past decade. The PRs, whose immigration to the city surged after WW2, are being/have been “displaced” by Mexican [mostly] and Central American illegals. It’s bloody amazing how fast the illegals have taken over! I don’t know if Mexicans/Central Americans are the majority Hispanic group in NYC now, but it sure looks like it. Growing up around so many PRs, I was exposed to a fair amount of their culture: the music, the food, the dance, the way they speak Spanish. So, when I go back to NYC (I don’t live there anymore) it is a culture shock for me (yes, a culture shock for a black American woman), because less and less of the Latino culture that I’m familiar with, am comfortable around, that I like, exists.

    I had a conversation with a friend who is PR. My friend is a blind liberal, so he was arguing in favour of allowing all the illegals (the Latinos, in particular…Note: NYC has a good percentage of undocumenteds from the Irish Republic; not up there in number with the Mexicans, though; but sizeable enough that it is a shame they are ignored) to be granted amnesty, and allowed to become citizens–all in the name of Latino “racial” solidarity. I told him that he was taking a naive view; looking at the situation through rose-coloured glasses. I live in California, now, and have been/am exposed to Mexicans/Chicanos and their culture, and I told him that he better be careful about hitching his wagon to them, because, culturally (and even racially–PR is the Land of the Mulattoes–my friend has a significant amount of African blood in him!), he being PR has very little in common (I mean, really, they have in common the speaking of Spanish and Catholicism; the food, the music, the dance, the respective country’s relationship to Los Estados Unidos, even the way they speak Spanish, are very different) with Mexicans/Chicanos. Also, the Hispanic illegals resent the PRs, because PRs can come and go to the mainland freely; if someone from the island steps foot on the mainland he is automatically a citizen of the U.S.

    ***Blind Liberal — My friend can see. It is a term I created for persons who support any cause/person based upon solely that person’s/cause’s negative social standing, no matter that the outcome of supporting such a cause/person will negatively impact the person(s) supporting it/him/her. The Blind Liberal or Blind Feminist or Blind Racialist (like those people who supported Obama, thinking he would not be the same imperialist arsehole as the previous President, just because Obama’s father was a black man from Kenya) sees only the person’s/cause’s historical legacy of having been from a trodden upon group in the US. I guess my friend is a Blind Racialist; because most Blind Liberals are white.

    Side note: You know, it makes me wonder, what it is that liberal whites have to gain by supporting blanket amnesty for about 14 million illegals, who are mostly Spanish-speaking and mostly from Mexico? I stumbled upon one of the first national Si Se Puede rallies that took place in San Francisco, and there were mostly (98%) Mexicans (waving Mexican flags, no less!) there — very few Asians or other Latinos, no whites (like the Irish undocumented). I don’t want them to be given amnesty, then citizenship, because I know that their increase will negatively impact me, as part of the black collective. As a matter of fact, and I know this will come across all right-wing conservative: If the mother is illegal when her child is born on American soil, that child should not be allowed to be an American citizen. I know that is harsh, but this country has waaaay too many people, and the illegal alien women start having children young (often in their late teens) and they have three, four, five of them.

    Although, some Americans, during the days of Jim Crow, went south to Mexico (like the players of the Coloured baseball leagues; even the Allen sisters — Debbie and Phylicia — were sent there by their father, so that they could live “free”), because there was not the kind of racism there that existed in the U.S., today, the Mexican government is diligent about keeping out Central Americans (a significant percentage of them are black) who cross over their southern border. Yes, if an undocumented is caught on Mexican soil, they will deport his arse right back to where he came from! Can you believe that! Mexico is audacious in their attitude towards illegals being in their country (most of whom are trying to make their way up to the US for work, because there ain’t none in Mexico!), for the Mexican government has scolded the US for deporting their citizens back to Mexico.

    • Rhonda,

      Before I say anything else, let me note: I went to a magnet high school that a little bit of everybody up in there. It was quite interesting, because among other things, I got to see the nuances of various interactions. What I learned from watching the various types of Latino students (Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Cubans) is that there’s NO love lost between those 3 ethnic groups. They’ll band together under the “Latino” banner when facing non-Latinos, but there’s plenty of race-based and straight-racist friction between these groups.

      First of all, these various cultures are racist within their own societies. If you really want to insult most Mexicans, tell them they look just like Native Americans/Indians. The indigenous people are at the bottom of that society. Meanwhile, Black folks are at the bottom of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the nearly all-Black, but in denial about it Dominican Republic.

      I watched while the Mexicans called the Puerto Ricans and Cubans “n*ggers,” and the Puerto Ricans and Cubans called the Mexicans “wetbacks.”

      As an aside, I also got to observe how some of the Filipino students felt they were “bragging” by noting all the siblings and relatives they had “who look ‘pure’ Spanish.” This admixture and the lack of their own indigenous names (the majority have Spanish names, and the minority Muslim Filipinos have Arabic-derived names) is one reason why Filipinos are considered somewhere at the bottom of the Asian pecking order according to many of the Koreans/Korean-Americans I’ve met.

      It was all very interesting…

      You said, “In NYC the Spanish-speaking people that I grew up/went to school/played with were all Puerto Rican. NYC’s Latino demographic has changed in the past decade. The PRs, whose immigration to the city surged after WW2, are being/have been “displaced” by Mexican [mostly] and Central American illegals. It’s bloody amazing how fast the illegals have taken over! I don’t know if Mexicans/Central Americans are the majority Hispanic group in NYC now, but it sure looks like it.”

      That’s what Mexicans do…they overrun places. Quiet as its kept, I believe the Chinese are going to do the same thing over the next few decades. Vancouver was a sneak preview of that.

      You said, “The Blind Liberal or Blind Feminist or Blind Racialist (like those people who supported Obama, thinking he would not be the same imperialist arsehole as the previous President, just because Obama’s father was a black man from Kenya) sees only the person’s/cause’s historical legacy of having been from a trodden upon group in the US. I guess my friend is a Blind Racialist; because most Blind Liberals are white.”

      To their horror, they’ll eventually discover the error of their ways. Unfortunately, by then it’ll be too late.

      You said, “I stumbled upon one of the first national Si Se Puede rallies that took place in San Francisco, and there were mostly (98%) Mexicans (waving Mexican flags, no less!) there — very few Asians or other Latinos, no whites (like the Irish undocumented).”

      Chicago has a huge Polish population (I’ve heard that Chicago is the 2nd or 3rd largest Polish city in terms of numbers, just behind Warsaw). This includes a large number of illegal aliens from Poland. Polish immigrants (legal and illegal) do a lot of the housekeeping, janitorial, and construction work in the Chicago area. White (European) illegal aliens have the common sense to NOT associate themselves with that mess. The White illegals have the sense to not do anything that makes them look distinct from the native White population. Again, illegal White aliens have the sense to avoid any look that unnecessarily screams “deviant.” So, they won’t be caught dead at those illegal aliens rallies.

      The Mexicans have stirred up a lot of resentment with that stuff—especially with waving around Mexican flags at those rallies. Some of them have learned that this is not a good look; and have started carrying American flags at those rallies.

      You said, “I don’t want them to be given amnesty, then citizenship, because I know that their increase will negatively impact me, as part of the black collective.”

      I want them ALL—including the Black ones—to be bum-rushed the h*ll up and OUT of this country!

      You said, “As a matter of fact, and I know this will come across all right-wing conservative: If the mother is illegal when her child is born on American soil, that child should not be allowed to be an American citizen. I know that is harsh, but this country has waaaay too many people, and the illegal alien women start having children young (often in their late teens) and they have three, four, five of them.”

      That’s not harsh at all. I haven’t looked at the US constitution or its amendments in a very long time, but if I remember correctly, that whole thing is yet another example of other people riding the coattails of measures that were designed to remedy OUR rightful grievances as AAs. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but I vaguely recall that the whole bit about citizenship being recognized upon birth on US soil was designed to protect AA former slaves’ right to citizenship. It was never intended to allow folks to sneak across the borders and have “anchor babies” and sign up for US welfare.

      The other thing is that other countries don’t play this mess in terms of granting citizenship. Not at all. Including Western Europe. Including Mexico.

      I believe that, unfortunately, White Americans are going to wake up too late. As I mentioned in a comment during an earlier conversation,

      Back to Heathrow—it was shocking to me to see so many South Asians. That sight let me know that the Brits have allowed the Indians/Pakistanis to overrun their country. I’ve never seen so many South Asians walking around before. I’ve also NEVER seen so many veiled women in public before. AND there were specially set-aside prayer rooms to accomodate all these native-garb-wearing South Asians and Arabs. I’ve never seen anything like that in US public places. Never.

      The few times I’ve passed through Heathrow reminded me of my first impression of Vancouver—it seemed that every fourth person was Chinese there.

      White folks in these various countries have made HUGE mistakes by letting so many of these NON-assimilating, non-White folks in.

      (1) White Americans screwed up big time by letting so many Mexicans in. There are problems with other Latino categories—the Cuban population in Florida and their “NATIVE (SPANISH) SPEAKERS ONLY” job discrimination was discussed at length in the comment section to this post at the previous blog.

      But the REAL threat to the US cultural equilibrium (ideas such as maintaining English as the national language) is coming from the Mexicans. The Cubans are a problem, but they’re concentrated in Florida. There are simply too many Mexicans spread across too many different US states.

      Including in places that folks wouldn’t think of—such as what used to be AA population strongholds in the deep South. The Mexicans come to these small, rural Southern towns to take over all the jobs in the poultry factories, etc. [If I can find it, I’ll post the link to a news story from over a year ago about how some of the native, working poor White and AA employees (the ones with common sense and a sense of self-preservation) were cheering when Immigration finally got around to raiding some of those factories.]

      I’m also irritated that the AA (mis)leadership class was/is stupid enough to help the Mexicans take over here in the US. And help them do so while they’re riding AA civil rights martyrs’ coat tails. But that particular demographic battle has already been lost. Latinos now outnumber AAs. Soon, Asians will outnumber AAs in the US. As Dr. Claud Anderson warned AAs years ago, if we didn’t get anywhere are the largest minority population, what do we think happens when we slide down to #3, #4, and beyond? Answer: Nothing nice.

      (2) The Canadians messed up by letting so many Chinese in (the Chinese only play at being cooperative citizens when they are numerically weak . . . on their way to taking over everywhere they go).

      (3) And the Brits messed up by letting so many Pakistanis/Indians in. There will be trouble later on down the road in all 3 of these places because of these shifting demographics. There’s already trouble bubbling right now in these various places with these folks (I’m thinking of the 7/7 bombings in London a few years back). Oh well.

      And the ants went on with their work!

  23. Faith Dow says:

    This post is timely. I’ll have to mull over some of this but I was writing my Monday post touching on not listening to people who don’t have our interests in mind so it must be synchronicity. I’m also monitoring the insane reactions of a few calculated ITTs on Twitter who are trying to work in concert with each other to derail NWNW. This is some nonsense for sure. I’m particularly annoyed by the married BW opposing it for no legit reason, the non-AAs commenting and ignoring that specific segment consists of the majority of the OOW births and those arguing over their issues with marriage, etc. We really are our own worst enemies. I also see quite a few BW playing both sides of the fence. I don’t get it.

    • Faith,

      The backlash against NWNW has been quite revealing. On several fronts. A number of BW bloggers who I didn’t know were nuts have revealed themselves to be nuts. Some other bloggers that I mistakenly believed had common sense have revealed themselves to be as defiantly out of touch with reality as many devoted Trotskyites. Like the remaining Trotskyites, many of them are clinging to ideological talking points that have been proven to be failures.

      The other thing I’ve found interesting is that observing the non-Black NWNW naysayers has caused me to question some things that I previously hadn’t given much thought to. Their intrusive, bad-faith, anti-NWNW arguments have caused me to question the entire vocabulary list of progressive jargon, including the specific term discussed in this post.

      As far as I’m concerned, this whole episode has been quite instructive across the board. A lot of folks have shown their ~true colors~. {start playing the Cyndi Lauper song}

      And the ants went on with their work!

      • Robynne says:

        “Their intrusive, bad-faith, anti-NWNW arguments…”
        Word. As you’ve noted before, these non-blacks would not dare apply what they are suggesting to black women in their own spheres, and would run as far as possible from any such person in their vicinity. They should foist those beliefs on people who look like them – except that if they tried to do so, they would be soundly ridiculed – and deservingly so. No one in their right mind champions dysfunction.

        • Robynne,

          Indeed. They know that they would face some extreme negative feedback from their own folks if they championed dysfunction for them!

          And the ants went on with their work!

  24. Rhonda says:

    Roslyn Holcomb said:
    October 3, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    And another thing we have to keep in consideration, most people have no idea what these terms mean. Real talk, they’ll say cisgendered? What’s that? Does that mean she used to be a dude? Ewww. The last thing black women need is to be a party to anything that leaves our gender or femininity in question. It’s one of the few tools we have. What has the GLBTQ community done for us that we would be willing to take such a hit for them? Sorry, we’ve got enough on our plate. Heteronormative is beneficial to us. Deviance, not so much. Normative good. Deviant bad.

    That is exactly what I experienced. I was, unsuccessfully, trying to explain why I did not consider, would not accept, transsexual (specifically, male-to-female) women to be “real” women. I then had a few of the commenters, one in particular, accuse me of something like “expressing my cis-gender supremacy.” Cis-gender? WTF was she, were they, talking about? I looked the word up in the the Oxford American English dictionary that I have–not there. Then I looked up the prefix “cis”, to help me decipher the meaning of the word; I just couldn’t make sense of the word, even with knowing what “cis” meant. Oh, well… Because I dismissed the word as being insignificant (some new-fangled made-up word, no doubt, to make trans women feel good about themselves) for me, my life, someone was “kind” enough to include a few links in her comment with the definition. You wouldn’t believe how looooooong the definitions/explanations for that small word are. Not only that, the definitions made no sense–they did not get to the point.

    What it came down to was about four or five persons (one or two who identified himself as a male-to-female) “jumping” all over me — a real girl! — for not accepting [in my mind] male-to-female transsexuals as real women. Since I told them I knew a few M2Fs, they berated me for not being accepting of them. That wasn’t the issue that I had, for in my interactions with such persons, I respect them, wherein I refer to them by their female names, even call them she…but when it comes down to it, they are not women. They are not me. They are not part of my club.

    I am a black American woman. Let’s say I decided I wanted to embrace all things Chinese (I’m not going to use white/Caucasian as my example, because that is too easy, and I think Chinese makes the point better). All my life, I felt inside that I was a Chinese person (a woman; not changing sex in this scenario), it just that my outside, my body, and culturally, I am not Chinese. So, I always straighten my hair. And I desire to have surgery to change the shape of my eyes. And I desire to have dental surgery done to change the structure of my jaws so that my face becomes more two-dimensional. And I want my breasts and tush reduced (well not my tush, for there isn’t much there now), and calf implants…and maybe I’ll think about binding my feet to make them itsy-bitsy size (although, living in a city with lots of Chinese women, many of them have “regular” sized, Western, feet). And then, all I eat is Chinese food, and I learn Cantonese or Mandarin…everything Chinese. You would say to me that I am crazy, that I have a mental disorder, and that I ought to get psychological help. And you would be justified. Because, no matter what Chinese traits I adopt, cultural habits I adopt, and no matter what surgical procedures I would have to look as close to Chinese as I possibly can, I could never, ever be, authentically, Chinese. That is the way I feel about transsexuals.

    • Rhonda says:

      Also, the most important point I left out: NO CHINESE PERSON WOULD ACCEPT ME AS BEING CHINESE, even after adopting their culture, learning one of their dialects, and having surgeries to look like them. NO. Not one Chinese person would accept me as such. So why the heck have I, as a woman, got to “accept” some man, who had his member snipped and tucked up, as being a woman, like I am?

      No amount of surgery will ever make me a Chinese person, no matter how much I feel that I am one. No matter how much I believe I am one. And no Chinese person will believe me to one of them either. As a matter of fact, if I were do what I described above, a Chinese person would probably see me to be ridiculing him/her, no?

    • Rhonda,

      What you’re describing is why male-to-female transsexuals and male drag queen artists have always registered to me emotionally as MASSIVE, HOSTILE intrusions into actual women’s spaces. Also, in the case of drag queens, an insulting caricature of women.

      One way a person can tell whether or not their group is oppressed is by how much or how little control they have over defining boundaries. One such boundary is defining who is—and who is NOT—a member of their own group.

      Other examples of intrusions:

      1-This is why I’ve always rejected non-Blacks trying to dictate who AAs “should” and “should not” consider Black, such as the so-called “biracials.” We don’t get to decided who White folks consider to be White. Certainly, NOBODY else gets to tell the Jews who is, and is not, to be considered Jewish.

      2-This is why I’ve always rejected non-AAs trying to dictate terms about AAs’ use of the term “African-American.” [These folks are usually either trying to FORCE their way into that description—usually when there’s something to gain from calling themselves AA, otherwise they’re careful to identify as their own ethnic identities. Or they’re trying to come to us with cr*p they’re too cowardly to approach White Americans with—such as lectures about the use of the descriptive term “American.”]

      These various intrusions only happen because most of us tend to put up with them.

      And the ants went on with their work!

      • Magenta says:

        I read something from Kola Boof where she said “we are not so meaningless, that just ANYBODY can be us.” She was talking about black people at the time, but it applies to women as well.

        I think about this where I hear about how the women’s movement is being pressured to let transgendered individuals in their spaces. There are a lot of similarities with how these individuals act and how mixed race and foreign blacks treat AAs. I am floored when they try to lecture women on who is or is not a woman. But I guarantee you they will never approach a man with that mess! It comes from the same place of cowardice. After years of being bullied, beaten and killed by homophobic/transphobic males, they want someone to vent their frustrations on, so they come around women (and women’s rights groups) with that mess. The same way an immigrant would never dare confront a white person, but think that AAs will serve as their personal whipping boy.

        • Magenta,

          You said, “I read something from Kola Boof where she said “we are not so meaningless, that just ANYBODY can be us.” She was talking about black people at the time, but it applies to women as well.”

          Indeed.

          You said, “I think about this where I hear about how the women’s movement is being pressured to let transgendered individuals in their spaces. There are a lot of similarities with how these individuals act and how mixed race and foreign blacks treat AAs. I am floored when they try to lecture women on who is or is not a woman.”

          Guurl, ain’t that crazy?!

          You said, “But I guarantee you they will never approach a man with that mess! It comes from the same place of cowardice. After years of being bullied, beaten and killed by homophobic/transphobic males, they want someone to vent their frustrations on, so they come around women (and women’s rights groups) with that mess. The same way an immigrant would never dare confront a white person, but think that AAs will serve as their personal whipping boy.”

          Exactly!

          And the ants went on with their work!

  25. pioneervalleywoman says:

    Rhonda:

    Cis-gender? WTF was she, were they, talking about? I looked the word up in the the Oxford American English dictionary that I have–not there. Then I looked up the prefix “cis”, to help me decipher the meaning of the word; I just couldn’t make sense of the word, even with knowing what “cis” meant. Oh, well… Because I dismissed the word as being insignificant (some new-fangled made-up word, no doubt, to make trans women feel good about themselves)

    My reply:

    It’s because that kind of word belongs in a women’s studies (rephrased in certain instances to gender studies–a whole other story about where some women’s studies faculty let their departments/programs go) seminar, where they are reading scholarly articles by the people who make up those words.

    But they forget that most of the world is not reading gender theory and that, for the reasons you mentioned, most of the world WILL NOT go along with that mess!

    And this is where I take issue with my colleagues and their students, former and present. It is one thing to write for an academic audience, using the jargon and theoretical frameworks outside of most lay people’s reasonable comfort levels, but it is another to bring that into every day conversation.

  26. Nikita says:

    If I don’t understand the words or cannot via comprehension know what in the heck a writer is wrting about I usually dismiss their argument post haste. I had a professor that stated that a successful argument is filled with words that most folks reading it can easily understand.

    It is odd to read some of the many bloggers that I enjoyed at one time and to find that they are “special”. Common sense, morals etc are now at issue in the black community – having a standard is now a “slut-shaming” activity. Really? Get out of here with that. A great deal of the black feminist I supported lost some of my respect after I read their arguments against NWNW. Therefore when the arguments about NWNW started using language that I could not readily identify as part of an AA agenda, I dismissed them. When AA people who are gay want our attention, I listen and support within reason. This nonsense argument against NWNW was not courtesy of the gay community, nor was it for them or against them. Next.

    I have pointed out to several folks, a lot of issues AA’s are asked to run and defend no one else is asked to show up for and that should be a clue about when we are being used. If the situation is about jobs and different races, one of our so called reps show up to say well we have a dog in this race too. And in those instances maybe we do. However, not in all cases. Other races, cultures and movements that have experienced discrimination are not expected to come to fight. This is because – and sometimes we are so ignorant of our own power as a people – we are the ONLY group in the US who while being treated badly – during Jim Crow etc. – pushed back and got our rights and international attention about our struggle and were generally universally supported. That. Is. Power. We affected cultures in the US and outside of here in so many ways. That. Is. Power. But since we do NOT understand this, we keep jumping into fights instead of being strategic. As the Latinos continue to state, there are MANY of them. WHY DO THEY NEED US? Their numbers alone should be able to get them by. Ohhhhhhhhh. Right. They are NOT going to get this kind of coverage or respect as AA’s receive when we decide to raise heck. They kinda do NOT have that. kind. of. power. So many of us are jostling for a position not understanding that we are, in a way, already past the starting gate when it comes to social unrest with real effect and progress. Not knowing your history can cause some to get in fights that they have already won and be in battles where they already conquered or KNOW how to beat back if it becomes an issue.

    To me this comes back to basic reciprocity. Either we are getting it or we are not. When our kids are shot, our elderly attacked I see AA’s only usually. I see the police. Where are the other races/cultures – where are their folks? I do not see them. But when they are attacked, laws are unfair, I am expected to run out and defend courtesy of the AA groups and so called leaders. NO. If it does not have anything to do with me, if I already put my dog in that fight and WON – you are on your own – just like I am/was. Precedent is already out there so make it do what it do baby! Jews do this. Folks of Asian descent do this. Native Americans do this. AA’s need to start doing this.

    • tertiaryanna says:

      Nikita

      “This nonsense argument against NWNW was not courtesy of the gay community, nor was it for them or against them. Next.

      THANK YOU. I’m just like…I’ve never in my life heard a lesbian woman say that because she can’t get married, she’s advocating straight women to have babies by men who refuse to be fathers.

      The lesbian parents that have had children naturally have a different concern: that the biological fathers will sue for custody by saying the lesbianism makes the mothers unfit. The concern isn’t that the fathers aren’t trying to be fathers or that the paternal relatives are absent. This is not the same thing as a straight woman trying to convince an unwilling father to participate and give support.

      ESPECIALLY if you’re talking about trans parents. People are too busy fighting to even see their own kids to advocate someone else abandoning theirs.

      I think that raising the issue of LGBT people as an excuse to be silent about absent fathers is derailing and dirty fighting. It puts LGBT people as a scapegoat for what’s commonly thought of as immoral behavior (abandoning one’s children, refusing to support them.) I fail to see how that line of “support” as it was raised in the Black blogosphere is helpful to LGBT issues, so I’m not happy that people even brought that up in the OOW context.

      About using “slut-shaming”as a derailment tactic: slut-shaming is when you hold a woman responsible for actions outside of her control. It’s not the same as telling a woman that her actions are leading to a likely outcome.

      If people tell me that going alone to a club, wearing revealing clothing and drinking myself into forgetfulness is likely to put me at risk of assault, they’re not slut-shaming me.

      But if something happens, and then people hold me more accountable for my assault then the guy who hurt me? That’s slut-shaming. That guy had the responsibility not to hurt someone, but he chose not to follow that. He was not coerced by me into hurting me. He could have walked away, but decided of his own free will not to do so. Saying that “I got what was coming” or “no wonder that happened” is slut-shaming, because now all the blame is on me, and he’s off the hook.

      Telling a woman that she’s responsible for her man leaving isn’t fair. He’s got the choice to make for himself to stay or go. HOWEVER. Telling a woman that she’s responsible for who she chooses to date? That she’s responsible for her own body, and who she shares it with? That’s not slut-shaming.

      Telling her that certain behaviors are warning signs that she won’t have a good life with a particular man is not slut-shaming. Telling her what her child won’t have without a positive role model is not slut-shaming.

      Slut-shaming would be telling her that she deserved to raise her child alone, or that her child deserved to have no role model because she was unmarried or because the father was irresponsible. No one has said that. As long as the father is legally capable of making decisions (adult, full mental capacity) then he is responsible for his own actions. She’s not. But we’re doing her no favors by being silent about his faults so she can protect herself. I feel like the people crying “slut-shamers” were trying to stop the bloggers from talking about these faults. That’s not helping BW.

      If people want to know what slut-shaming looks like, they can see how women were treated after bearing children of American GI’s during the Vietnam war, or children born out of Rwandan/Congo rapes. THAT’s slut-shaming.

      I get angry when people use what should be powerful words like trivialities. There’s a time and place to discuss how women are held accountable in inappropriate ways. NWNW is not that time or place, and using that term in this context is troubling.

    • Nikita,

      You said, “Common sense, morals etc are now at issue in the black community – having a standard is now a “slut-shaming” activity. Really? Get out of here with that.”

      Thank you! Hear, hear!!!

      And the ants went on with their work!

  27. Nysee says:

    Hello Khadija,

    I been thinking over the weekend and 1. Grasshoppers are being eliminated as we speak.
    2. Black women, if it does not benefit us just say no. Khadija, as BW, we have been conditoned almost to help and serve everyone and then once the need is met, we are tossed to the curve.
    I remember the actress Zoe Saldena if I spelled her name correctly was asked about being a Black Woman , and she mention she is a woman first. Give me break. But I am quite sure she mind that check from Essence though. So you like you have said our needs first and foremost.
    Also, in Chicago, when the elderly woman shot at those future crimanals, everyone else thought she was a hero and others gave her a hard time.
    I make sure that my needs will be met before doing anything. That means when I shop I make ME
    a priority and know I have value. Also, BW if necessary, if you must work security jobs, another ploy in defeminizing us, please do something to not look so male oriented because a lot of jobs take away our beauty in a patriahal society.
    So BW, your need must come before everyone for your physical, mental and emotional needs.
    Sorry for the long post.
    Keep up the fantastic work.

    • Nysee,

      Thank you for your kind words; I truly appreciate it.

      You said, “So BW, your need must come before everyone for your physical, mental and emotional needs.”

      YES!!

      And the ants went on with their work!

  28. IRockIRoll says:

    Fat Acceptance, and Health at ANY Size needs to be eliminated as well. Also… BBW. YES, I know that women can be Big & Beautiful, but that is NOT the bar that should be set for beauty. Too many women that I’ve seen and know throw around BBW as an excuse for NOT taking stock of how family obligations (unnecessary burdens really), lack of information or unsafe spaces are contributing to their weight gain. I’ve had people tell me to my face that black women are just really big, and yet… NO ONE can pull out family photographs more than 20 years old where everyone was borderline obese. I haven’t seen ONE.

    Let me repeat… NO ONE has been able to come up with those pictures. Because… this level of obesity is new. If anything… black women were known for being able to KEEP THEIR FIGURES and muscle tone, and have GREAT SKIN for a loooooooonnnnnnnng time. We need to get back to that. Because we look GOOD ya’ll!

    We DON’T have to have high blood pressure. The “sugar”. Excessive rates of heart disease. Preventable amputations.

    Look at 80’s music videos and movies. Look at 90’s (until ~96) music videos and movies. The black women in them (not just black featured movies and videos) had GOOD LOOKING ATTRACTIVE BLACK WOMEN.

    Janet Jackson wasn’t BBW
    Whitney Houston wasn’t BBW
    Anita Baker wasn’t BBW
    Stephanie Mills wasn’t BBW
    Karen White wasn’t BBW
    Donna Summers wasn’t BBW
    Naomi Campbell wasn’t BBW
    Robin Givens wasn’t BBW

    And those were black women in the 80’s early 90’s that were thought of as attractive.

    I’m not knocking women who are overweight. People gain weight for multiple reasons and situations. I personally believe that a good portion of black women’s weight gain was to decrease unwanted aggressive sexual advances from black men in increasingly dangerous neighborhoods, IN ADDITION to carrying entire families on one paycheck. But we as a group need to NOT embrace this as a norm.

    • IRock, IRoll,

      You said, “Fat Acceptance, and Health at ANY Size needs to be eliminated as well.”

      I agree.

      You said, “I’ve had people tell me to my face that black women are just really big, and yet… NO ONE can pull out family photographs more than 20 years old where everyone was borderline obese. I haven’t seen ONE.

      Let me repeat… NO ONE has been able to come up with those pictures. Because… this level of obesity is new. If anything… black women were known for being able to KEEP THEIR FIGURES and muscle tone, and have GREAT SKIN for a loooooooonnnnnnnng time. We need to get back to that. Because we look GOOD ya’ll!

      Indeed. It’s scary to see how quickly this mass obesity has become normalized.

      You said, “I’m not knocking women who are overweight. People gain weight for multiple reasons and situations. I personally believe that a good portion of black women’s weight gain was to decrease unwanted aggressive sexual advances from black men in increasingly dangerous neighborhoods, IN ADDITION to carrying entire families on one paycheck. But we as a group need to NOT embrace this as a norm.”

      ITA. BM’s ongoing war against BW is at the root of this mass AA female obesity.

      And the ants went on with their work!

    • Nikita says:

      Just to clear up the confusion about health at every size, because I am beginning to understand that the wording may be confusing – it is NOT a go ahead and continue to gain weight, don’t eat better, don’t get to moving doctrine or program. The wording, if you have not read the literature can seem to suggest that, and there are different people who write about this and make suggestions for how it is successfully worked.

      I follow the literature put out by Dr. Linda Bacon, for ME it explained why the diets and other desperate measures I did backfired and how by doing these desperate things – pills, eating once a day, excessively exercising, binging etc. damage your body and forces your weight to move up. She also attempts to assist folks with figuring out are you hungry or is your eating an emotional response. The book explains how come 95% of the folks who use conventional diets get BIGGER. She also encourages healthy eating – more veggies and fruit than meat and get to moving for 5 days per week. Now there are those who write about this idea/dotricne do not follow her ideas so you kind of have to be careful about whose ideology you are following. But honestly I do believe it. Following this program is how I have began to lose weight and started shaping up. The process is slow and deliberate but I have already tried the other ways and for me it backfires/doesn’t work. I think the language is meant to get folks who are sendentary to re-think their ideology that it does not matter what they try they won’t get better physically or health wise. Dr. Linda Bacon argues that you can get to moving, get to living desptie what size you are and you can be healthy – and for those folks this type of encouragement is good – to me.

      I just wanted to put this out here because there are women who are reading this who are large and they have probably given up. I want them to know that the book by Dr. Linda Bacon which goes by the same name is a way for them to get encouraged to move again and to start on their goal towards getting healthy.

      In the way that the word is currently used, I think that it is being mixed in with fat acceptance. I do not see it that way, but then again I read the literature and made an informed choice about what I wanted to follow.

    • vonnie says:

      some chick on twitter was trying to argue that being plus size is normal and always has been. That a real woman should look like the pics of chunky/fat women she was posting and I was like, that’s NOT the normal weight of women. She started saying that I was being delusional and should stop watching tv and saying that women should be small. Then I countered with “look, I am chunky (size 12/14 been a 16 before) and that is NOT the norm for my family. Saying that women have always been big outside of tv is a FARCE because my whole family full of women on BOTH sides were always size 2-6 in all of the pictures that I see of them from their teens and 20s in the 70s/80s/90s. Pretending that fat is the norm is doing us NO good and ignoring the fact that women before weren’t this size is detrimental. Should I ignore all of my family photos from the 70s with their tight tummys and firm shapes?” needless to say, she skipped over my replies.

      • ak says:

        Yeah Vonnie you know? I know that there are very few of them but there are and have been for a while now some famous black models, the African and the AA ones and such, and supermodels, so if bw are always natuarlly larger then we really would be nowhere to be seen.

        All around me in London and even all around me where I was living in the US when I did, I saw loads of bw who had the skinniest legs and thighs with barely any behind. And no belly on them either.

        Even young mothers who look like they’re teenaged or in their 20s are still black and still twig-like all over AT THE SAME TIME while pushing around their baby carriages. Which explains why finding a bw with the usual body type for modelling isn’t as hard as some silly bw make it out to be.

  29. this discussion tread regarding the use of language that does not adequately support or speak to the african-american woman’s direct experience is very interesting to me.

    i am a black woman of nigerian & jamaican descent born and raised in multicultural and multiracial Toronto, canada. i recognize, as ms nadiff told me in an email to me [regarding my confused comment on the subject of NWNW] that issues directly affecting the AA woman are “not my conversation” however, i do feel that the new commonly accepted language such as “heteronormative” and “cisgendered,” for example, when used in so-called universal terms and discourse affects us all across the board.

    in my various womanist and feminist readings i have been literally overwhelmed by the use of these “politically correct” terms. but i’ve come to accept then with a kind of hesitation wondering why deep down i felt at odds with their repetitive, “mainstream” use. in fact, i wanted to post on the subject of this confusing language [to me], but i also thought that in so doing i might “offend.”

    which is why coming to your blog has opened my eyes and my heart in a unique way. it is so TRUE that as black women we seem to have been conditioned to put the welfare of other people/interests before ours, and in reading how your movement seeks to empower AA women first and foremost, that what we really need to do is yes, be mindful of all ‘special interest’ groups, however we must put our needs first. i get that now.

    you literally cannot take the stake out of someone else’s eye, unless you first remove yours. you cannot heal somebody before you heal yourself, and if your mind and soul are malnourished, you cannot nourish the mind and soul of another. lastly i so whole-heartedly agree that you cannot use and incorporate the language that sufficiently seeks to empower a “disenfranchised” group that is different from your own, until your own group develops language which empowers them FIRST.

    thank you ms nadiff, and thank you to all the commenters for the mind-opening conversation. cheers, xobolaji

  30. hello again! i am keeping up with the comments and i just read a few submissions on the subject of “fat-acceptance” and “body-politics.” this is an entirely new/grey area for me since i am not fat. and i have an almost pathological desire to main health, fitness and wellness at all costs for my family and myself.

    when i came to the blogosphere i discovered the fat acceptance/body politics discussion mostly through 3rd wave white feminist bloggers. needless to say i was gob-smacked. what i came to realize was that this issue was very “real” as much as i did not agree with it. while on some level i felt it necessary to respect a person’s sense of self-worth and identity and i am anti-discrimminatory anything, i thought it was odd to embrace the concept of fat as something “political.” but when it was discussed in these very political terms i was *convinced* not because it was the right thing to do, but because the woman who i felt articulated these arguments did it in such a scholarly way as to make it compelling and made me feel empathic.

    however, i do see how fat-acceptance is self-defeating for black women on so many levels. the arguments that these fat-acceptance advocates support and extol is that appearance and BMI is not the sole-determinant of health, and that a person can be “healthy at any size.” i suppose if you tell a cat it is a mouse often enough the cat will start to squeak.

    anyways. i think this is what “fence-sitting” feels like. and yet for all intents and purposes i would have NEVER considered myself ‘flakey.’ still i think the operative word to consider here is “self.” are these new “norms” reflective of solutions that will help the AA community?

    thanks again. xobolaji

  31. bolaji williams,

    Welcome aboard! 🙂

    You said, “in my various womanist and feminist readings i have been literally overwhelmed by the use of these “politically correct” terms. but i’ve come to accept then with a kind of hesitation wondering why deep down i felt at odds with their repetitive, “mainstream” use.”

    I hear you. I was always mildly uncomfortable with this terminology, but I never gave it much thought before. I figured that I was having that reaction simply because I wasn’t very familiar with it—these aren’t words that I see or hear in the course of my everyday life.

    But once I saw how the terminology was being used recently to champion madness, I took the time to really think about the terminology. At which point, I realized that there’s very little/no benefit to straight BW using that type of terminology (as far as I’m concerned).
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    ***Note to Readers***

    In making this new site the kind of project that’s sustainable for me over the long-run, I’ve had to streamline how I handle certain things. The comments section is one of them. What this means is that I’ll give substantive responses to those folks who enter the conversations early (as I did across the board at the previous blog).

    After each post is a couple of days old, I’ll generally continue to publish new comments from readers. (That meet the commenting guidelines as set forth at the previous blog—those who are unfamiliar can read the comment “box” at the previous blog.)

    But, after a each post is a couple of days old, I generally WON’T continue responding to new comments.

    In other words, I’ll continue to publish comments to this post, but I’m not going to reply to any more comments in this thread. FYI. Please feel free to talk among yourselves!

    And the ants went on with their work!

  32. Fii says:

    This is very interesting. We’ve been discussing this at Beyond Black and White where one woman came directly out of left field talking about how NWNW is a deterrent for gay rights to marriage and parenting. Even as a supporter of gay rights I had to say, why stick them into an issue in which they absolutely do not belong. And then to come and read this. I find it quite interesting that there are people of any creed, color or gender and orientation that advocate for gay rights, but the only people advocating for the rights of black women are the black women who recognize that there is a serious need for radical change. I don’t mean this to come out homophobic or anything but a gay couple is not going to support black female empowerment when they are trying to adopt our children – when they can easily find a partner in order to create a two parent household for a child. It is positive for others who are not directly affected by a cause to support it, but those who *are* directly affected by the cause do in fact need to focus on the self, as you explained. Gays focus on the self in their efforts for gay rights. Why the hell shouldn’t we. There’s no reason to be concerned about gay rights when I’m fighting for my right to a stable, loving husband and my future children’s right to a stable, loving father as well as parental unit.

  33. […] ultra-politicized talk (like that “heteronormative” term I tore into during the post If You’re A Straight Black Woman, Delete The Following Term From Your Vocabulary: Heteronormat…) about issues such as disability, sexism, racism, and so on, sometimes that type of talk is […]