“Dear Michelle Cottle, are you serious? You and your handful of ‘feminist sources’ claim that First Lady Obama is not a feminist because she says her most important job is being mom-in-chief to her two daughters…Given how simplistic your piece is, let me make this very simple: you are wrong. You misunderstand the place that Michelle Obama occupies as the first African American First Lady.
You seem to think she’s trying to steer clear of the angry black woman stereotype. When she calls herself ‘mom-in-chief,’ she’s rejecting a different stereotype: the role of Mammy. She is saying that her daughters — her vulnerable, brilliant, beautiful black daughters — are the most important thing to her. The First Lady is saying, ‘You, Miss Anne, are going to have to clean your own house because I will be caring for my own’ and instead of agreeing that the public sphere is necessarily more important than Sasha and Malia, she has buried Mammy and has embraced being a mom on her own terms. So you can call that your feminist nightmare, but for a lot of us, it is our black motherhood dream.
Also, on a strategic note, Ms. Cottle. Before we enter the 2016 election cycle and the feminists come around asking black women for our support for your candidate, you might want to read up a little on black women and our feminism. I’m happy to send you a syllabus.”
One student wrote the following in an evaluation for Chang’s class on grassroots and transnational feminist movements.
Excerpt from: Where’s the Violence? The Promise and Perils of Teaching Women of Color Studies
I remember being told to my face by this guy I knew that if I took a class the following semester that I would DEFINITELY get a batter grade than him cause the professor was apparently extremely racist against white people. I wound up taking the class, he wasn’t racist - was just upfront about white racism and power structures because he was a professor of THE HISTORY OF JAZZ & AFRICAN AMERICAN POPULAR MUSIC. To erase racism from these courses would have been insane but it was enough to anger certain privileged white students who felt disrespected by a black man telling them about racism & his experiences with a racist music industry.
I don’t understand the resistance within feminism for some feminists to accept critiques on feminism. Telling feminists of color that white feminists “just can’t help it” or “just don’t understand” WOC enough to write about feminism from anything other than a straight, middle class, cis white perspective is completely ignoring the long documented work feminists of color have done to explain how institutional racism within the movement hurts them and the movement overall. But people stop listening as soon as they realize they’re hearing a critique and go “what? no, not MY favorite feminist author! You need to cut her some slack!”
welcome to missing the point, USA - when you’re a person of privilege listening as someone explains that they are tired of feminism being frame & constructed as something not actually inclusive to a HUGE segment of actual feminists - if your first response is to cut them off “i see what you’re saying BUT its still a good book” or “they’re only talking about their experience” what you are doing AT THAT MOMENT is continuing to erase and silence WOC from the overall discourse. I’m tried of being made to feel like an “angry black woman” because me sharing my experience and my views of feminism makes some white women feel bad for liking a book that I find problematic. Just sit back and listen to how we need to change our overall ways of thinking instead of holding on to this idea that “there is nothing wrong with this book/theory/idea/author because it relates to MY experience.” I’m glad you are privileged enough to never have to think about these things, but if you’re actually concerned about progress you will stop making excuses and suggesting that we should just accept the way the dominant discourse is framed.
I never thought I’d have to explain this so much at this point in my life… and then I met privileged college feminists/activists
This reminds me of an article I read on a natural hair blog (because i’m currently transitioning) that was like “dear women with perms, not everyone with natural hair looks down on women with perms.” But In the comments there just HAD to be an article was like “but I still feel sorry for girls stuck on that creamy crack.” -_-‘
I definitely think there is a lot more work we can do to make sure that the (much needed) messages empowerment of empowerment for natural hair and black beauty in general does not have to come at the expense of TEARING other women with who man different choices DOWN.
I’m all for education and teaching people where dominant messages come from.. but… I dunno, I just have a problem with sending people the message that their choices make them “not black enough” in anyones eyes - people have to struggle with those things everyday…