Saturday 18 July 2015

Another Angry Black Woman Speaks.....#feminism #SandraBland #SayHerName

I'm white, Irish, privileged and middle class, educated and while I'll never be rich I've never suffered true poverty. That is my disclaimer, because whenever anyone writes about someone else's experience, someone else's point of view, they risk bringing a patronizing layer of filter to the issue. I can't say I know what it is to be a woman in a developing country, or to have a disability . I know what it's like to experience racism but I don't know what it's like to experience daily racism, at first glance, in a million insidious ways. It's not my place to speak for black women; my sisters in feminism share many experiences with me that we can freely explore but I will never know how it feels to be them any more than they can say they "know" what it was to be Irish in Britain in the 80s. It's not my place to pretend I do.

But a lovely friend shared her frustration at the following and unruly poetry made itself in my head and I wrote it down and now I rely on her charity, and yours, to allow it stand, with the above in mind.

Inspired by Kazi

Another Angry Black Woman Speaks And Makes Us All Uncomfortable

She pauses.
Don’t think I’m being aggressive, it’s not that -
I’m not saying you are the same, I’m not -
Just that – one more person dead for being Black
In the wrong place, at the wrong time? How can that happen?
And yes I know not all police/white/insert your demographic
Are like that, I know you’ve never done it,
But it’s hard to read and watch and fear and think
What the hell is going on? And then
When I talk to white friends, I see them stiffen
Instead of listen, And it’s the body language,
 the expression
The veiled reception of my words that says
Oh no, another (she’s such a, so very much a)
I can see it coming
“..Another Angry Black Woman.”

She stops, and sighs. I know, I say tentatively
Well, obviously I don’t know, but I can glimpse
If a woman talks at all, passion is hysteria
Emphasis is aggression
Strong words are criticism/harsh/giving out
The dreaded
“going on and on about it” -
And I can see, from over here, how that is amplified
For non white, or poor, or gay
And our friends agree, oh my god yes
They say,
I can totally see your point.

We move on,
The topic tactfully, skilfully changed
Lighter moods prevail, we rail no more at fate.
But later, I get a call / text/ pm
“omfg what did you make of that?
Why was she going on about it to us?
I’ve never been racist! I don’t see colour, you know that!!
She made us all uncomfortable, and after you left
We were all talking, you know the way
She used to be a laugh but don’t you think…
I don’t like to say it
But hasn’t she become…”
And the words are unsung, hung by hesitation
But I hear them so loudly they scream.

“another angry black woman," that's what they mean


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