Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Black Women Empowernment: The Responses

Thanks to all those that added their comments to the last post on questions of BWE.

With this post, I want to sumarise some of the points raised.

On 'should black women fight back/organize?'
2 Dinstict camps exist on this one. Some black women feel that black women should focus on individual liberation, and some because they feel that the given conditions (particularly a lack of will in the black female collective to seprate out and pursue their interests), that not very much will come out of any attempts to organize ourselves against black female image attacks and ridicule. The other group felt that something should be tried. On one of the last comments, the commentor linked such an effort to the fight for the sanity and preservation of young black girls that are coming after us and depending on their Big sisters to do something to change the 'atmosphere' surrounding being black and female.

A lot can be done on an individual level and each black woman needs to put in place her personal strategy towards getting her goals and life targets met (eg socializing in wider circles, not feeding into sterotypical black female behaviour, match making services etc).

Coherent and Clearer BWE work 
Many black women are willing to put time and money towards the BWE work, however a clear structure and organization of the work needs to happen so that the different roles can be identified and each faction can run with what they are supposed to do and carry out. I think that the lack of clarity and structure within BWE work might be fuelling a lot of the non commitment and fence sitting. If would-be participants know what they are expected to do and what is needed, presented in clear and concise terms, including estimation of the time committment required (eg write one email to ABC, drop five links at the A and B and C media websites etc) they are more likely to jump in.

I think the above point is key because it might require the fomation of a 'steering group', to set some kind of work plan and some tactical priorities. Clearly the task to structure the work of BWE in this strategically effective way is an all involving one that can take many months to emerge.


On methods
  • Guerilla Warfare style methods
  • Disseminating meme's that will catch on and capture public thought even spread among the comatose black female collective and wake them to their situation and the work
  • websites
  • Secret groups
  • Virals/Cartoons/Youtube etc
  • Defence Leagues
  • Allies
Fundamental problem
There isnt a critical mass of black women buying into their own emancipation and signing up to terms of a better and more fulfilled life for themselves, to give a greater momentum to BWE. This is either because they have not come across the BWE work and other ideas about living beyond race-womanhood etc or in some cases black women have totally bonded with or fully identified with the norms of their oppression.

For BWE work to become a felt part of the larger thinking of bw, more effort needs to be made to spread the message particularly with on-the-ground presence in such areas as book clubs (setting up around reading and discussing the BWE philosophy), black female forums, church groups etc (some do exists eg; 'Free your mind' lectures). Black women need to be encouraged to take up this vital arm of the work, in whatever small way they can (eg suggesting to their book clubs books and reading from BWE, setting up forums and groups eg in Universities and colleges etc). A strategy for this aspect of the work is necessary as this is a sensitive area and has a risk attached.

Observation
A number of piooneer BWE are growing tired and would want to see and feel the young ones get into gear with this message and fight, particularly as the young ones have an understanding of more modern technology, and ways of reaching far and wide. They also are still linked into certain networks and websites that the older ones are unaware of and maybe have disconnected from (some young ones visit sites like Gossip etc that some older ones would not feel comfortable with or would just feel is a waste of their time) because that is their age and that is what they do and find relevant and ineteresting. The jaded feelings of the older need to be counterbalanced by the youthfull optimism and zeal of the yonger ones, but not simply using blog formats and websites but finding new and innovative methods.

The piooners of BWE however owe the up-coming BWE leaders a more coherent structure along with some sense of direction and strategy (including definition of terms and aims of the work indeed a clearer vision for BWE work).


To be Continued.....






 
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11 comments:

Bellydancer said...

I agree with working on certain issues pertaining to black women's empowerment on our own individually
due to the fact that whenever bw try to come together to help each other some women in the group will always follow the mantra of "lets save the black family, men, community etc.." but do not seem to want to work on saving or advancing themselves. Also outside people (black men) will try to influence the sphere of thinking to "well black boys need help just as much as black girls or black women cannot exist without us" even black elders will start whining about ole whitey and how bad things used to be until black folks worked together and how black men and women came over here as slaves any old excuse other then the fact that black women have truly been abandoned, abused, pimped out, sexed out, neglected and discarded from the community for all sorts of reasons. Black men did not discuss their intent publicallly when they started leaving and marrying non-black women in droves nor did they talk about it when they started to remove their financial resources from the black children they left behind so no if we need to do something for ourselves we can do so collectively but quietly.

Mary said...

"A number of piooneer BWE are growing tired and would want to see and feel the young ones get into gear with this message and fight, particularly as the young ones have an understanding of more modern technology, and ways of reaching far and wide."


I do have to admit i am taken aback by this statement, i mean, when did this BWE start for the pioneers to be tired/exhausted/ whatever???? so basically, the pioneers are ready to pass on the torch before even any tangible work has been done??? if anything, the old and young should be working together to ensure that the really young ones don't have to suffer as much, that is if we really want to see changes...

this rubbed me the wrong way cause older africans usually want the younger generation to fix their mess. if you ask older africans what to do about africa, a lot will say God will do something and then they'll switch to how the young people need to do something about africa. i know being young is great, but last time i checked, i nor any of my age mates have magical powers, we simply don't. with all of that said, i think it would be nice if old and young BW could work together to set up something tangible, then pass on the responsibility to the next generation. this is a BW issue, not a generational issue. again, it's a BW issue. but to even mention that the pioneers are ready to pass on the responsibility, at this point, is kinda ridiculous when barely anything has been done, a foundation has not even been set yet. that was just my opinion

Oshun said...

Hello Halima!


@ Bellydancer

I agree that it could be both/and. I also think that as we grow we can strategize on how to anticipate/deal with antagonists.


@ Mary

If that is the sentiment of what some BWE Pioneers feel - there is nothing you can do, but accept it and keep things moving. I suppose no one is going to do anything forever. Perhaps in their minds they sowed the seed and expect for us to keep the weeds out, fertilize, and get things growing.

In a way that is an awesome compliment, that they feel there are enough younger women out there who are capable enough to move things forward.

cool_splash1 said...

I agree with working on certain issues pertaining to black women's empowerment on our own individually
due to the fact that whenever bw try to come together to help each other some women in the group will always follow the mantra of "lets save the black family, men, community etc.." but do not seem to want to work on saving or advancing themselves.

Then separate from that person. If you see that person or any persons starts going on those mantras then that means that person is not like minded.

I do have to admit i am taken aback by this statement, i mean, when did this BWE start for the pioneers to be tired/exhausted/ whatever???? so basically, the pioneers are ready to pass on the torch before even any tangible work has been done??? if anything, the old and young should be working together to ensure that the really young ones don't have to suffer as much, that is if we really want to see changes...

Why so? Many of the pioneers or on the verge of leaving the blogsphere. Some already have. You say why pass the torch before tangibile work has been done? And I ask why not? Each generation is supposed to bring to the table more than the previous.

There's only so many times you can repeat yourself or do so much work until finally you say wow it's time to go. Khadija told everyone that read her blog that she would spread her message and then when it was time she would leave and she did. Now yes she has a new site, but it's slightly different focus.

this rubbed me the wrong way cause older africans usually want the younger generation to fix their mess. if you ask older africans what to do about africa, a lot will say God will do something and then they'll switch to how the young people need to do something about africa.

Well hon that's because the young are the future. And while those Africans worked to make the continent or country they wanted it to be it didn't happen the way they thought or wanted they understand that it's going to take the young to keep it going.

, at this point, is kinda ridiculous when barely anything has been done, a foundation has not even been set yet. that was just my opinion

There is a foundation to start on. These BWE blogs and books have etc. are here so that the new gen can add new things to it that the older gen didn't think of. Many things have risen even when it had a shakey start. As I said before the new gen adds more to what the older gen didn't. In other words your great great grandmother worked hard so that her children would be an extention of her (they w could do better be more educated etc.) and their children would do the same and so on and so on. Or with Africa Everytime a new kingdom or King reigned or when a new kingdom rose up while another was faltering from Ghana-Songhay the more education grew, not only that, but Soni Ali Ber (I think he was the one) wanted Sankore to include the traditions of west African (and who knows possibly others as well)because was the people's culture and traditions and those contributed to the learning as well again building up a new form of education. This may seem like a jumble of talk, but what I'm saying is that each stage will always bring more and new things to the table.

Anonymous said...

Mary is it?

All due respect but my first question is, how long in your opinion should it take?

Who in the hell are you to say "its kinda ridiculous when barely anything has been done, a foundation has not even been set yet." What have you done for the movement to make you feel that you have a right to say this or that?

I don't know if you realize this or not but Halima was the very FIRST Black Woman Empowerment blogger, then came Evia and shortly after many others, thus inventing and re-inventing the basic concept.

Do you realize how much writing/rewriting, inspiring, and promoting is involved? Yet at the same time receiving daily bashing and hate mail from men and women from all races. Do you know how tiring and draining that is? Do you realize how many times some of these women felt it was useless and some have even quit only to come back because many of us begged them to come back?? I’m sure you also don’t realize how many folks have actually gave up BWE blogging within the first 6 months. However folks like Halima and Evia have stuck it out (making little to no money at times) after several years.

Girl BYE

tertiaryanna said...

Mary,

i mean, when did this BWE start for the pioneers to be tired/exhausted/ whatever???? so basically, the pioneers are ready to pass on the torch before even any tangible work has been done???

This isn't a fair critique. The BWE bloggers have done a lot - it's not a small amount of work to blog for a year or more about BW issues.

Figure if someone is posting a few times a week, they're not only writing, they're getting the information, plus moderating the comments and discussions that happen there. Not to mention handling the backlash associated with that kind of effort.

Consciousness raising is work, if for no other reason than the dedicated time spent to get it done. I'd be surprised if the BWE bloggers spent fewer than 5 hrs/week on the blog alone.

Multiply that over a year, and now we're talking the equivalent of over 6 40-hour workweeks to get that done.

Honestly, I get tired even reading about some of these issues after an extended period of time. I sometimes need a break from even thinking about it - it's emotionally exhausting to be in that headspace for a long time, if I'm really processing the information.

I can imagine that the actual bloggers who are actively engaged on these issues will have energy levels that wane over time.

Bellydancer said...

It would also help to break down what areas of work black women need help in.

Education: Young black girls need to value education more and be encouraged to stay in school and learn as much as they can. Visits to the library should be encouraged when school is not in session. College bound women need to seek out mentors if they can and keep your eyes and ears open in regards to financial aid or scholarships.

Careers: Do not be discouraged about the economic/ job forecast.
If you need to change careers than do as as a matter of fact new job opportunities are usually created whenever some dry up. Be open minded about relocating or doing something you have never tried before.

Personal Time: Ladies please use personal time for yourself. Get to know you and what makes you content. You do not have to spend every waking moment of the day worried about everyone else. Get regular health screenings as you age. Stress has become so normal for black women we do not realize it is killing us with high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.

I am sure there are other catagories but I was just trying to lay a blueprint some ladies need help in one area more than another.

NijaG said...

Bellydancer said:

I am sure there are other catagories but I was just trying to lay a blueprint some ladies need help in one area more than another.

***********************************

I would add the following:

Human/Social Psychology:
I truly think it's important to understand these areas in order for BW to navigate their lives more successfully on an individual and social level. The earlier a woman can understand the better for her.

A major sub-topic of the above for most women, especially black women, is understanding
MALE PSYCHOLOGY.
A lot of ancient wisdom from our fore-mothers has been lost, forgotten, or just discarded when it comes to male-female dynamics and relationships.

If you don't have good role models who can teach you these things, then look for books and online/RL communities geared towards more old fashioned courtship and relationships. As we have seen, the blase modern ways most women have tried to handle relationships have not done us much good. Women are the ones losing out greatly in the modern dating/marriage game.

Anonymous said...

"Collective defence protects the individual. Individual defence destroys the individual" Seven Samurai.

I would also add Khadija's observation that stealth and silence are most effective.

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea. I see a tide turning, but we still need voices and a lot of them!

I'm trying to do my part in small ways - rebuttals on Youtube videos, encouraging BW on BW message boards. But it's on such a small scale that I do not know if it helping or not - or if anyone is listening. And I'm facing resistance, it's understandable why pioneers are growing tired.

I have ran across a couple of new BWE sites and I have found a highly active forum regarding these issues. The forum is HUGE, with a wealth of information, filled with BW, WM and other non-BM, even some BM.

I found another forum that while it is not a BWE site, it takes an honest and realistic view of the AA community. They talk about the problems with both BM/BW and what can be done about it. I can honestly say the site is unbiased in wanting to change the course of the AA community.

Yet I am leery of giving this information out. With leads me to my next point...

Caution. I think that whatever plan that will be set in motion between the BWE groups, we need to inform all members involved to use caution. We all know how angry, hateful and even violent the naysayers can be BM & BW alike.

We need to have tactics on how to deal with these people and what situations can/should be avoided. If you are not careful, people can find out any and everything about you - including where you live. I think you all know where I am going with this.

Our naysayers are EASILY provoked and saying the wrong thing (which 100% subjective) can lead to grave consequences. I'm not trying to strike fear into peoples hearts, but my standpoint comes from the philosophy of being a realist.

Once we really began to mobolize with more BW coming on board and BW/WM IR start to skyrocket (and they will, it's already happening), I really do fear that there will be increased verbal and even physcial attacks on BW.

One blog that I visit, laid out a 60 plan to help BW move out of AA communities. They also have tips on how to buy homes for pennies on the dollar. This is good and this is necessary. BW are extremely vulnerable and are more likely to be killed or assaulted by a BM, then any other race.

While creating a plan to help change the fate, image, and lives of BW - we must stay focused on safety. The better we BW do as a group, the more desperate and cruel our enemies will become.

I have already made sure that I have complete anonymous presence online. I do not have a Facebook account, but if I did, I would not include my beliefs on BWE for all to see. Be careful ladies...

This will be much like an abuser who is losing control over his victim. Sometimes the abuser does kill the victim who had escaped. These BM and their apologists are playing for keeps, they will not voluntary let BW excel. Please remember this, the threat is real.

Halima said...

Hi Anon 4.40, please do send me the links of any of the empowering/ment blogs for bw you come across. i am hoping to compile a recource page in the near future.


You can email me (see email address beneath each article or at side bar), or simply leave them in the comment section.

Thanks