Just to put this out there first:
Does anyone have experince of living and working in OZ.
If you are a black woman; American, UK etc woman who has experienced, lived in or relocated to Australia I have a young black woman who would like to get in touch to get some information. She has been inspired by our BWE forums (which she has read since 16 years and she is now in her early 20's) to make the world her oyster. Please send me an email if you have any info (see my details at side bar or below)
New BWE discussion forum:
A black woman on our BWE network has created a network/meeting ground for forward-thinking BW and their admirers. The link is: http://blackwomenlivingwell.prophpbb.com/
My last post and the responses to Prof N and AHA
Let me say that I am taking some time to digest the responses that I got in relation to the image I used in my last posts. Some folks had all sorts of ideas and went into all sorts of tangents about the use of Prof N image because 'his romatic situation with AHA wasnt ideal'. There is so much to unpack about how that discussion in my previous post went down because I feel there is something deeper at play that makes many bw react the way they do. Jamila has also written a post on the topic, go to Double standard? to discuss and leave comments. It should be a good debate.
I wrote this post at the beginning of the year but there seemed something that was 'missing' so I let it sit for a while.
My question to you is, what do BWE empower black women for anyway? I ask this because it is easy to bandy about the term empowernment or empowering black women. It has indeed got to a point where empowernment has lost its meaning. Many of us can see that many of those places that claim to 'empower' or be for empowernment of black women leave a strong sense of being anything but! They may say it but the the advice offered suggests they have a very strange definition of what it means to 'empower black women'.
In my humble opinion, BWE is about enabling black women access the best possible life they can here and now. Write that down.
Yes the best possible life is an individually defined thing, however we can analyse ‘happiness’ and contentment along the same general lines we can for others (so don’t let anyone convince you that black women are such different and exceptional species that they don’t want or require love, marriage, commitment, support, money etc the way others do, it is a trick!)
BWE are convinced that bw can have a good and fulfilled life in the now no matter what obstacles and hindrances there are out there in general society for bw. This is why BWE has a clear focus on getting the skills, getting the knowledge, getting equipped and strategically positioning and manoeuvring oneself to ‘attain.’ We even talk about getting ‘lean’ for the journey.
Other formats of activism work for bw put a great emphasis on black women confronting and wrestling with a great many oppressive and unjust forces, one after the other, for themselves and for everyone else in order to transform the society. Black women who follow this path are pummelled and drained and these activities hardly leave time and space for bw to focus on adapting in order to achieve something for themselves from the current set up, indeed the notion of bw adapting to achieve does not sit well within the general perspective of ‘fighting the powers.’ This is why many black women are in a state of constant confrontation and battling of the powers, with the attendant anger towards the world and an attitude of bitterness pervading their lives.
Indeed BWE preach balance and that bw should take time to live in the society even as they do their bit to oppose injustice whereas under other activist and empowerment traditions fighting injustice and reshaping the world is their main duty. Its about time black women lived a little!
Be like a Bird
If there is one illustration that captures what black women should be about I believe it is one of a bird on a nest. Now I would recommend that you find an image similar to the one below and put it up somewhere were you will see it frequently, on a fridge door for instance etc.
The reason why I advice this is because it will become a powerful symbol of what you are going to be all about from now on; building your nest. I believe we all need to be about building a nest. Black women build your nest with care and focus!
I don’t think that many of us realize this but we are all essentially building our nests; our futures if you like. If you build with purpose always in mind that whatever you are about now, whatever you are engaged in is going towards what your ‘nest’ will finally look like, you will become more effective and efficient and this knowledge will prevent you from wasting time on things that are not important and don’t build in to your nest goals.
Consider a bird building a nest
Another reason why I think the bird-nest analogy is important is that it will help bw zone in on what is important and the items and ingredients necessary for their future.
Consider a bird gathering twigs for its nest. It knows what size the nest should be and how strong etc and so armed with this vision it goes looking for the right twigs to give it its desired nest! When it chooses a twig it tests it against the ’required’ characteristics of the nest. It rejects those that don’t give it what it will need (e.g. weak twigs, twigs that are too small). It looks for the desired length and cross section as it flies from branch to branch in search of the right material. So much engineering, thought and plan -with an end result in mind-goes into the project of nest building.
See when you have a strong vision about what you will require for the future, it acts as a natural sieve, a natural filter against things that are just not going to contribute to your broad goals. You take A but leave B, you acquire D but leave C on the shelf. Many of you are wasting such precious time and getting distracted by this and the other. If you had a clear vision of type of ‘nest’ you want to build and even before that, recognize that you are and we all are building some form of nest whether we are aware or not, then you are more likely to streamline your activities and save precious time!
At what point do you want to occupy your nest (I am talking time frame here)?
If you know what you are building and what you want to build, you will collect the right material and filter out the wrong. Some of us are all up on every website, every blog, every church etc etc just acquiring all sorts of ideas, approaches etc that we are essentially confused about what to use, even what direction to take next. An effective approach to life (what path to follow), can simply be achieved through understanding what the end goal is.
Everything and anything can sound sensible and relevant unless your nest specifications winnow out what isn’t relevant for what you are aiming to build.
For a good example I believe in the fight against inequality and racism etc however I wont bog myself down with sister soldiering for the race. There are dozens reasons why I wont however of key mention is that I have to live and make the best of life now and in addition I am at a time of life when I require absolute focus on my personal goals and not be involved in dissipating my energies here and there. So while the talk of ‘fighting white hegemony’ and all that can resonate with me on a level I don’t sign up for battle duties or throw myself into such activities except when there is a specific and strategic opportunity for doing so. I don’t do it as a way of life it doesn’t pay.
What about nest adjustments to your vision?
Even if at some point you think there is a need to restructure or reshape some aspect of your nest (because we all don’t know it all from the beginning), at least your initial vision gives you a basic structure to depart from or to tinker with.
Think about your nest (the general life you want for yourself which includes social, financial etc conditions you want to be enjoying in your life), then work back from there and come into the future, understanding what you need to be about, what you need to be doing and acquiring to live that future life.
Work from a vision, work from a plan and have a time frame.
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