Abort, Adopt, Dehumanize: [Note to self: Edit Title]
[Insert – my story/preferred title:] Be Beautiful, Be Human:
BLACK Friday: A Human Discourse
As an American woman of color
I am allowed to be smart, but I can’t also be beautiful; I can be athletic, but not also smart or beautiful; gifted, but only if made possible through white charity; wronged or believed when I say I have been mistreated, again – but only if white advocates lead the way.
As an American woman of color
I am never allowed to be angry, depressed, or succumbing to the acts or under the influence of my oppressors – like my rapist or the bar-admitted, ivy league New York Law School staff who protected the white predator who attacked me outside of the women’s restroom of the law school campus during class hours. (Exhibits 1 to a number less than infinity is an appropriate insert here, to acknowledge the groups, numbers, faces, and names of white women who have ignored, vilified, and covered up complaints of sexual violence made by women of color, including when I reported being sexually assaulted and sexually harassed. I could fill a book with the names of these women who attack each time I named a male attacker.)Being denied justice, ignored, not heard, and turned away is not the same as not reporting a violation. Although, white Americans like to pretend women of color do not report the men who rape us – or report less than white women – if only to say white women started a movement in speaking up, but also to distract from facts that show that even when white women achieve C-level director status, abuse of women continues in that workplace. The fact is – not all women fight for women equally.
As an American woman of color
I am always responsible for my acts – but only when used against me to my detriment. (And any positive contribution I make will be linked to even the most remote evidence of white influence, because – as an American woman of color – I am deemed incapable of producing value independent of white influence.)
Not-so fun-fact: as an American woman of color, every interview I have had in the U.S. where the interviewer was a white women, the salary offer was 30% less (conservatively) than if the interviewer was male or a person of color. White female recruiters and interviewers also continue to be several times more likely to contact me for entry level jobs and entry level work (as if), despite my being a mid-level career professional with a graduate degree. To date, white women contact me for $15 per hour jobs. As if it costs less for me to start a family, pay rent, or to live. #unacceptable #endracism
Another not-so fun, inconvenient fact, American white women are the breed of white women who have found it most tolerable to inflict this dehumanizing treatment on another American woman (and if you let them tell it, it’s only a coincidence that I am a woman of color). Even without my ring, designer clothes – people of all races, income brackets, and social standing have extended themselves – it’s as if I find a melting pot of good people, innovation, warmth and welcoming ideas every time I leave the United States.
A human resources generalist openly discussed her drug dependency and then excused her explosive cursing at a senior employee as grief; a woman was applauded by newspapers for telling her co-workers she used sick days for emotional wellness; a woman hired two months ago as an executive chose a flight $200 more than 10-12 others, because the company will reimburse her travel and she’ll get flight miles and cash back towards even more free travel. Imagine the impact these women will have on the company and fellow workers in a week, month, quarter, etc. #equalpay for equal work only works if all women do equal work.
The only reason these women were not fired is because they are white American women. Women of color are fired, called lazy and underserving for far less. Racism is still the biggest bias I face as an educated woman of color in America. On top of generations of endured bias by the U.S. government and men, white American women now also raise the figurative whip or cast stones. I’d like to make a suggestion: if anyone deserves a day off or a pass because of grief or in support of emotional wellness, let’s give it to the groups of Americans who have been enslaved, raped, murdered, underpaid and wronged generation after generation by a dominant and oppressive class of other Americans. Any sect of humans who has and continues to endure unreasonable bias deserves this discretionary allowance to heal, recuperate – no questions asked, no fanfare needed – the same as when this discretion is used to benefit whites.
Despite – it has been a beautiful Black Friday. Despite the white commercial influence that now mars this day (American families of color do not heap the benefits and dividends raised on this day from the poor looking for a Black Friday break), we re-envisioned Black Friday as a celebration of the contributions of women of color and those whose voices have been denied, and as an extension of the gratitude we celebrated together with Americans on Thanksgiving. It is a desperate soul that heads out on Black Friday to reap material goods. All things considered, we have never been that desperate. For this I am grateful.
On Thanksgiving we truly gave thanks – as we do every other day – for gifts that were not given and cannot be taken away by our oppressors (my oppressors are a class of Americans).
Surrounded by other good humans, we are allowed to be ourselves – beautiful, educated, fit, well-spoken, well-reasoned, talented, gifted, strong, graceful, opinionated, courageous, dependable, inspiring, well-groomed, energetic, capable, and morally-inclined – and no one is threatened because we also happen to be women of color – in America of all places. No one discusses the costs of engagement rings, stock holdings, noble titles, or material wealth; we are of one mind, acquainted with the invaluable: and she who is satisfied wants for nothing. However, admitting and accepting that such women of color exists dispels the narratives used to relegate people of color to inferior positions for centuries in America. Also, white women and mainstream feminists in America propagate and knowingly benefit from these narratives, so that circumstances can improve for women who are white while excepting women of color with this so-called justification.
We – the more fortunate, despite our injuries – have the enormous responsibility of speaking up wherever there are practices that amount to genocide of embattled populations of women – like the acts of American society, including American feminism and some American women, that have for generations and continue to except and usurp the voices of American women of color to aid an oppressive class of women who then become aiders, abettors, and enablers to those who have oppressed our race and class for generations.
It is never acceptable for another race or person to usurp, exchange, deny, limit, or edit the voice of others. These practices must be aborted. Abort now. This conduct exceeds offense, it’s dehumanizing and oppressive. There is always a place for a dialogue about how ideas, culture, and people affect you – the individual – however, there is never a place for denying humans the right to have their own voice.
American feminists, white women, and men: I think, write, and speak for myself. My principles, experiences, and successes are mine. I can do without other humans speaking for me or attempting to link their struggle to mine – you do not speak for me, represent me, and you can’t possibly lead or inspire me, because you haven’t bothered to learn who I am or where I come from.
This body has not been cosmetically surgically altered.
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