Opinion: The New ‘Black Feminist’

March 1, 2011  |  

While black women have always “held up the torch” for the black community in both activism, religiosity and day-to-day familial support, thousands of women are getting tired.  “There may be a sense of fatigue, I think that comes from that sense of support and uplift not being reciprocated,” says professor B. Afeni McNeely Cobham, Ph.D.,  a visiting assistant professor in the department of African and African-American Studies, Metropolitan State College.  Dr. Cobham also points to the pervasiveness of pop culture and how the notion of interracial dating and mating is becoming a viable option reflected in show’s like “What Chilli Wants.”

“Men are attempting to completely take our feminine power away from us in many insidious ways. Blaming us for the rise in single mothers, for the breakdown in the family unit is completely unfair. Young women give up themselves to have a boyfriend who is totally unworthy of them and allow them to cheapen and lessen their impact on the world,” says Brenda, an avid writer and BWE contributor.

But BWE has no shortage of critics from both black women and men. The BWE movement has been criticized for promoting interracial  marriage, hating black men, and selfishly abandoning the black community.  “Black men lie that women interested in feminism and womanism are man haters.  When we get empowered, black men don’t like it. Then you have these black women who have a backlash against it because they’re trying to please black men.  Deep down, they’re just doormats,” says Kola Boof, best-selling author and writer of the upcoming book, “The Hot Part of the Bible.”

Opponents use the same vehicles of communication to get their say too.  One such male blogger calls virtually all highly-trafficed bloggers of the BWE movement “sellout black women” who worship and seek the validation of white men, and believes that most black women are wholly undesirable by any race, including black men.  One particularly vile site called, Black Men Vent, shows a series of African American celebrities coupled with white women with a quote: “Are Black women doing something wrong for so many Black men to seek White women to be his queen?” And that’s about as tame a quote we can use for this piece.

“I think there have always been issues and separation between black men and black women.  Social media has made these issues more visible and given us the opportunity to address this issue.  But the larger issue is how we have raised our children in teaching them what it means to be a man and what it is to be a woman,” says Morgane Richardson, founder of Refuse the Silence, who speaks out about what it’s like to go to a largely white, elite college as a person of color, and was recently featured in More magazine.

Could it also be that black men are beginning to feel threatened by competition from rainbeaus of all race, color, and creed?

“Many Black men are deeply fearful of losing their soft place to fall. My philosophy is that men from every race should have to compete for our affections on equal footing. He receives no more or less consideration for sharing the same skin-tone. Compare this to managing employees or raising children -favoritism breeds entitled brats!” says Cherilyn Smith, author of “Black Women Deserve Better” and operator of a blog with the same name.

Christelyn D. Karazin is the co-author of “Swirling: How to Date, Mate and Relate Mixing Race Culture and Creed” (to be released February 2012), and runs a blog, www.beyondblackwhite.com, dedicated to women of color who are interested and or involved in interracial and intercultural relationships. She is also the founder and organizer of “No Wedding, No Womb,” an initiative to find solutions to the 72 percent out-of-wedlock rate in the black community.

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