Author Archives: kthom111
Before coming to college I don’t think I would have ever called myself a feminist. My opinion of feminism was skewed by the negative representations of what it means to be a feminist by the media. Changing my minor to women’s studies was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Upon taking these courses I was enlightened and I believe that these courses also helped me find my true calling. I can now confidently say that I advocate feminism and that I am a feminist. Being an african american feminist deals with a lot more than simply equal rights for women. Being an african american feminist means that I am a strong woman whose thoughts are shaped by ending oppression in all forms for all people. Being an african american feminist means that I can uplift black men and show young children that we are not defined by the negative stereotypes of us in the media, but that we are defined by the knowledge and strength that allows us to fight for a better tomorrow. Being an african american feminist means that I can give a voice to those who struggle to find theirs. Being an African-American feminist means that I can continue to fight the negative images and perceptions of my brothers and sisters by being educated and aware. Being an african american feminist means that I can be proud of my sexuality without trying to hide who I truly am. For these reasons and many more I am so thankful that the women who came before me made it possible for me to not only become an educated black woman, but a black woman who is comfortable in her own skin. Learning more about african american feminism and its ideals has overall helped me to become a better person and for that I am greatly humbled and appreciative.
During last weeks reading I came across a section that discussed the perpetuating cycle of slavery and how its institutions are still in place today. This statement is true. Slaves were brought to various foreign places and were forced to work and assimilate into a culture that could never understand what they had endured. As time passed, yes slavery had ended and we were free but then segregation was put into place, further isolating us. We could not live in the nice suburban neighborhoods that the whites did so we were forced to live on top of one another in what later became projects and “hoods”. Because our sense of identity was taken from us since the beginning, we only know what they want us to know. This is why education and other reforms are so important to the bettering of our culture. If we are educated, we learn to find our own voice and our own ideals. Just because they brought us in chains doesn’t mean we are destined to be chained forever. Education is the key to breaking these barriers that have been implemented for so long. In order to be educated we must stop the cycle that was put into place for us from the beginning. This means instead of staying in that “hood life” mentality, we must uplift one another and set our sights on the things they never thought we could accomplish. Lastly, I do believe that we contribute to the new racism by staying in the mentality they have given us for so long. People stereotype our culture based on how we continue to let the media portray us. If we collectively come together and combat these images more will be accomplished.
I attended this program with my boyfriend who has absolutely no interest in subject matters such as these. Surprisingly, he actually enjoyed the speech and the points made by Hill. I appreciated everything Hill said but I wish she would have discussed the actual law suit more in depth. I especially liked Hills ideals on how we as advocates of feminism can continue to reach our goals. One of her major points was that we collectively have to learn to give a voice to the voiceless. Along with this we must also be willing to listen and learn from those who dont’ have a voice. In order to get anything accomplished we have to come together and see situations from all sides of the spectrum. I think that I expected more from the program in general but I thought it was good for those who knew nothing about feminism or the things it encompasses to listen to the things she had to say.
I was recently watching Anderson Cooper and I saw that he was doing a new study on how children viewed particular races. The study was done on children ages six and thirteen. The children were shown two different pictures and were asked to describe the events that had previously taken place. The first picture had shown a black boy standing behind a swing with a white boy sitting on the ground in front of the swing. The second picture showed the opposite. Some of the children’s responses to what was going on in the picture surprised me. Many of the white children’s explanations for what happened were very negative, while many of the black children’s explanations for what happened were quite positive. In majority white schools the explanations were 70% negative. The overall point of the study was to show that the way parents interact with their children has a great impact on the way they view race when they are older. Children as young as five can pick up on racial differences even when we think they are not paying attention. It is important that we as leaders of the future generation teach those younger than us to accept people from all walks of life. Black parents are more likely to discuss racial problems with their children than white parents and this is a major problem. Racial issues should be something that is discussed across all spectrums therefore making it easier for us to coexist.
I was recently watching a news special on MSNBC where a group of republican men were discussing a statement Hillary Clinton made during her speech at the 2012 women in the world summit. Clinton stated that the “extremist” had began to wage an out right “war on women”, and she proceeded to state “yes it is hard to believe that even here at home, we have to stand up for women’s rights and reject efforts to marginalize any one of us because america needs to set an example for the rest of the world.” I could not agree with Hillary more! The idea that america needs to set the standard for the treatment of women is so true! In order for us to help others abroad we must first combat the problems we have at home. One of the commentators responses to this was that “we should be focusing on more important matters like the war in Afghanistan.” But was it not this same war in Afghanistan that caused an american soldier to massacre innocent women and children? So I ask where is our focus? With this being said, I must ask why it is that when men wage war or choose to attack a country they start with women and children? Those who often times have no voice for themselves are those who are so easily conquered. I do believe that there has been a war waged on women in our own american society and for this reason especially we must join together and begin to fight these injustices so that we may help our sisters worldwide.
Over the years there has been much debate about marriage and who should and shouldnt be allowed to participate. As a young adult in a relationship looking to one day get married it blows my mind the amount of people who do not take marriage seriously and who do not wish to ever be married at all. The sanctity of marriage is something that is constantly being debated. But who is it that has necessarily destroyed the sanctity of marriage? Is it the celebrities who divorce and marry at the drop of a dime or is it gay and lesbian couples who so desperately desire marriage? Although many believe that allowing those in the lgbtq community to marry is a sin and something that will diminish the sanctity of marriage, I do not. I believe that the biggest group of people who are diminishing the importance of marriage are those celebrities and other famous people who marry without dating for a sufficient amount of time and divorce without giving their marriage a try. It is also my belief that the media has played a fairly large role in making healthy relationships and marriages seem un-cool or not the best situation. They make it seem as if domestic violence and arguing is normal and shows true love.
Marriage and relationships are something that I believe should be a gift for all to share. Celebrities and those who do not take marriage seriously only make it harder for those who can’t marry to receive this important right. If we are going to say that it is sinful for same-sex couples to be married then we must also pay attention to those who do not take these oaths seriously and call them sinners as well. Overall marriage and the things that come with it is something that should be available for all. Instead of deciding who can and can’t get married, we must take a look at why healthy marriages and relationships are failing.
Sisterhood is a very important part of African American success. Growing up I never had a biological sister but my cousins and close friends became something like surrogates. I believe that this was a very important aspect of my up bringing as well as any young woman’s because it gave me a chance to learn new things and be open to new experiences. I learned that my experiences although similar to others, are unique to me. While the things we as African American women experience are unique to us it is also nice to have someone to share these experiences with. Being apart of a sisterhood is something that every woman should have the luxury of. In this weeks readings Belle Hooks states “When women actively struggle in a truly supportive way to understand our differences, to change misguided, distorted perspectives, we lay the foundation for the experience of political solidarity (pg. 67). Fighting against the injustices of society is much easier if we join together. Political solidarity is best defined in terms of support. We as African American women should want to support one another and defend the ideals and values that are important to us. Today’s society is full of competition and the need to be the best looking or best dressed. This is a result of how patriarchal dominance has distorted our society. If we are constantly in competition with one another we dismiss or ignore the injustices that are really taking place. With sisterhood these injustices begin to be brought up in fought against, but only if the sisterhood is stable and built on good values. When women bond we receive enrichment, and this enrichment in turn helps to create political solidarity. Political solidarity needs to become a top priority if we are ever to accomplish our goals.
In one section of the reading this week I came across a specific part that greatly interested me. It was in the section on double jeopardy by Frances Beale. Beale stated “In keeping twitht the goal of destroying the black race’s will to resist its subjugation, capitalism found it necessary to create a situation where the black man found it impossible to find meaningful or productive employment. more often than not, he coudlnt find work of any kind. and the black woman likewise was manipulated by the system, economically exploited, and physically assaulted…this predicament had led to many psychological problems on the part of both man and woman and has contibuted to the turmoil that we find in the black family structure.” This statement is so true! Growing up I had often wondered why we as black people have both the worst and best ideals of family. I believe that Beale accurately sums it up here. Because we have been pitted against each other since slavery times it is clear to see how the positive side of the black family structure has gone awry. But where does it end? how do we stop our children and grandchildren from entering this world where the “white man’s” privilege and capitalism do not reign supreme. Our focus on family and family struture is the first defense in combatting these problems. Whether a single parent home or a home with both the mother and father, defying the odds is definitely possible. With that being said, the excuse of not having a father around should never be a reason to give up on anything. My father was raised in a single parent household and he has been more than exceptional as a father to me. His values and ideals were positively shaped by his situation in that he turned the bad into something good. Strengthening family ties is on of the best defenses against the injustices of todays society.
As it reaches election time many are beginning to choose sides. This brings up an important question. Will Obama be getting your vote this election?
When Obama began his quest for presidency many immediately jumped on his train simply because he is African American. In my opinion this is something that has to carefully be taken into consideration. Yes it is a great achievement for us as a community but why is he recieving your vote? Is it simply because he is African American or is it becuase you actually pay attention to what he stands for? When voting for a president it is important to take into consideration what they actually stand for and if they have done the things they were expected to do when taking office. Yes Obama will be recieving my vote but I can confidently say that it isnt JUST because he is African American but it is because I agree with what he stands for and I believe he is the best candidate for presidency once again. It is important that we encourage people to vote but it is even more important that people know why they are voting and can understand the things that the person they voted for believes in.