I’ve had some very interesting conversations with women of color since we created the SOUL Sistah Series page and promotional commercial for the first in the series of discussions on March 29th.
One woman whom I had asked to interview for our promo commercial declined on the grounds of personal loathing for the label “Black woman.” She was born on the continent of Africa and has a very different relationship to race than that of Blacks born in America. She said that she had experienced hatred and been ostracized by Black Women because of this. While I understood her reason for declining, I also understood why Black Women born in America would find her position offensive. I was probably one of those women not too long ago before I read Chimimanda Adichie. And to be honest I still felt a sting hearing the sentiment of not wanting to be identified as “Black.” So in a way I still feel that resentment a little but like I said, after reading “Americanah” I have way more insight into the experience of people of color not born in America and their difficulty with relating to our experience here. Being raised as the daughter of a Trini-born mother helps with that as well.
The other most recent conversation was one I had at work yesterday afternoon with a co-worker who did participate in the promo commercial. It started when she shared a bad experience she had on her previous job at a Black owned and run educational organization which lead to the sharing of bad experiences we both have had at other Black run establishments in Harlem that we regretted because we wanted so much to have the opposite experience.
Both of these conversations lead me to think about the roles these negative experiences play in what we as women of color believe about what is possible for us to achieve together, with one another and for one another. It’s like the old “Black women can’t get along” stigma. It exists to divide us before we even seek to reach out to one another. And it’s not true.
Which lead to this podcast.