Periodically someone will tell me that I think I am a “Strong Black Woman”. No. No I really don’t. I don’t think I have lived under structural oppression. I don’t think I have lived as the victim of racist beliefs. I don’t think I have experienced federal housing discrimination.
I’m not Black.
But I learn a lot from Black women and that’s a tricky thing. There is a line where if you adopt mannerisms, words, behaviors, or anything else from a Black women you are said to be appropriating.
Instead we should all limit ourselves to learning from white people?
How can we change things if we continue to act like everything that Black people know is only for Black people and instead if you want to learn from someone, go pick a white person.
Some of the very best teachers, spiritual leaders, and therapists I’ve interacted with have been Black women. Why should I pretend I have not learned from these wise people? Because they are Black? Because if I use a word they have taught me I am doing something wrong?
I am not stealing their words and trying to make a profit from it. I am trying to learn to live with a traumatized body. I’m trying to learn to live with brain damage in a very sick and twisted world.
Who in the fuck has more experience surviving in traumatized bodies than Black women?! (Which is yet another stereotype. Many Black women haven’t been traumatized that much.)
I think that Black people, and especially women, need to be fairly compensated for their contributions to society and embraced and used as models.
Is that appropriation? Well I don’t think that white people should go to their classes, pick up a few tricks, then put out a shingle teaching a mangled version of the lessons they learned. That’s appropriation. That’s fucked up.
I may admire the clothes, jewelry, or makeup tricks that Black women use… but I don’t try to emulate them.
I feel quite sad about not being “supposed” to emulate many hairstyles because with 3b curly hair I could definitely use access to some Black hairstyles. But I understand that Black women are still fired from jobs for wearing the hairstyles I could get away with… so I don’t.
Where are the lines? What is fair? What is right and what is wrong?
I don’t think I am a strong Black woman. I think I am a white woman who is trying to see the world in it’s myriad existence. I am trying to learn from some of the wisest sources available to me.
Let me tell you, I don’t get a lot of good out of listening to most white guys. I just… don’t. Is it fair?
There is no fair.
There are many other groups I “could” listen to more than I do. I try to listen to Latina voices. I listen to First Nations writers. I listen to folks who follow a variety of faiths. I listen to a lot of sex workers.
Mostly I listen to women. A lot of them happen to be Black. So periodically someone will say to me, “You think you’re a Strong Black Woman.”
What is this misogynoir bullshit? If I learn from Black women I must think I’m one of them? Dude, I’m not publicly performing to Formation or anything stupid like that.
No one would ever say that I thought a was a white man if I quoted them more often.
I think that it is kind of bullshit how often people comment negatively on the fact that I like to learn from Black women. If you think it is worthy of mockery, that’s about you. And it says nothing good. I know who and what I am. I don’t think I am something other than what I am.
If you can’t figure out who or what I am… maybe that’s about your perception of the world and not me.