Hold My Hand

Graphic courtesy of Edward Monsibaiz and Diana Amaya

Who am I? I mean really, who the hell am I? Am I the black woman who lays her edges and finally learns to embrace her blackness, or am I the artsy black girl who guiltily enjoys the aesthetic of gentrification and the white stigma that comes with it? Does this make me bitter?

Do I radiate an angry black woman energy because, while I’m for the power of the mother, the nature, I still can’t help but to stop my eyes from rolling when I hear the roar of a privileged white feminist?

I went there again. Daring to assert the unpopular opinion of not only a black person, but a woman. I’m not sure when I realized I am doubly oppressed, but it’s an entire truth. Women have all lagged far behind in equal rights, but I haven’t always known that.

It wasn’t until I was seventeen, a hostess at Chili’s, having dollar bills tossed at me, dodging awkward winks and tolerating the demands from tipsy middle-aged white men at happy hour to disclose to them my ethnicity, that I began to wonder where that left me. Where do black women fit in the feminist movement?

Can we sit with you white feminists? Can we scratch and claw for the rights that have been raped, beaten and denied to us as well? Because while it may be hard for you to get equal pay and compete with men, I walk into an interview and don’t even stand a chance. That professional woman over the phone, the one who knows big words and is eager to accept an amazing job opportunity, has brown skin and curly hair. She might have a bad attitude or is raising two kids on her own; do we really want her for our company?

You do. And I will tell you why; contrary to popular opinion, I probably make the best fit for your company. Because being turned away from a job that I know I am fully capable of doing, due to the brown glow of my skin, makes me hungry. Hungry to prove I am just as smart, just as fast as my white male competitor. Hungry to put the chains of double oppression underneath my stiletto, and gracefully crush it and strut off like the woman I know I am.

Untangle the strings of a feminist movement that is so interwoven that we don’t even notice who we’re marching alongside. Hold my hand, white feminist, and allow me to feel your pain too. Double oppression is oppression nonetheless; that is why one more time I will ask you:
Who am I ?

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