Holiday Giving #1

On Black Friday, instead of going shopping, I decided to make donations to groups whose work I support. It made me feel so good, that I’ve decided to continue giving in December in the honor of the holidays and all that jazz. It’s important, especially now, to help grassroots organizations as we prepare for battle next year when Trump takes office. It’s going to be a looong 2017.

This week I gave to SisterSong

“SisterSong is a Southern based, national membership organization; our purpose is to build an effective network of individuals and organizations to improve institutional policies and systems that impact the reproductive lives of marginalized communities.”

While mainstream/white feminism focuses on the issue of abortion, for women of color the struggle tends to be on the right to keep our children. From forced sterilization on reservations/lower-income communities of color to being able to indulge in alternative prenatal/post care (midwives, doulas, etc.)  Also, having equal access to birth control.

The organization asks for no more than $5 dollars in contributions. But more is always nice ūüôā Give if ya can!!

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Randomness: “no one remembered…”

As folks know, I’m about that zine/self-publishing life. I was pleasantly surprised when a good friend shared she was venturing into DIY (Do It Yourself) work. I know she has always wanted to establish herself with a major publishing company. She said it was I that made her fall in love with small press (yes!) I met Olivia Olivia a few years ago when I organized my city’s first women of color zine symposium. Olivia Olivia was a young woman who let you know she was in the room. We quickly became buddies as we were both foodies at heart. Olivia Olivia writes about her experiences as a Salvadoran author/activist.¬† In her new chapbook “no one remembered your name but i wrote it down” chronicles her time living in Berlin, growing up as an undocumented youth, and the death of a beloved sister.

A great addition to anyone’s zine/small press collection ūüôā

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Women of Color and Motherhood

“So, how do you like being a mother?” somebody/anybody asks me. I pause slightly and look up to the sky. I’m trying to formulate my words. The somebody/anybody eyes start to glaze over and they begin fidgeting.¬† I am not answering fast enough for them.¬† I am suppose to be happily extolling the virtues of motherhood, not pondering it deeply. Finally, I say it’s “interesting.”

I love my baby, I do. But like many new mothers I got the baby blues after he was born. There have been many late nights I have wrapped myself with my arms, rocked back and forth and muttered “what have I done?”

Becoming a parent means sacrificing your time, money,¬† goals, etc. It’s not that you will never have these things again, but it will be harder.¬† And when you become an older parent like I have (over 40), you really wonder if you will make it. While other folks will be done with raising a child, you will be dealing with a moody teen in your 50’s/60’s. Oh joy.

For mothers of color, there tends to be the typical parent concerns, plus cultural/community expectations. In the article “An Honest Conversation With Women of Color About Postpartum Mood Disorders,” mothers of color talk about their struggles¬† with motherhood. There are not a lot of opportunities for women of color to share these kind of stories. For many it’s the fear of not living up to stereotypes of being a Model Minority” or a “Strong Black Woman.”

The article was a moving read and made me realize how important it is for mothers of color to build a supportive network. Having a child can be a wonderful thing, but it should never be at the expense of our mental or emotional health. It’s okay to tell folks that being a mother is “interesting.”¬† We shouldn’t have to fake the funk to keep other folks fantasies of motherhood alive.

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My new love.

 

#solidarityisforwhitewomen

I don’t know how I missed this controversy. The hashtag¬† #solidarityisforwhitewomen was started by Karnythia, a black woman blogger. It grew out of her frustrations of white women feminists and their continued marginalization of women of color. Despite the rhetoric of inclusion, diversity, and “intersectionality” the feminist movement tends to still be dominated/controlled by white feminists. They haven’t been that eager to share their power.

Honestly, when a white woman tells me they’re a feminist (as a way to connect with me) I already know I will be dealing with some nonsense later on. Or white women tears.¬† White women tears is the not so inside joke of feminists of color. Basically, its white women who resort to crying when they realize a person of color won’t let them off the hook for their white privilege/racism.¬† These tears tend to be especially used against women of color, as many white women have bought into they are the “real” women and we are the fake ones.

In the words of bell hooks:

“All white women in this nation know that their status is different from that of black women/women of color. They know this from the time they are little girls watching television and seeing only their images. They know that the only reason nonwhites are absent/invisible is because they are not white. All white women in this nation know that whiteness is a privileged category. The fact that white females may choose to repress or deny this knowledge does not mean they are ignorant: it means that they are in denial.” From¬†http://stfu-moffat.tumblr.com/post/45677527617/all-white-women-in-this-nation-know-that-their

Most women of color have had to deal with white women tears. Especially black women. While all women of color are made into second class (sometimes third class) citizens to that of white women, black women are more likely to be used as the antithesis of white womanhood:

Photo from:http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/scarlett-ohara/images/27870938/title/scarlett-ohara-photo
Photo from:http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/scarlett-ohara/images/27870938/title/scarlett-ohara-photo

A lot of it has to do with slavery. In order to justify the labor exploitation/rapes of black women, we had to be “othered.” Historically, white women have benefited off the backs of black women. I bet the majority of black women have experienced white women trying to make them their personal Mammy. Hell, it happened to me just the other day.

I was trying to get my Starbucks on. One of the white women workers eased up beside me, as I was stirring my tea. She stared at my hair. “So, what hair products do you use?” She asked. Now, anyone that knows me, know I don’t answer non-black folks hair questions. I just don’t. So, I suggested to her, like I suggest to other folks, she should Google about black hair products.¬† She didn’t get the hint. She started carrying on about her daughter’s hair. I think she was trying to let me know her daughter was biracial. But that’s still not my problem. If you have a biracial child, it’s your responsibility to read books/Google about black hair culture. When the woman realized I wasn’t going to answer her question, she huffed and walked away. But, I didn’t give a damn. I was not put on this earth to be the educator of blackness to white folks. If Angela Jolie and Brad Pitt can learn how to do their adopted black daughter’s hair (or at the very least pay someone to do it), so can other non-black folks.

Am I hardcore?

Yes, but you have to remember I get put into these situations on a daily basis.  White women coming up to me out of the blue wanting me answer their questions, explain things to them, or help them with things.  I am not a freelance Mammy.  These situations are probably magnified, as I am a dark black woman, and the image of Mammy has typically been that of darker skinned women.

If white women don’t get angry (if you refuse to play the role), usually it’s tears.¬† And frankly, a lot it tends to be from so-called white feminists. The fact of the matter is feminism has failed women of color.¬† It will continue to suck until white women feminist get real with some of their issues (and do better outreach to teaching everyday white women to stop being oppressive towards non-white women ). Do I hate all white feminists? Nope. I have met some cool ones that are genuinely trying to be allies/check themselves. But, they are¬† just a handful. Most white feminists cling to their white privilege.

Any who, I went on this rant because Salon.com is starting a column for feminist of color. It’s the continuation of the¬† ¬†#solidarityisforwhitewomen¬† movement. If you identify as a feminist of color (regardless of gender),¬†submit something! ¬† I put the contact information under the “Call for Submissions” tab.

Good luck!

‚ÄúCrazy.Sexy.Life”

I always thought Oprah’s OWN would’ve started off with a bang, if she had appealed to women of color/black women.¬† Instead, she continued to pander to her white female audience, kicking women of color/black women to the curb. Not surprisingly,¬† her white female audience failed her. Now, she is turning to the group she should have reached out to from the beginning (IMO). The women in the new series “Crazy. Sexy. Life” seem like clich√© reality folks. But, I think it’s good to show diversity of black life, even if it doesn’t necessarily resonate with me. It’s amazing that two of the women have survived breast cancer:

The show will be featured on OWN Tuesday, Sept. 3 at 10 p.m, but doesn’t officially air until 2014.

Women of Color Zine Workshops

I  am the founder of monthly zine workshops for women of color. The purpose is to encourage women of color to write, engage in cultural criticism, and self-publish.

Poster by woc zine member Ebin Lee.
Poster by woc zine member Ebin Lee. Check out more of their work @ http://ebinlee.weebly.com/

Stay connected to us via our website: http://wocpdxzines.wordpress.com/

This summer, we are hosting our 2nd Women of Color Zine Symposium. Saturday, Jun 8th, 2013 @ Portland State University/Smith Memorial Student Union.  10am-4:30pm. The schedule is still being determined.

The event is free and open to the pubic. Allies are encouraged to attend.

Welcome

Hello….My name is Tonya J.

I am the creator of the zine “See Me: Issues that Affect Our Lives,¬† Acts of Resistance against Oppression, and Black Feminist Thought.”

What’s a zine? It’s¬† a take on the word maga(zine) and is a form of self- publishing. Read here to learn more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zine

The purpose of this blog is the same as my zine…to resist oppression with black feminist thought.