Why I have decided to discontinue writing in this blog: My perspective on the state of BWE and Black Feminist/Womanist spaces

Recently, I found myself in a conversation with someone I was acquainted with from the so called Black Woman Empowerment spaces on my Google account. Though me and her had some discord in the past, I had moved on past it and forgave each other. But I did notice her passive aggressive taunts and subtle anger in her responses on the Google chat. It made me uneasy. However, it wasn’t until a friend of mine told me that she was basically gas-lighting and intimidating me. It dawned on me that she wasn’t someone to continue communicating with so I blocked her from my account. Hence my interaction with her  sparks the topic of the drama and mistreatment of Black women in these spaces and it intersects with the state of Black Feminism/Womanism and the so called Black Woman Empowerment spaces.

Infighting and backbiting is a major problem with women, regardless of their race. As in any other space that is predominately female, there was a lot of it in the Black Feminist/Womanist and the so called Black Woman Empowerment spaces I frequented. Some of these conflicts were based on a mere difference of opinion on a particular subject on the same thread. Much of these disagreements lead to arguments and fights. Unfortunately, there was a problem with group polarization and confirmation bias in the so called Black Woman Empowerment spaces. I found myself walking on eggshells when it come to expressing my opinions in these spaces; I would modify or change my opinions so that I wouldn’t be attacked. If I, or any other woman, expressed any differing opinions, one would be called a racist/sexist terms such as Mammy to silence her. How is this any different from the misogynist Black men,who call Black women heauxs and hoes for disagreeing with them? There were major rumors especially untrue rumors started by other women about other women. Especially the one rumor about me not being  a Black woman, because my Facebook profile looked fishy DESPITE the fact that I posted pictures of myself and used my government name as the name on my Facebook profile. Worst of all, I didn’t even know these women but they were starting rumors about me based on what they saw on my Facebook profile. Though I am aware that all women speak about one another, it hurts to see women, who profess to be ”pro Black woman” spread false rumors about other Black women. As for the woman I blocked, she actually played an active role in perpetuating much discord in these spaces.

Originally, I friend her on Facebook while she still used her government name. At first, I enjoyed my conversations with her and I related well to her when it comes to domestic concerns with our families. But I noticed somethings that were quite odd about her. She would always delete and make another Facebook profile but under another name or alias. She also was quite immature and lacked much experience that I would have expected a woman in her mid to late twenties would have. Something about her didn’t sit right with me. Then it came out that she had back stabbed a close friend of mine and spread a rumor about her. This friend of mine blocked her. But I decided not to give up on her because I had some sympathy for her due to the issues she went through with her family. Then she started another incident where she tried to friend Aysha Bee and some of the women picked up on her constant messaging women on social media. She was ousted from many BWE and Black Feminist groups. I cut her off because I found much of her actions suspicious. I went months without contacting her until she contacted me again through messaging. This time, she was quite vindictive and was always harping about the incident where she was ousted from many of those groups. She even took out her problems on me to the point that I tried to cut her off. She was persistent and used aliases to track me down and try to apologize for her actions. I accepted all of this until I contacted a friend about it and he suggested I cut her off for good, which I did.

Along with the infighting and drama I saw in these spaces, I am also disgusted by the misogynistic, classist and respectability politics leaning aspects of these groups. I saw comments and posts, that put down single mothers,  woman from lower echelons of society and overweight women. Though I used to frequent those spaces, I never agreed with many women putting down single mothers or overweight women. In fact, I had a lot of disdain for one of the posts that they had put out about a single mother with five children and three more on the way while her boyfriend was in prison. It was disgusting to read these remarks from these women, because they don’t know the full extent of this woman’s situation. Nor have they walked in these women’s shoes. I also disagree with their rhetoric that overweight Black woman are somehow a threat or a danger to the image of Black women. Though I am not overweight myself, I believe that it is much better to actively and helpfully encourage overweight women to lose weight instead of shaming them. However, a major hurdle to much of these messages is their disdain for women of lower income or working class background. I happen to be a college student of working class background. It offended me to see so many of these BWE gurus blaming working class and poor Black women for their lack of opportunities in education, housing, employment, healthcare and the workforce. None of these women took into account that there were many policies and institutionalized racism that held back Black people’s advancement in education, healthcare and housing in society. The truth of the matter is that acknowledging the effects of structural racism will make these women to realize that it was the same White men, whom they were propelling on the pedestal as saviors, that created much of these same problems that are being discussed. I believe it is a form of cognitive dissonance. This form of cognitive dissonance in the BWE spaces is the same cognitive dissonance many Black women have when it comes to their one sided and unrequited loyalty to the Black man. Only this time, their gods and saviors are White men. I wrote about this in my post, Trading In One Form of Oppressor For Another: Why I No Longer Look at BWE sites. To add insult to injury, many of their misogynistic language towards Black women, who disagree with them is also distasteful. Names such as Mammy being flung at Black women, who disagree with them, not only reinforces White supremacist stereotypes about Black women, it also says alot about the women, who use such terms to describe other Black women. Most of all, frequenting these spaces took up much of my time and energy and distracted me from my coursework as a college student. So I deleted my Facebook profile and stay away from such spaces o focus on school and getting my life together.

What is my opinion about the state of Black Feminism/Womanism?

Black Feminism/Womanism is a different philosophy from the so called Black Woman Empowerment philosophy. Womanism is a term coined by author, Alice Walker to distinguish Black Feminism apart from mainstream feminism. Womanism is a philosophy that discusses the issues Black women face when it comes to race and gender. Black Feminism/Womanism also discusses classism, transphobia, lesbianism and other intersectional issues Black women face. Black Woman’s Empowerment is an online movement started by the likes of Khadijah Nassif, Faith Dow and Halima Anderson. The Black Woman Empowerment is an online social justice movement that discusses issues that Black women go through, but it lacks the same approach to the racism and other intersectional issues Black women face that Black Feminism/Womanism entails. Often times, there is an overlap when discerning the difference between Black Feminism/Womanism and Black Woman’s Empowerment when it is brought up in discussions on online forums. Despite the similarities between their primary focus on Black women, these philosophies are different and should’t automatically be seen as the same thing.

I believe that Black Feminism/Womanism is in a state of stagnation. There isn’t many younger generations of Black feminists coming up to replace the likes of Alice Walker, Bell Hooks and Patricia Hill Collins. The few Black feminists that I have interacted with and seen didn’t seem genuine to me nor did they really understand the intersectional oppression that came with being Black and female in this country. Honestly, I believe that Black Feminism/Womanism has lost sight of what is really important:Black women coming together to solve issues that Black women, uniquely, face in society. Instead, there is alot of back and forth bickering about transgender rights and trying to see if a particular biracial woman is ‘Black’ or not. I felt like many of the women in these spaces wanted to assimilate into White society instead of dismantling the system, itself. It isn’t much different from the Black men, who preach against the evils of White supremacy, but aims to marry White woman and assimilate into society. Often times, I felt that many Black Feminists were quite selective in the type of Black woman that they would rally behind. If one feminist didn’t like a particular Black woman, she would bash or disparage the Black woman. I even saw many of them throw other Black women under the bus for the approval of non Blacks and Black men. Worst of all, many of these women still held misogynistic sentiments and views of Black women yet they made blogs and groups dedicated to Black women. In many ways, they weren’t much different from the BWE spaces either. Worst of all, many Black Feminists and BWE women operated the same way the likes of Tommy Sotomayor and other anti Black woman haters did when it comes to anything pertaining Black women.

What is my opinion on the state of the so called Black Woman Empowerment spaces?

Throughout the whole discussion, I thoughtfully discussed what I felt was wrong with these spaces. But how I really feel about the state of the so called Black Woman Empowerment is that it is in a slow rate of decline. At it’s peak, the BWE was helpful and taught Black women to get out of limited thinking, put themselves first, cut off those who aren’t beneficial to their livelihood and secure quality mates to marry and settle down with, regardless of the race of the man, in question. Sites like Muslim Bushido(I will admit, I am still quite fond of the site) were one of the primary blogs that were valuable to the Black woman’s mental and emotional health. I suspect that interracial blogger, Christelyn Kazarin helped derail the movement after she allowed commenters on her blog, Beyond Black and White, bash the founding members of the BWE Movement. Or was it the water down versions of BWE that promoted the White man as their savior? Who knows? Unfortunately, the message went from Black women, who are actually empowering themselves by making better choices to Black women propelling White man as their savior from societal ills. It was all so sickening. Even the actions of some of Breukelen Bleu’s followers led me to unsubscribe from her on Youtube, though I believe that the message behind her videos is something that Black woman should listen to. I believe the whole movement is going down a slippery slope due to the actions of the women in it and their overlooking systematic racism’s effects on Black women. At the end of the day, much of their actions will be their own undoing.

Most of all, I learned that the majority of Black American women aren’t particularly interested in forming a sisterhood. So I also learned that political correctness and identity politics doesn’t come into fruition if everyone else isn’t adhering to it. And that was the case that I saw in those spaces. Though I am completely done with the so called Black Woman Empowerment spaces, I am not sure if I could really call myself a Black Feminist/Womanist anymore either. So I guess it is best to focus on elevating myself by going to classes, graduate with my degree on time and focus on building up my career. After all, there isn’t any use letting  things like this get the best of us when there is so much more to do in life.

3 thoughts on “Why I have decided to discontinue writing in this blog: My perspective on the state of BWE and Black Feminist/Womanist spaces

  1. I know you’ve discontinued this blog, however, I’ve decided to make a comment on this final blog post. I disagree with your assessment of BWE, simply because of the repeated remarks concerning “white savior” and “white men.” Beyond Black and White isn’t a BWE site; but some of the messages overlap. I understand that you aren’t against interracial dating but this bothers you. Now for the other blogs by Faith, Khadijah, Evia, Breuklen Bleu, Neecy, Gina, Bougie Black Girl, Betty Chambers, Not Your Girl Friday, What About our Daughters etc. they focus more on self-improvement and less about relationships and marriage; thought it does come up.

    I’ve seen this movement grow over the past 8? maybe 9 years. I’m much older than you and I’ve read these blogs since their inception. These women received death threats and all sorts of drama ensued. I was told BWE began when the rape of an 11 year old girl in the Dunbar Village projects in NJ happened, but I don’t have any concrete evidence that this is a fact. My point is, before BWE, besides womanism and black feminism, there wasn’t a movement that catered to the specific needs of black women that was truly separate from black men. The first blog I read was Evia, and I believe that she’s the founder of BWE, not Khadijah, again I don’t know for sure. She’s much older than the rest of them and has grand kids. Then other blogs popped up with the same ideologies but with different spins. And it grew and it had impact.

    Anyway, that’s where I read about “dating out” the sad state of the black community and the thought process that held many black women back. It held black men accountable and if you read Breuklen’s posts, you’ll know that black women created this ourselves with our blind loyalty. I don’t think black women would’ve boycotted Birth of a Nation, if it was made 10 years ago; nor would they have spoken out against misogyny as much as they have. When rap music turned “gangsta” in the late 80’s early 90’s, C. Delores Tucker (an older black woman) bought stock in Sony Music, with the objective to stop the production of rap music that degraded black women; this failed but at least she tried. It wasn’t the right time. Now, 25 years later, we have black women waking up and I’m glad to see it. Now for the negative stuff. I’ll be blunt, that happens on blogs. All blogs. Regardless of race and gender. In layman terms, “shit goes down and it ain’t pretty” it doesn’t make it right, but it happens.

    Despite this, I think the good outweighs the bad. I was never close to any one on these blogs. They never knew my name or personal info. That wasn’t my thing. I already had friends. I liked seeing ideas being exchanged. I don’t agree with fat shaming, I have my own definition of femininity, I don’t wear make-up, I haven’t had bad experiences with black men but I empathize with others that have and I listened instead of judged; I grew up in a white community so my experience may be different, but I do see good in BWE. In college, I figured out how feminism benefited me; but it was really for white women; many of the things white women wanted, black women were already doing such as working outside of the home. And the black community became matriarchal, if you noticed, there are references to “big mama” but never a “big papa” there’s a reason for that. Yes, racism played a role, but black women aren’t being killed by white men, it’s black ones, and BWE is the addresses this. Do I think white men are saviors? Absolutely not, but out of all the races, they are the most likely the ones a black woman will end up with given how other races have strong ties with their own cultures and date within their race, not to say that white men are lined up around the block, but there are simply more of them in the U.S. I remember back in the 90s when black women would boast of “not needing a man” and the “strong black woman” ideal and that got us nowhere. If you noticed, even though white women were feminists, they still got married, stayed at home, and reaped the benefits of marriage (not all of course and marriage isn’t for everyone) but what I am saying is that they held onto to their femininity despite the bra burning, no shaving under arms, free bleeding, and slut walks. Though it’s up for debate how much of that feminine image is still intact, you get the point. Black women gave it all up and now we have to start over. Even the Fearless Girl in NY, is a cute, soft, little girl and not a big, masculine like woman. BWE shed light on us reclaiming our image.

    Evia’s first husband was to a black man, he was Nigerian and even after they divorced, they remained good friends, so I never thought she was anti-black male as others have accused BWE of. For me, reciprocity is key, and I won’t defend someone, who won’t defend me. I believe in saving yourself instead of the community because no one else will. Form allies with those who are loyal to you. Set your goals and stick to them. Don’t fall for any rhetoric that begins with “Black people don’t…” That will get you nowhere.

    For me, I gleaned what I could from the BWE blogs. I disagreed about a lot of things but agreed with many others. No movement can be the answer to everyone’s needs. BWE challenged my thinking. But these people and blogs were never my friends or confidantes: they were screen names and comments. Nothing more. I remember, a long time ago, a black blogger named Tammy Winfrey said that it was harder for her to call herself a feminist. Her blog no longer exists but I know she wrote a book called “The Sisters Are Alright,” I’ve been meaning to read it. Anyway, she spoke of black women’s issues in a non-BWE way and I liked her writing style, though I wasn’t on board with her stance on having children. You may want to check her out. You also may want to read “When Chicken Heads Come Home to Roost” by Joan Morgan, that also had an interesting perspective about black women (though the book is old, like from the late 90s, early 2000s). These aren’t BWE but they give food for thought. I’ve also been hearing good things about Chimamanda Adichie, though I’ve never read anything by her.

    In conclusion, from all of these black women, I’ve created my own tapestry. I’m not a staunch follower of anyone, I’m a free agent with my own my mind and that is more powerful than anything a blog or movement can give you.

    Good luck.

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    • I am going by what I have experienced and seen in these BWE spaces while I was on Facebook. I, maybe in my early twenties and still in college, but I have actually done some research on the history of the movement. And I also believe that this is the only blog post on the BWE that you read, because I have written many posts on her about the BWE Movement and how it got started. In fact, I am actually quite familiar with Breukelen Bleu and watched her videos until recently due to the actions of her wack job followers. And I have read Muslim Bushido, Not Your Girl Friday, and all of the blogs you mentioned but it was the actions of many of these women in the spaces that made me leave the movement. Just because I am young doesn’t mean I don’t know anything about the movement.

      ”I disagree with your assessment of BWE, simply because of the repeated remarks concerning “white savior” and “white men.”

      The White man is who many of these BWE women and Black female interracial daters see as god. I am not against interracial dating but the belief that the White man is the answer to all of Black woman’s problems. I felt that the Black Woman’s Empowerment bloggers wouldn’t discuss White supremacy, because these women would have to admit that White men played a role in Black women’s debasement and denigration in society. And these bloggers don’t want to do that. It is the same form of cognitive dissonance that ”pro Black”/Black Nationalist Black women have that leads to their refusal to admit Black men’s dysfunctional role in Black women’s plight in society. Many of these women would discuss Black male misogyny, colorism and sexism, which I agree with their analysis on Black male’s failures to protect Black women and Black children YET fail to address White patriarchy. I believe that BOTH Black male’s failures to protect Black women, Black children and Blackness and absent patriarchy and White patriarchal/hegemony has played a role in Black women’s plight in society. Our plight is multidimensional and intersectional, not this whole the ”big, black boogey man” is out to get the Black woman narrative that MANY of the forums that I have seen pushed. Even some aspects of the BWE message absolves White men of their role in Black female’s plight in society. It does Black women a disservice to overlook White supremacy and put White men on a pedestal.

      ” Yes, racism played a role, but black women aren’t being killed by white men, it’s black ones, and BWE is the addresses this. Do I think white men are saviors? Absolutely not, but out of all the races, they are the most likely the ones a black woman will end up with given how other races have strong ties with their own cultures and date within their race, not to say that white men are lined up around the block, but there are simply more of them in the U.S.”

      This quote proves my point about many of these women in BWE absolving White male patriarch’s responsibility in Black women’s plight in society. Yes, a Black woman is much more likely to be killed by a Black man, because majority of crime committed is intra racial. There are incidents of White male police officers attacking Black women and girls. Remember the incident in Texas in the summer of 2015 when a White male cop, Officer Casebolt man manhandled a young teenage Black girl? Or Sandra Bland being murdered by the police in her jail cell? There are also dangers navigating White spaces just like there are dangers navigating Black spaces. Having grown up around and live among White Americans, White American men put their women above any other race of woman on the planet. Every race of man puts their own race and culture FIRST except the Black American man due to his own issues with self hatred and inadequacy. The average White man may find a beauty like Gabrielle Union attractive but he wouldn’t believe that she is more attractive, than say, Jennifer Aniston. Even if an individual White American men dates and marries Black women, their loyalty is to their race and much of their money and assets still flow in and out of his community. The election of Donald Trump is an example of White America trying to preserve her privileges and ensure that White America remains prosperous at the expense of minorities. In fact, the study of American history shows that the wealth of White America was built off of the backs of African slaves. What is the point of collaborating with White male patriarch when he shows you everyday that he doesn’t care about or like you as a Black woman? How is this any different from the pseudo conscious Black women that wants to collaborate with a sexist, colorist Black patriarch? Not at all. In fact, I wrote an article about women, who only want to trade in one form of patriarchy for another, instead of liberating Black women from the shackles of patriarchy. https://blackfeministhaven.wordpress.com/2016/06/23/trading-in-one-form-of-oppressor-for-another-why-i-no-longer-look-at-bwe-sites/

      The BWE’s doctrine is mainly beneficial to Black women from upper middle class to wealthy backgrounds and fit the societal standard of beauty: thin, attractive, have long hair and well educated. And it helps these women open up to consider interracially dating and marry White men. Don’t get me wrong, I believe some of what BWE teaches can benefit working class and poor Black women, but there is a clear disdain and contempt for these women in the BWE spaces. I happen to be of working class background and lived in areas with high non Black populations. Though I found reading the BWE blogs helpful, I couldn’t overlook their stance on single, Black mothers, ”hoodrats”, overweight women, women, who didn’t fit the standard of beauty, and women from working class and poor backgrounds. As I delve more into it, I realize that there is much hatred for women like myself due to my background, because it destroys Black women’s brand, in their eyes. I suspect that you come from a middle class to upper middle class background since you found it beneficial to you.

      Being older than I am, your experiences are different from mine due to generational differences. Growing up in White communities, I was pretty much sheltered and isolated from what the typical Black American child went through. I had a hard time navigating White American spaces because I am Black and Black Americans hated me due to my West Indian background and being ”different”. I find more cultural ground with Hispanics, people of immigrant background, and West Indians, like myself. What many Black women go through in society relates somewhat to what the BWE teaches to a certain degree. In many ways, what the BWE teaches about focusing on bettering yourself, cutting off toxic people in your life, and getting out of limited thinking are beneficial to many Black women. It has helped me. There are other parts of their message that does lean on internalized racism, classism and respectability politics along with fat shaming, White man worship and problems with group polarization and confirmation bias that I believe also hinders Black women as well. Plus these women never get along with each other and bash women, who disagree with them. The movement is strife with too much isms and catering to White supremacy for my liking. If you find it beneficial to you, good for you. I respect your opinion as long as you don’t try to force your opinion on me.

      Personally, I don’t believe that the liberation of Black women comes by marrying into White patriarchy. I believe that the liberation of Black women comes from within. What I noticed is that many of these women in these spaces don’t love themselves so they take it out on other Black women. Once more Black women start to love themselves, then I believe it will be more plausible for them to align themselves with other Black women to dismantle patriarchy of all forms. I didn’t see this in the so called BWE spaces or the Black Feminist spaces that I have frequented so I will not waste my time on them any longer. Ultimately, I have also decided to move pass the BWE Movement and focus on my own well being first and foremost.

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    • By the way, feminism is not exclusive to White women. I will admit that Western feminism does primarily cater to the issues White women face in society, but there are many different kinds of feminism out there. Such as Womanism. Womanism is a term coined by Alice Walker to distinguish Black Feminism from the mainstream feminism at the time. Ideologically, my beliefs are much closer to what Black Feminism/Womanism than to the BWE. But I no longer identify as a Black Feminist/Womanist.

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