I didn't set out this week to write a Black Feminist Manifesto. It wasn't my intention to rally up the Sisterhood with the "I am Woman Hear Me Roar" battle cry. Don't get me wrong, we are awesome though. We totally rock and if we wanted to get matching t-shirts and cabbage patch backwards down Pennsylvania Avenue to "Sisters are doing it for themselves"… well let me know when and I'll order up the frozen margarita machine. I really just wanted to squash the negative rhetoric, get a few things off my chest and share an anecdote or two. And I kinda thought I did that, with far more impact than I expected.
But… wow! Along with the great uplifting and supporting comments came the blowback. Thanks to my readers' passion for the subject, the post calling for a halt on the Black Girl Beatdowns was retweeted and reposted all up and through the internet. Essence.com picked it up, it was "buzzed up" at Yahoo, landed on Digg, Facebook, Twitter, Technorati, Live Journals and places that I didn't even know existed. And I'm thankful, I really am. It's every writer's goal to have their work read. Of course we prefer if it is universally hailed and loved but understand when it is not. And this post most definitely was not. I read some of the comments, some of the tweets and all of the emails sent to me. And though I did not answer a lot of them directly, I thought I'd share a few of my favorites here with my thoughts. Okay, my super snarky thoughts. Ya'll know I try to avoid the super-snark but it's been a long day and I lack my usual diplomacy and tact:
Rebecca on Yahoo! said - Single black women would get more respect if they: 1) didn't have children while single. 2) didn't expect their mothers to raise their children. 3) not be so vocal about their private lives and/or lack thereof. said by a single white woman.
Hey Rebecca, thanks so much for your insightful commentary. Stereotype much? In response I say, I don't have any kids. Therefore my mother isn't raising my kids. And I'm assuming you would like black women to be less vocal about our private lives like… one of those Kardashian girls, Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton… someone like that? They sure lead by example. Oh and thanks for letting me know you are single and white. I was really interested in that part.
Mr. PantsALot (almost enough said right there) emailed to say: Another mouthy black woman whining. Get a job, lose some weight, eat less chicken and learn to give decent head. Then you'll get a man. You and your blog serve no purpose.
Hi Mister Pants, I'm assuming from your note that if I were a size-four mute making seven figures, snacking on baby greens and swallowing cucumbers whole that we'll be cool and I will then serve a purpose? I'll get to work on that right away because you seem like a catch I'd hate to miss out on. Call me, boo!
On Twitter from a woman who proclaimed herself to be a modern day Incan-Amazon worshipper (I don't know ya'll, I just don't know): You should own your womanist, feminista standards instead of waiting for a man to define you. Men will steal your essence and block your path to the sun whose rays empower and strengthen us. Amazonian woman bask in our self-sufficiency and only ascent to their true queen status when they rid themselves of all men except the ones we birth. You are a sad excuse for encouraging women to depend on a man. Wise up before it's too late to reclaim your soul and body.
Uh Miss Amazon Chick: What? I'm confused and a little scared. There's something both condescending and Oedipal about what you spent fifteen minutes typing to me. I would ask more questions but I find myself terrified of the answers. Since it appears I will miss out on my true queen status, I'll settle for Duchess – wouldn't turn down Countessa status either. Good luck on that sun ray thing though.
On Live Journal Mark shared: So you basically can't get a man so you hate them, why share your pitiful life with the rest of us. Who cares? This is why I date white girls. Yeah I said it and yeah I'm black. What about the fellas, we catch holy hell from the media too, I don't hear your whining about that. Get a life. Peace.
Mark, No one is fooled when you flame throw and then wrap up with "peace". Um, so you have never been on my blog and didn't take the time to look around, huh? You missed my whole I Love Black Men Week? You missed me saying you should get love where you find love, if your love is a white girl – more power to you. Bouge Rule #1 – Bouge is Love… you keep it classy.
For the record, I know black men are catching hell in the media. I see an Ivy League educated Noble Prize Winner in the White House catching hell all day, every day! Let's face it – this is a media-driven society and 24/7/365 news needs to be feed. Nobody escapes the media microscope. Personally, I was a lot happier when I knew a bit less of everybody's business. I just happened to write about single black females… because I am one. We write what we know.
Good readers, do not be dismayed – in one email Tisha from the ATL wiped all the "constructive feedback" from my head. Here's what she wrote.
My husband passed away in Iraq over two years ago. Since then I have really struggled raising our seven-year old daughter. Not financially but keeping her grounded and positive without a strong male figure. She worries about me, I worry about her. I come home from work, get food on the table, get her settled and then finally pop open my laptop with a big glass of wine. The blogosphere is where I go to unwind. I'll come back to that in a second. My daughter and I watch the morning news shows together. One day last week when I ran upstairs, she caught wind of the story about single black females dying alone. On the way to school she told me she never wanted to get married and leave me. I asked her why and she said she didn't want me to end up alone eaten by cats. You know that was a bolt to my heart to hear those words coming out of her young mouth. I told her not to worry about it, it wasn't going to happen. That afternoon she came out of the school dragging some grown man with her. My child had walked up to one the teachers, grilled him and asked him if he wanted to date her mother. You know I wanted to die when she pulled that man up to the car. Man had the nerve to be cute too. Everyday since she asked me what I'm going to do so I don't get eaten by cats. Last night I read your blog. I printed it out and read it to her this morning. She smiled and said Oh Mama you can take your time finding a new man or you can be okay alone. I said yes I could. She was happy. Unfortunately she strutted up to cute teacher and told him My mama doesn't need you anymore, she's gonna be okay. So I thank you Ms. OneChele, your blog post gave me and my daughter what we needed to make it through another day. Thanks , Tisha in Atlanta
As I dab my eyes with the Kleenex let me say – Tisha, you're welcome… and you may want to holla at cute teacher… just sayin' your daughter may have picked a winner.
Okay BougieLand, thoughts or comments? Anyone have a CLUE what an Incan-Amazonian Sun Worshipper is? Don't you just love when a post all about keeping it peaceful causes folks to go completely left and back again? Fellas, get your boys Pants and Mark… please.