I Cannot Call Myself a Feminist. I am a Black Woman.

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Regarding my position on feminism in the United States, I have long been on the fence. I was never quite sure how I felt about it. I knew that I was pro women’s issues: equal pay for equal work, autonomy in reproductive health, living in a harassment free environment, but something about the feminist movement always felt so wrong that I could never take that step to call myself a feminist.

It wasn’t until yesterday that I understood why.

I was reading an article hear on Medium by Delthea Simmons, entitled, “Black Womanhood and White Feminism,” and she stated my feeling about the subject so eloquently.

My Momma was pro woman. She said so often but she saw feminism as something white women did to make white women’s lives better.

The Aha moment for me was real.

It was tangible.

It was visceral.

I started to rattle off at the mouth about it to my boyfriend.

I am a black woman, and I’ve never felt that the issues that plague black women, have ever been included in feminism. So, obviously, I’ve never felt comfortable with idea of calling myself a feminist.

Listen, I get it.

The issues facing women still, even nearly a quarter the way through the 21st century, are momentous. So much so that many believe we have to make headway with these issues first, and then tackle those facing black women. But in all honesty, how long are we supposed to wait?

The feminist movement experience a resurgence in the 1960s, when white women wanted to bust out of the confines of being a stay-at-home mom and explore their professional and entrepreneurial possibilities.

The trauma facing white feminists, that relates to their former stay-at-home status dates all the way back to early 1600s. The colonists who settled here set the standard for family composition. Meaning that the father was the head of the household, establishing the patriarchy. The husbands/fathers exercised complete authority over his wife and kids, which extended to all property, including servants, criminals or slaves.