Africa Speaks Reasoning Forum

GENERAL => GENERAL FORUM => Topic started by: MissJay on June 24, 2017, 07:56:05 AM



Title: Romance, Dark-Skin Spaces and Personal Accountability
Post by: MissJay on June 24, 2017, 07:56:05 AM
"Strong Enough" concepts from the privileged seat of her velveted dark skin

>:(  :'(

It is a curious sensation reserved only for those who wear the velvet of dark skin. It is a sensation that always seems to emanate from deep within the underside of that velvet, an incarnate type of ancestral pain that resides just beneath the surface of our velveted dark skin. This pain, though exceptionally exquisite, creates a stunningly remarkable mirror that simultaneously reveals and conceals the dark skin that the world sees, the velvet, and the beautiful layer that few seldom describe to others, the underside of that velvet.

Perhaps the mirror that divides the expression of this dark skin is intended to refract the concept of “strong enough” across two realms of identity, because hers is always experienced in the invisibility of plain sight while his has given to them both, gendered reflections of strength and love through the lens of the velveted dark skin male. But there exists a quality of softness and vulnerability in the mirrored lens of dark-skin females, the underside of that velveted dark skin, that is seldom acknowledged when concepts of strength and softness intersect.

Often without the dignity of an explanation, the expectation of strength concepts unapologetically comes to dark skinned women whenever they are told that others need more assistance than they do, when they are told that they can take care of themselves, when they are told to be resourceful and find a way to fix their problems. These are but a few of the messages that speak to us from the other side of that mirror. He expects her to be “strong enough” to grow the same velveted dark skin that society requires of him. Acting--albeit implicitly--as a complicit branch of a society that finds very little to be valued in the beauty and experiential wisdom of she, our men make even less of minimizing our feelings instead of validating them, and negating our experiences of a lifetime of being set last above all things instead of learning from them, by boldly asking us to quench our opinions in strength when the softness within summons the ancestral pain that resides just beneath the surface, always.

When does that softness get cared for? Certainly not in those moments when that softness is rendered invisible under the less melanated cloak of black male logic and single-minded reason. Perhaps it is they who understand the experiences of dark-skinned women the least. If not in the strength and under the protection of he, then when? When does this softness get cared for? Who are we supposed to lean on when gendered notions of masculine strength and feminine softness manifest “strong enough” concepts of dark-skinned womanhood?  Even we are taught to hide this softness from each other as women in strength.

It is a curious sensation reserved only for those whom the mirror steeps in this exceptionally exquisite pain. When that right to softness is denied, it is precisely this sensation that reaches up from the belly of that ancestral privilege and depth of perspective to cast its long shadow on her velveted dark skin.

 


Title: Re: Romance, Dark-Skin Spaces and Personal Accountability
Post by: Nakandi on June 24, 2017, 06:33:52 PM
Interracial discrimination (racism and colorism), intra-racial discrimination (racism and colorism), sexism and ageism dictate that dark skinned people are to have superhuman traits, yet remain inferior to all other peoples. These are attitudes held by both non-dark skinned and dark skinned people.

Because of internalized racism, colorism and sexism which makes them accept inferiority, many dark skinned females take pride in meeting those expectations because they think only then can they acquire a status resembling human. Likewise, because of the aforementioned biases and homophobia, dark skinned males know not of any other way to be. And again, because of their accepted inferior status, they most often than not strive to meet those expectations themselves.

"When does that softness get cared for?"

In the unconsciously developing world, few people acknowledge that softness, let alone care for. Racism and colorism are continuously recycled and packaged differently, but at the end of the day the dark skinned female is to be superhuman but maintain an inferior status, to herself and everyone else.

The experience of softness has been denied dark skinned people, both males and females, for so long that once they show it they are shamed for it. They are pathologized for feeling it. They are blamed for the negativity of their communities, both close and distant.

I don’t believe there is and can be any sisterhood between dark and non-dark skinned women because racism is never dealt with properly. Not sisterhood that is based on deep appreciation of each other, anyways. I also don’t believe there is and can be any sisterhood between dark skinned women because most times the bond formed is not about addressing their own biases, but a sort of victim club. Sharing the sorrow to half the agony.

On further reflection, there must be room for personal responsibility and accountability. Sometimes the ‘agony’ is self-imposed or a kind of delusion.

Even if few people acknowledge that softness, both male and female, and want to care for the dark skinned woman, even fewer are seen by the same dark skinned woman.

For instance, being a continental dark skinned woman, class, academic rank and ethnicity used to play a big role in whom I recognized and accepted attention from. Even if their intentions were not necessarily ‘good’ or ‘innocent’, I could not acknowledge that they were giving me attention, rendering them invisible. Yet invisibility was the exact same demon I was agonizing over. So I self imposed the agony based on a superiority complex (they were not worthy of my time) within an inferiority complex (I was not worthy to those I see as worthy of my time).

Dealing with this issue can’t be done like white feminism where a certain group of white women take their concerns and paint them to be the only concerns for all women. Our positions in social hierarchies need to be taken into account even if we are the recipients of the brunt of racism and sexism. We are not exempt from all these biases like racism, colorism, classism, elitism, sexism, ageism, ableism, sizeism, etc. The rankings work like a double edged sword, where on one end we are ‘hurt’ and on the other we feel justified to hurt others, whether intentionally or otherwise.

For many people, including dark skinned people, if God were presented to them in the form of an ordinary looking African person (especially with indigenous African features) they would not want that softness from him/her.


Title: Re: Romance, Dark-Skin Spaces and Personal Accountability
Post by: Zaynab on June 24, 2017, 11:26:41 PM
Greetings MissJay,

The lived experiences of dark skinned blacks cannot be easily understood nor appreciated by ones of other hues. Hence, it is often dismissed and devalued. In a pro-white patriarchal system, black women and to a greater degree short, fat, kinky haired, dark skinned black women face the brunt of society’s racial and gendered biases.

Dark skinned black females that do not conform to Eurocentric beauty standards cannot play the damsel-in-distress, nor rely on their sex to receive sympathy. Hence, these females are inevitably left with a sink or swim ultimatum. Some people exhibit coping mechanisms that can be viewed as strength as a consequence of this.

While this is the ugly truth of racial, colour and gender biases it can provide an opportunity for developing self-reliance and independence. Black males are often too taken up with making their own claims and fighting invisibility in a society that does not favour them (though a patriarchal system will favour black males over black females) to be concerned with the plight of dark skinned black females.

The question is, should one want to show “softness” or seek validation in a space that does not favour, appreciate or consider one?  


Title: Re: "Strong Enough" concepts from the privileged seat of her velveted dark skin
Post by: MissJay on June 26, 2017, 03:34:28 AM
Greetings Nakandi & Zaynab,

I really enjoyed reading your comments on this topic.

Nakandi: You raised some really strong points about the perceptions people hold of dark-skinned others--both at the interracial and intra-racial level. You note the typicality of the inherent contradiction in these perceptions: the diametrically opposed notions of possessing superhuman traits and inferior personhood. I would add that these perceptions do not just give rise to attitudes, they also give rise to beliefs and action. I often wonder about the complement to this dilemma: how does person perception affect self-perception? You offer possibilities from the perspective of those who may have internalized a number of -isms, but what of the self-perceptions of those who subscribe to resistance against these various -isms? This is part of that softness to which I was speaking. When do our self-perceptions get cared for? If the level of feedback we constantly receive in the world function like "mirrors" that we then use to build coping strategies, then we know that those coping strategies work to shape a more or less stable sense of identity over time. This is where your point about personal responsibility and accountability really takes shape for me. To what extent is the "agony" self-imposed, when the messages that come to us from the mirror are very real, not imagined, as you suggest? We cannot escape our mirrors; social interaction, after all is a necessary part of the human condition. At best, we can control who we would like to see in the mirror when that image is reflected back at us by surrounding ourselves like-minded others. But, even like-minded others are not exempt from communication failure when both person-perception and self-perception are in progress. Surely, care for that softness is not always at the top of the list, though I argue that it has to be. Moreover, I am told that no-one is above the messages and social conditioning that shape our macrosystems--as you suggest in your own personal example of a behavioral contradiction. We absorb much of that information on an implicit level and act on them in ways that we cannot always account for immediately. It seems as though you have developed new coping strategies from the kinds of feedback that you presently receive. How did you find your way out of that maze? And how is that growth reflected presently in your own perceptions of the self?

Zaynab: Your point made me think of coping mechanisms and identity formation. You rightfully point out that the lived experiences (very important) of dark-skinned peoples are seldom understood, or appreciated--and I would add accounted for--by those of different hues. This lack of understanding, appreciation, and failure to account for, our lived experiences can be communicated to us, even during the simplest of social interactions. However, to your point about biases, there are at least two sides to every possibility. While there is opportunity in developing self-reliance and independence, there is vulnerability in making those strides as well (i.e. the softness).  In my view, it (being cared for) isn't necessarily about seeking validation at all. Perhaps it has more to do with the desire to want to protect one's developing self-perception, rather than showing it. Though we seldom describe this process to others, I believe it holds in it both opportunity and vulnerability.

To undergo this process in a space that does appreciate the lived experiences of dark skinned blacks in general, and dark-skinned women, in particular, is indeed, a privilege for those who know where to find it. So I thank you both for what feels like a warm hug in a space like this.


Title: Re: Romance, Dark-Skin Spaces and Personal Accountability
Post by: leslie on June 26, 2017, 07:38:27 AM
Very interesting discussion.

Given that the thread has involved dark-skin women thus far, I will preface my contribution by stating that I am considered brown-skin.

Quote
This is where your point about personal responsibility and accountability really takes shape for me. To what extent is the "agony" self-imposed, when the messages that come to us from the mirror are very real, not imagined, as you suggest? We cannot escape our mirrors; social interaction, after all is a necessary part of the human condition.

While larger society plays a great role in the messaging of anti-black and other biases, people, including those of darker hues, must also take ownership of the fact that they too have internalised and perpetuated these prejudices. In other words, while there are certainly external factors that influence people’s character, by accepting and enforcing these biases also makes us culpable. With conscious development, persons can attain the tools to properly assess past and current behaviours, as well as their experiences, to become less complicit in self/person prejudice.

Quote
You offer possibilities from the perspective of those who may have internalized a number of -isms, but what of the self-perceptions of those who subscribe to resistance against these various -isms? . . . . When do our self-perceptions get cared for?

Resisting “isms” as you so described does not mean that one has totally overcome them. Most who feel that they are resisting the system still harbour biases that place people into different social brackets and treat people based on such.  Further, resistance may be used as a shield or mask to deal with insecurities rather than addressing them. Thus, there is no special treatment for those who claim to resist the system where conscious development is concerned. Just like everybody else, they too must do the work to improve self- and people-perception.

As to your point on getting cared for: people are conditioned (poorly) about what being cared for looks like. It is often the same Eurocentric package inclusive of the massaging of egos, pat on the backs, unmeritocratic attention and affection, and so on. Based on these strongly embedded ideas, it is often difficult to perceive that being properly cared for is not always about tangible rewards or favour.


Title: Re: Romance, Dark-Skin Spaces and Personal Accountability
Post by: Meri on June 26, 2017, 09:09:43 AM
Greetings MissJay,

Can you clarify your use of the word “softness”?  


Title: Re: Romance, Dark-Skin Spaces and Personal Accountability
Post by: Dani37 on June 26, 2017, 04:30:59 PM
Quote
I also don’t believe there is and can be any sisterhood between dark skinned women because most times the bond formed is not about addressing their own biases, but a sort of victim club. Sharing the sorrow to half the agony.

Can you expand on your thought of the "victim club" behaviours by the darker skinned woman? I am asking because in my understanding in order to address biases, unfair demands, internalization and manifestation of the negative narratives and to develop a somewhat unified and comprehensive response to their issues these women would have to create a space where they can become vulnerable, share and offer to each-other that same sought after "softness" before it can be demanded from anyone else. To me, when or if that conversation about creating that space occurs darker skinned women are often silenced and shamed for even venturing to firstly desire that space or acknowledge that even amongst her own she has no value. So when there is a call for accountability and responsibility that would first require acknowledgment of not only the "bad behaviours" but also an examination of the causes and in dealing with the causes require the creation of spaces to address same i.e. self healing and self loving spaces to provide the desired "softness" might be seen as a "victim club" to women who are shamed for not being the superhuman, inferior, it gives me pause and makes me want to understand the thought process in order to expand my own.

Quote
Dealing with this issue can’t be done like white feminism where a certain group of white women take their concerns and paint them to be the only concerns for all women. Our positions in social hierarchies need to be taken into account even if we are the recipients of the brunt of racism and sexism. We are not exempt from all these biases like racism, colorism, classism, elitism, sexism, ageism, ableism, sizeism, etc. The rankings work like a double edged sword, where on one end we are ‘hurt’ and on the other we feel justified to hurt others, whether intentionally or otherwise.

I agree that this issue cannot and should not be treated as an exclusive issue to dark skinned people (women in particular as we all acknowledge the brunt falls heaviest on her) but can't we multi task? Can we not simultaneously acknowledge and work to address our people's issues all the while demanding respect and change for these very real internal issues? Issues which affect a significant portion of our community to the point that it created some of these said hierarchies and denies very real world access to darker skinned persons and compounds the other discriminations and wrong perceptions that are held about our race and presents as more insidious because we have to deal with everyone else AND OUR PEOPLE'S PREJUDICES? There are more of us darker skinned persons than the "brown and lighter" therefore the ease with which this issue is dismissed creates very real resentment and "hold backs" to us, as a people, functioning in a unified manner....therefore it has to be seriously but not exclusively addressed.

Quote
For many people, including dark skinned people, if God were presented to them in the form of an ordinary looking African person (especially with indigenous African features) they would not want that softness from him/her.

This is too true, too sad and increases the urgency for these issues to be addressed....this is us rejecting us, the organic us and we have to address this very real enemy within.

This lack of softness is especially sad and disheartening when dealing with the male/female interaction and the feelings of rejection of feminine vulnerabilities that are afforded all BUT US...there is a feeling of abandonment....which creates even more vulnerabilities and insensitivity all of which is not "ok" to express. The mental, emotional and spiritual burden of this silence is too much to ask far less be demanded and not expect there to be manifestations of that trauma.




Title: Re: Romance, Dark-Skin Spaces and Personal Accountability
Post by: Zaynab on June 26, 2017, 07:56:53 PM
Greetings MissJay,
 
While reading your last post, the excerpt below stood out to me:
 
Quote
But, even like-minded others are not exempt from communication failure when both person-perception and self-perception are in progress. Surely, care for that softness is not always at the top of the list, though I argue that it has to be.

I don’t think the concept of “like-minded” people can exist without addressing persons’ own expectations and motivations for desiring such associations. More often than not, groups which claim to have focused objectives fall apart because one or more persons place their individual interests before that of the group. Persons usually bide their time, waiting for that big pay-out or fulfilment of their personal agendas until such associations can no longer be sustained. Hence, these groups rarely exhibit a cohesive conscience. Many black groups that claim to be about black pride and unity are often doomed to a similar fate due to unaddressed racism and colourism, and the individualistic agendas of many involved taking prominence over the cause. Like a diseased body, they collapse from the inside out.
 
I believe the word “softness” as used in your first contribution seems to be about romantic feelings or attachments (correct me if I am wrong). Although ‘romance’ could have a place while engaging resistance and self-development, I disagree with your point that it has to be at the top of the list when dealing with a resistance movement and conscious development. Some people claim to want to build the community but usually stick around to fulfil their own agendas. If two persons who claim to be of like-mind engage in a reasoning, one can often get where the other is coming from. Miscommunication can stem from people having different motives, emotional baggage, insecurities and superiority complexes which can manifest itself in feelings of disrespect.
 
Persons who are somewhat comfortable in their own skins due to ‘confidence’ with their body and academic achievements can make unfair demands on others based on their feelings of entitlement. These persons often cannot cope when the attention they believe they deserve is not given. On the other hand, people who are usually dismissed because of their size, race and colour are accustomed to working much harder for attention and other material rewards. This could be an agonising experience if internal biases are not addressed.


Title: Re: Romance, Dark-Skin Spaces and Personal Accountability
Post by: Nakandi on June 26, 2017, 08:47:12 PM
Dani37,

Quote
Can you expand on your thought of the "victim club" behaviours by the darker skinned woman? I am asking because in my understanding in order to address biases, unfair demands, internalization and manifestation of the negative narratives and to develop a somewhat unified and comprehensive response to their issues these women would have to create a space where they can become vulnerable, share and offer to each-other that same sought after "softness" before it can be demanded from anyone else. To me, when or if that conversation about creating that space occurs darker skinned women are often silenced and shamed for even venturing to firstly desire that space or acknowledge that even amongst her own she has no value. So when there is a call for accountability and responsibility that would first require acknowledgment of not only the "bad behaviours" but also an examination of the causes and in dealing with the causes require the creation of spaces to address same i.e. self healing and self loving spaces to provide the desired "softness" might be seen as a "victim club" to women who are shamed for not being the superhuman, inferior, it gives me pause and makes me want to understand the thought process in order to expand my own.

With "a sort of victim club" I meant that it is a place where people congregate and feel safe, but not necessarily work on their biases. It is worth remembering that while there is the external fight against racism, colorism and other biases, there is a simultaneous internal fight against the same. Without dealing with internalized racism and colorism properly, consciously if you will, no real bonding is formed, and definitely no real healing takes place. Sharing experiences and being heard is an important part of the solution as it helps with voicing fears and frustrations. It arms one with a language for their struggle, a language that people outside that experience might never fathom and are unwilling to learn. However, that is only part of the work.

Most times that sharing and attention is not enough precisely because of the internalized racism and colorism. The feeling of support from those who look like us soon dissipates as the support and attention most of us want is from those closer to the Eurocentric ideal. Those who we too value just like everyone else. Which brings me back to the comment I made in my first reply, we make invisible those who look like us. If our gaze is mainly on a certain group of people, we should be understanding of others doing the same. If we think their gaze should change, then so should ours.

Quote
To me, when or if that conversation about creating that space occurs darker skinned women are often silenced and shamed for even venturing to firstly desire that space or acknowledge that even amongst her own she has no value. So when there is a call for accountability and responsibility that would first require acknowledgment of not only the "bad behaviours" but also an examination of the causes and in dealing with the causes require the creation of spaces to address same i.e. self healing and self loving spaces to provide the desired "softness" might be seen as a "victim club" to women who are shamed for not being the superhuman, inferior, it gives me pause and makes me want to understand the thought process in order to expand my own.

It is too true that when dark skinned women demand attention or shed light on their experiences within their communities they are silenced and sometimes chastised for seeing themselves as deserving.

Quote
I agree that this issue cannot and should not be treated as an exclusive issue to dark skinned people (women in particular as we all acknowledge the brunt falls heaviest on her) but can't we multi task? Can we not simultaneously acknowledge and work to address our people's issues all the while demanding respect and change for these very real internal issues? Issues which affect a significant portion of our community to the point that it created some of these said hierarchies and denies very real world access to darker skinned persons and compounds the other discriminations and wrong perceptions that are held about our race and presents as more insidious because we have to deal with everyone else AND OUR PEOPLE'S PREJUDICES? There are more of us darker skinned persons than the "brown and lighter" therefore the ease with which this issue is dismissed creates very real resentment and "hold backs" to us, as a people, functioning in a unified manner....therefore it has to be seriously but not exclusively addressed.

I am not of the "we are all one" mindset, so I do not agree with you here. Race, skin tone, class, sex, age, size, shape, hair texture, facial features, academic rank, etc, all play a role in how people are perceived and how they perceive themselves. Zaynab put it very well here, “the lived experiences of dark skinned blacks cannot be easily understood nor appreciated by ones of other hues. Hence, it is often dismissed and devalued. In a pro-white patriarchal system, black women and to a greater degree short, fat, kinky haired, dark skinned black women face the brunt of society’s racial and gendered biases.” This necessitates for us to deal with this issue separately, and even on an individual basis.

I am actually in the support of private reasonings on these issues among dark skinned people, especially women. This is to prevent people outside that lived experience from using these very experiences against dark skinned people.

I would like to add that by no means does this mean the onus of dealing with these biases is solely on dark skinned people.

MissJay,

Quote
It seems as though you have developed new coping strategies from the kinds of feedback that you presently receive. How did you find your way out of that maze? And how is that growth reflected presently in your own perceptions of the self?

Outside conscious development, “coping” and tolerating is what most people can do. It is of course not a given that once one starts consciously developing self-acceptance and self-love is realized. However, self development aids in traversing the conditioning and lack of integrity that allows the biases to foster.


Title: Re: Romance, Dark-Skin Spaces and Personal Accountability
Post by: Nakandi on June 26, 2017, 10:20:18 PM
Quote
I believe the word “softness” as used in your first contribution seems to be about romantic feelings or attachments (correct me if I am wrong). Although ‘romance’ could have a place while engaging resistance and self-development, I disagree with your point that it has to be at the top of the list when dealing with a resistance movement and conscious development. Some people claim to want to build the community but usually stick around to fulfil their own agendas. If two persons who claim to be of like-mind engage in a reasoning, one can often get where the other is coming from.

If "softness" in fact means romantic feelings or attachments in this context, then I would like to emphasize the importance of what Zaynab writes there. These western romantic notions are not reflective of what it takes to build a community, let alone dealing with resistance. They only serve to feed egocentric desires - desires deeply imbued with racism. Indigenous peoples who valued the communal whole over the individual did not place a premium on romantic feelings over what they saw were greater advantages to their societies. Even though they did not have it all worked out, their emotions were more aligned to practicality. The benefits of these unions usually extended to the wider society.

The notion of putting romantic feelings above what is in the best interest of the community and by extension the society is a very recent and not well thought out Eurocentric idea. Most dysfunctional relationships today are a product of this thinking of putting romantic feelings first without working out what is in the best interest of everyone. Many people struggle in such relationships and many children today have been born into these dysfunctional relationships, and grow into adults with dysfunctional mentalities.


Title: Re: "Strong Enough" concepts from the privileged seat of her velveted dark skin
Post by: MissJay on June 26, 2017, 10:33:05 PM
Greetings MissJay,

Can you clarify your use of the word “softness”?  


Greetings Meri.

I have intentionally imbued the term softness with some measure of ambiguity, because I wanted to gauge others' sociological imaginations as they reasoned with the issues on the table. As you can see, when others tried to be more precise with the definition, the the term began to serve a number of distinct roles. Some used it to classify others and make predictions based on those classifications (e.g. Nakandi), others used it to parcel experience into meaningful categories to construct an interpretation of it (e.g. Dani). Still, others used it to locate themselves in a very specific part of the discussion (e.g. Leslie), but all used it to support reasoning--and wherever relevant brought knowledge to bear. To me, that is far more informative than any formal definition I could have come up with.

In any case, I would define softness as conscious development because it a special case of interpersonal perception that concerns continuous personal appraisal and re-appraisal of the self and others.  


Title: Re: "Strong Enough" concepts from the privileged seat of her velveted dark skin
Post by: MissJay on June 26, 2017, 10:52:24 PM
In any case, I would define softness as conscious development because it a special case of interpersonal perception that concerns continuous personal appraisal and re-appraisal of the self and others.  
[/quote]

...or I would at least reconcile the term softness to an aspect of conscious development that can be necessarily demarcated by, though not sufficiently to, "strong enough" concepts of dark-skinned womanhood.


Title: Re: Romance, Dark-Skin Spaces and Personal Accountability
Post by: Dani37 on June 26, 2017, 11:01:10 PM
Nakano... I am appreciative of the clarity...

I would like to also add that when I speak of self healing spaces I too mean spaces exclusive to those who have the shared experiences... I agree with u totally when u said that there can be no real bonding between light and dark skinned people... At least not until our issues within our groups are dealt with and developing ways and means to redefine our existence to the point where we cannot be dismissed and it becomes 'take us and treat us this way or don't take us at all'


Title: Re: Romance, Dark-Skin Spaces and Personal Accountability
Post by: Nakandi on June 26, 2017, 11:16:43 PM
MissJay,

Quote
I have intentionally imbued the term softness with some measure of ambiguity, because I wanted to gauge others' sociological imaginations as they reasoned with the issues on the table.

If this is an experience true and close to you and you actually want change, then it is rather odd that you would use this as an academic exercise. It goes against the very nature of the reasoning as it trivializes the real lived experiences of dark skinned people. If that was your true agenda, then I find it reeks of exploitation to advance a personal agenda.

However, if that is not the case then here is a link that I found and still find useful "It Takes Honesty To Reason" http://www.rootswomen.com/articles/It_Takes_Honesty_To_Reason.html (http://www.rootswomen.com/articles/It_Takes_Honesty_To_Reason.html)


Title: Re: Romance, Dark-Skin Spaces and Personal Accountability
Post by: leslie on June 26, 2017, 11:20:01 PM
Dani37,

Quote
I agree that this issue cannot and should not be treated as an exclusive issue to dark skinned people (women in particular as we all acknowledge the brunt falls heaviest on her) but can't we multi task? Can we not simultaneously acknowledge and work to address our people's issues all the while demanding respect and change for these very real internal issues?

Within the broader umbrella of feminism, black females receive only token recognition. Even then, those on the frontline are typically academic and fit the mould of the status quo in one way or the other. If feminism is supposed to address the plight of ALL women, and those who are most affected are not given primacy, then feminism as we know it is a sham. True feminism is only possible when those who are most affected by sexism, racism, colourism, featurism, hair texturism, sizism, and so on, are primarily and urgently addressed. If these issues are dealt with in this manner, then all females, including those perceived to be higher up the social hierarchy, can reap the benefits. In this way, females who are more privileged could become informed about their insensitivities and can make moves to address their own complicity in anti-female prejudice, which would give greater weight to the feminist cause. This is not the case when done in reverse as is the current reality. Fighting discrimination cannot be solved by neglecting those most affected.

As radical as this approach may be it in no way invalidates others’ experiences and positions . . . which brings me to your point about addressing these issues simultaneously.

This approach has its place with different groups addressing issues that affect them. In fact, I believe that we in the black community should adopt this method because even within “black feminism”, the views and experiences of those who experience the worst are often silenced in favour of others who are less affected. Dark skinned females need a space to share their pain and to find ways to not only cope but to attempt to find better ways to figure themselves out without the fear of being silenced, or having their pain minimised or lost to the general black experience. Of course, these views also have to be brought to the black community in general as we all need to be aware of the issues that affect each other. This is especially so since light skinned / mixed race ones are considered black and reap the benefits of the black label on top of their light skin privilege.

If and when we decide to discuss female matters on a broad scale with females of all races, then, in order for feminism to work, it is the black woman that must lead the cause changing the face of feminism from white to black. A well-informed fat, dark skinned black woman will bring the deepest levels of sensitivities to the table.


Title: Re: "Strong Enough" concepts from the privileged seat of her velveted dark skin
Post by: MissJay on June 27, 2017, 12:23:05 AM
MissJay,

Quote
I have intentionally imbued the term softness with some measure of ambiguity, because I wanted to gauge others' sociological imaginations as they reasoned with the issues on the table.

If this is an experience true and close to you and you actually want change, then it is rather odd that you would use this as an academic exercise. It goes against the very nature of the reasoning as it trivializes the real lived experiences of dark skinned people. If that was your true agenda, then I find it reeks of exploitation to advance a personal agenda.

However, if that is not the case then here is a link that I found and still find useful "It Takes Honesty To Reason" [url]http://www.rootswomen.com/articles/It_Takes_Honesty_To_Reason.html[/url] ([url]http://www.rootswomen.com/articles/It_Takes_Honesty_To_Reason.html[/url])


This is precisely how I reason and grapple with things that are close to me. What I have shared with this forum comes from the heart, yet your comment seems to suggest that there is a right way and a wrong way to reason about my own real and lived experiences as a dark-skinned woman. I'm afraid that's just how my brain works at the moment. If this offends your sensibilities, then it speaks more to my point of entry into conscious development and less to the idea that I am using this as an academic exercise.....If there are alternative ways to reason with others, then I would like to learn them. However, I am  feeling quite judged or prejudged, oddly enough, for being who I am at the moment. I just find it odd that you have jumped to the conclusions that you have, given that we do not know each other. Am I missing something?

And, thank you for the link.


Title: Re: Romance, Dark-Skin Spaces and Personal Accountability
Post by: Nakandi on June 27, 2017, 01:25:34 AM
MissJay,

I stand by my earlier statement.

You may be missing the fact that if we apply the definition you gave for “softness” then what you posted initially does not make sense.

I also agree with Leslie’s point about the need for private spaces for dark-skinned blacks to work out issues. I do not want to continue further with this as my intention is not about beating up or even appearing to beat up on a dark-skinned black sister or brother.

Take care.


Title: Re: "Strong Enough" concepts from the privileged seat of her velveted dark skin
Post by: MissJay on June 27, 2017, 02:01:30 AM
MissJay,

I stand by my earlier statement.

You may be missing the fact that if we apply the definition you gave for “softness” then what you posted initially does not make sense.

I also agree with Leslie’s point about the need for private spaces for dark-skinned blacks to work out issues. I do not want to continue further with this as my intention is not about beating up or even appearing to beat up on a dark-skinned black sister or brother.

Take care.

You are certainly entitled to your opinion and your interpretation of my opinion about softness defined. Thank you for attempting to be generous with your ideas about what I intended to communicate and share about my lived and deeply personal experiences with care and softness from my perspective. Miscommunication, perhaps on my part...

Do, take and exercise care, Nakandi.


Title: Re: Romance, Dark-Skin Spaces and Personal Accountability
Post by: MissJay on January 03, 2018, 08:14:50 AM
It has taken me over six months to revisit this thread with words, offerings, that speak to personal accountability. I walked away from this exchange with a strong desire to spend a lot of time reflecting on the symbolic experience of this interaction, the self, the one that is so difficult to communicate because it often eludes intellectual statements. It is true, I came to the forum as an academic--a cognitive scientist to be precise. And, by that I simply mean that the place from which I was attempting to learn and reason back then was perhaps unwittingly nested in some dimension of what it means to reason like an academic. Unselfish reflection has since directed me to the belief that there is little room for such dimensions to be tapped in spaces like these; especially when all they appear to do, most certainly, is invite the ego. I can see this now as clearly as I am typing these words.

To be clear, it is my job to study the ego; I have to think about it, and set forth a philosophy for it every time I contribute to my discipline--which is every day. Therefore, it is my job to know what it is, what it is meant to accomplish and how it is likely to be conceptualized by others. So when my discussions with another forum member six months ago began to reveal my exchanges on this post in terms of ego, I rejected it because I could. After all, my theoretical and empirical knowledge on this topic was all the background I needed to provide me with the grounds to reject. Furthermore, if anyone was going to know when their ego had contributed to the conversation it would be me. The problem with this thinking, however, also revealed itself when this forum member also told me that I would need to unlearn a lot about what school had taught me. For example, school had taught me how to reason and grapple with ideas and concepts in a very limited way. Though useful, I have come to understand that reasoning and evaluating in this way invites a particular type of identity into conversations; one that incidentally taps the ego and all that the ego is designed to protect. Reflecting on this symbolic experience of the self really caused an internal struggle between my worlds--the academic one that had given me many a ways to think and reason about the world, and the one that I wished to deepen my learning and reasoning within through a deeper understanding what a test of my character could reveal to me. I think that this internal conflict is also present in my interactions and honest intentions for my initial post.

This internal struggle made me really uncomfortable and I wrestled with these ideas for a while....about 6 months to be exact. I went back and re-read what I posted along with the interactions that followed. I did this only when I believed that I was ready to receive what was said to me, and read what I had written, from a place that allowed me to let go of all of the things my ego was precisely designed to protect: my so called identity, including those cultivated by my academic experiences. Once I did that, I was able to receive the messages posted from a place that allowed me to evaluate the character of my words and what was being said...and not the characters themselves. It was then I began to see pieces of my ego in my defensiveness and discomfort, and where it caused me to retreat rather than to lean into the messages being offered. I can see where the consequences for those actions warranted a clear and valid reaction. It is clear that these women were taking their time and energy to share what they have learned with me. It is clear that my approach into receiving and working toward understanding the issues I was interested in reasoning about were in need of personal examination. And perhaps most meaningfully, this was not the space to attempt to work out issues that are better served in private spaces for dark-skinned blacks. I accept this responsibility and I submit my attempt to personally account for my actions to the judgment of all who read this.   


Title: Re: Romance, Dark-Skin Spaces and Personal Accountability
Post by: Zaynab on January 07, 2018, 02:15:48 AM
Greetings MissJay

It takes integrity to reason. This statement is uttered in many ways but the value of it is often overlooked or dismissed. When we are challenged to face hard truths, we often find discourses difficult as they can expose our egos, insecurities, fears, prejudices, beliefs, and values. What keeps us grounded (level-headed, reflective, rational, respectful, compassionate, and considerate) is integrity.
 
New information is not always easy to digest, but introspection is a good way to assess the value of one’s own position. I will share an anecdote. Years ago, I accompanied a friend to a public discussion and was confronted with a startling truth: “Unless one is willing to address his or her self, one should not rush to join or form groups.” This was an assault to my beliefs of co-operation and community, so I refused to accept it. I sat there stewing in my discontent. I thought that persons could and should come together to share in resources (skills, wealth and information). I felt that those present who championed the need for community and communal living raised some good points. Others who argued oppositely also brought forward important positions. I did not easily buy into what was being shared, but I listened. I respected the friend that invited me to the forum; therefore, I was not ready to dismiss outright what gave me pause. I decided after quite some time to instead search me because I thought there must be something that I was missing.
 
It is then it hit me. What was said was not irrational at all. That “ah ha” moment came at the precise time I confronted ME. I acknowledged to myself that I was not perfect and with my unaddressed imperfections I should not rush to join or form any group as it would lack proper foundation. My introspection allowed me to appreciate the depths of a position that contrasted with my earlier stance.
 
Having integrity means being able to acknowledge that sometimes, one does not possess all the answers. Even if there may be disagreement, honesty and constant self-examination can better ensure that what is being put on the table can be of positive benefit to all involved.