Posts Tagged ‘African men’

Tearing down the wall: Racism and Sexism

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

“The lifting up of the woman does not require the tearing down of the man.” Bishop T.D. Jakes

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people, I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if it needs be it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” (Nelson) Rolihlahla Mandela

I’ve come to realize that often when people speak out against racism, they are viewed as racists. When women speak out about sexism, they are perceived as “man haters”. I can’t speak for anyone else on this matter so I will speak for myself.

The way I see it, racism (and sexism) is this huge, thick wall that I keep running into. My response to the wall is NOT to then go and build another wall that people who are different from me (Non-black people for example) will then run into. My response is to first acknowledge that the wall exists and then explore if the wall exists primarily in my mind or if it exists in reality. I really wish I could say the wall was in my mind because that would mean that I could just deal with my mind and the “problem” would be solved! Just to be clear: more often than not, the wall is real.  I respond to the wall by doing my part to chip away at it and I believe that if enough of us chip away at it, it will disintegrate.

For the rest of my life, I will chip at the wall(s). I will bring attention to the wall and encourage as many people as I can to also chip at the wall and to also bring attention to the wall. We cannot change what we do not acknowledge.

Standing up against racial inequalities does not make me a racist; it makes me, among other things, a mother who wants her children to live to their full potential without running into unnecessary walls that degrade and defeat their beautiful minds and spirits. Standing up for women does not make me an “angry feminist” or an “angry black woman”; it makes me, among other things, a woman who wants her daughter , all our daughters, to reach their full potential without constantly running into a wall that tells them that they are less than.

The question that we all need to ask ourselves with regards to racial, gender and other walls, is this: Am I a builder or a chipper?

I am a Chipper. 🙂