You Tell ‘Em Girl: A Letter to My Co-Worker the Misogynist

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You Tell 'Em Girl

This post gets the first induction into my “You Tell ‘Em Girl” hall of fame. (A hall of fame I just made up today when I saw this post. ;))

My New Favorite Thing: Black Feminist Writer Joan Morgan

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“I did not know that feminism is what you called it when black warrior women moved mountains and walked on water. Growing up in their company, I considered these things ordinary.” ~ Joan Morgan

I’ve been suspecting it for a little while now, but Joan Morgan’s “When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost” officially confirmed it for me.

I’m a black feminist.

I remember once in a job interview being asked “What am I passionate about? What motivates me? That was a year ago and I didn’t know. I remember BSing some answer that obviously didn’t work because I didn’t get the job.

In a year of unemployment, college, dating, loving, dumping, and being dumped by black men, I’ve learned a lot about myself.

I can finally say with certainty I know what I’m passionate about. I’m passionate about advancing my people. Particularly black women.  I find myself increasingly concerned with how black women are treated, how black women are depicted, and how black women are perceived. The older, wiser Brandy no longer hates on a young, black girl because she’s got a bigger ass than me, dresses a little more fly than me, or gets more male attention than me. I can’t hate on young black girls, because I’ve been a young black girl. I know how hard it is out there for us. We don’t need anything additional working against us. If anything we need more of us loving and supporting each other. We need to bond together, we need to create a network. And we need to love ourselves just as much, and in some cases, more than we love our black brothers. Only then, will we be able to get what we need from our brothers, our lovers, our communities, this country, and this world.

So Morgan’s addresses this issue in a passage from “Chickenheads.” She’s been ambushed by three black men upset by a pro-woman response to the racial implications of the raping of a white Central Park jogger allegedly by black teenage boys. Her defense, for me, addresses the dark secret of black relationships that is so rarely talked about:

“Whatcha really wanna know is how I feel about brothas.  It’s simple. I love black men like I love no other. And I’m not talking sex or aesthetics, I’m talking about loving y’all enough to be down for the drama — stomping anything that threatens your existence. Now only a fool loves that hard without asking the same in return. So yeah, I demand that black men fight sexism with the same passion they battle racism. I want you to annihilate anything that endangers sistas’ welfare — including violence against women — because my survival walks hand in hand with yours. So, my brotha, if loving y’all fiercely and wanting it back makes me a feminist than I’m a feminist. So be it.”

This sentiment is on point. It’s upsetting that black men sometimes look at black women as the enemy for expecting to be respected and loved the same way we respect and love them. I digress though.

The book is fantastic. Her writing is fantastic.Check it for yourself here, along with other works by Morgan.