Week 3

From the discussion we had this week, the idea that really resonated with me was that black women are rarely the focus of public discussion, and as other people have pointed out, black women are overshadowed by the dominate narrative. Professor Haley brought in an article that headlined Upstate Medical University Hires New President: Haitian-born Pediatrician Is Upstate’s First Female President. It begins to talk about the qualifications that will make her great for the job; however, this does not last for long. There is a swift shift in attention, not even half way through the article, to the previous white male president who stole money from the school. The remainder of the article focuses on his crime, never returning back to congratulate her.

Then in the case of Dred Scott v. Sanford, his lawyers took on Dred’s case rather than taking the case of Dred’s wife’s, Harriet Robinson Scott. The article makes clear that her case had a stronger legal argument for their freedom, but ultimately her story remained untold. The other article, Racism, Civil Rights, and Feminism by Kathleen Neal Cleaver, discussed why black women sided in the fight for civil right rather than the white feminist, where their role although it was vital to the steps toward gaining equality was mostly invisible. I really liked how Professor Haley explained why she remains a black feminist and not a womanist. I like that she decided to take on the name of feminist as a way to show other people that this word was not only and exclusively a white women thing. I also very much like Milinda’s analogy of giving up the title feminist to white women being similar to drinking at the “colored only” fountain. After enduring a history of being invisible and excluded, it is refreshing to come to the point where we make ourselves known. We speak up for ourselves, our sister, and our struggle.

So when we read Maya Angelou’s poem Still I Rise aloud in class, I was elated. This poem talks about still walking tall in spite of other people expect of you. Even when they want to see you broken and down trotted, you keep your joy for yourself; you love you for yourself. Even if the world refuses to acknowledge you, you keep yourself preserved. No matter what you rise.

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