This week has been another moving week in my pursuit of Africana Studies and Women Studies scholarship. The most moving part of this week’s lessons for me was our close reading of Water More Than Flour. The phrase itself is new to me, but I thought our discussion of the piece was very interesting. The text can be analyzed down to the title, which I think speaks to the quality of the work. As was mentioned, the author being a Canadian Woman who identifies as Lesbian speaks to the borderless nature of race, gender, and sexuality oppression in modern societies. There seems to be a trend internationally of critiquing the American system (which I don’t fully disagree with) that allows for such oppression, but I think cases such as the ones mentioned in Water More Than Flour speak to the universal nature of these issues, and suggest that the problems are more in the social structures rather than the political ones. These social structures likely date back to times of slavery and colonization, and are so prominent that racism and colorism still exist in nations that are primarily Black–in these nations Whiteness is still valued and privileged.
Another interesting discussion for me was the conversation we had about the “I’d rather be a rebel than a slave” T-shirt being worn by white women to promote a film about feminist resistance. This to me is another prime example of racial preference being universally acknowledged. While many may argue that race wasn’t the point of the film and that a heavy critique is unfounded, I’d say to them that this is another example of white movements intentionally making Black women invisible. To not include a Black woman in the advertisement suggests two things. The first is that the feminism that is being praised is white feminism, and likely did very little for the liberation of Black women. The second is that the women wearing the shirts do not care/know/want to know about the power of the statement on the shirt in regards to the words “rebel” and “slave.” Using these words is a direct reference to the American Civil War, and it glorifies the confederacy and their fight to maintain slavery rather than the fight for freedom. On top of all of this, it totally ignores the lack of agency slaves had to transcend their slavery, and it makes light of the horrors of slavery by suggesting it was a choice. I could rant forever about this, but I’m really glad to see we came to a consensus as a class, and hopefully the vocal activism of the world will shut down this film entirely.