From Black Power to #BlackLivesMatter

” I cannot imagine how I would begin to answer her. My “rights” and my “freedom” and my “desire” and a slew of other New World values; what would they sound like to this Black woman described on the card atop my hotel bureau as “Olive the Maid”? “Olive” is older than I am and I may smoke a cigarette while she changes the sheets on my bed. Whose rights? Whose freedom? Whose desire? And why would she give a shit about mine unless I do something, for real, about hers?” (June Jordan, Report from the Bahamas)

With the recent presidential election and the presidential debates between Trump and Clinton the idea of intersectionality is a very relevant one.  Knowing that so many women and minorities voted for Trump, which personally feels as if they are voting against their own best interests, really put into perspective the question of whether people will choose one cause over another (gender over race, etc.). I for one understand how difficult this can be when it comes to real life application, especially when some part of your identity is looked down upon in another community that you are also apart of. I think that we often have a habit of prioritizing some social issues over others, when in reality bring the movements together could benefit everyone.

Taylor talks about this idea of colorblindness and how Nixon discussed this idea and how it could be useful when attempting to do away with “intentional racism”. Taylor also talks about how after sometime colorblindness stopped being utilized simply as a way to deny racism. She talks about how this idea has become the default setting for many Americans, this is how they understand race. They have this radical notion that is they deny that race ‘color’ exists, then no one can claim racial discrimination or racial harm. This is very much reflected in today’s society, where instead of addressing the very relevant issues, everyone would just rather deny that there is a problem. But rather than helping the cause this just adds to the multitude of hindrance’s in the lives of colored folk.

It is not secret that being a minority in this country can be quite difficulties, especially in times of civil unrest such as these. Especially being a minority and a women, but there is also no denying that things are often much more difficult for women in the Caribbean. I can see this difference very clearly in my two grandmother’s from either side of my family. My grandmother on my mothers side was born in Virginia, while my grandmother on my fathers side was born in the Bahamas. Growing up we would visit the Bahamas for family reunions (every two years) I can recall stark differences. Both of my grandmother are extremely hard working women who often had to work several jobs just to provide for their families. One immediate difference I can recall; my maternal grandmother worked two jobs to be able to provide her children with a decent life. While my paternal grandmother worked equally as hard, if not harder, only to not be able to afford even a sustainable lifestyle for her family. These kinds of differences are not ones that we typically think about but they are there.

 

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