“She pointed my way, her extended arm all I could see other than the diamonds glinting in her ears. This wasn’t over yet. ‘‘That’s the typical thing that women do. What did you putting me down right there do for you?’’ she asked. ‘‘Women blame women for things that have nothing to do with them. I really want to know why — as a matter of fact, I don’t. Can we move on, do you have anything else to ask?’’ she continued. ‘‘To put down a woman for something that men do, as if they’re children and I’m responsible, has nothing to do with you asking stupid questions, because you know that’s not just a stupid question. That’s a premeditated thing you just did.’’ She called me ‘‘rude’’ and ‘‘a troublemaker,’’ said ‘‘Do not speak to me like I’m stupid or beneath you in any way’’ and, at last, declared, ‘‘I don’t care to speak to you anymore.’’”
The raw silence spoken of by Tina Mbachu in this article rings back to my vision of small enclaves peppered with frightened aged African Americans in America. She points to white feminists’ singular focus on their backyard and their circus. Similarly, the last few years of heightened African Americans murdered and elder malaise leaves one to gasp with each news flash, each video of gunfire spurting from a sea of blue.
“This coming Black History month plagues me the most, as I look back over my social media posts. We have become numb to those sepia and black and white photos of the sixties. They dramatize the void between then and now. They ceased to represent hope so long ago that our Black politicians forgot what they truly represented and are to represent. And so, this paraphernalia becomes an addition to our term papers, articles, festivals, and blogs. We market them to the forlorn instead of justice. We pull them out to wipe our brows after we have sold the community to feed our bellies.
“We are fighting the same issues, yet our children are forming new ideas — new means of protest,” one social media poster said. And I grunt. Another prided the police’s traffic control prowess during our local march. I am still stunned from the vision of a young man shot to death by police just a few years ago on our streets that ended in silence; and her politicizing the mother’s grief. I digress because the she is a woman, a mother, and Black; and the message she sent is “No mother. Your son’s death is not important here. Our borrowed crinoline skirts must remain intact.””
So Tina Mbachu’s indictment against white feminist can be broadened to include a hubris and selfish protest adopted by all of us for too long. The selfish protest our children are now rejecting. The protest that used them as blame, shields, and sacrifices to what we labeled Black Progress. I hear Mbachu clearly when she states:
Traumatic transmission across generation is the leftover pain, the unbearable weight of it on our mothers, our fathers. This grief is transferred to us across multiple vectors. The transferring of trauma is also a transferring of tasks. Once solidarity is created in the process, the new generation must now find ways to deal with the pain. We must find new ways to represent our pains, to discuss them, and to heal.
As a feminist, whether a white liberal or radical feminist, you are absolutely wrong to question how I express this pain.