Feminism is perhaps the biggest villain to black female intersectionality. Seducing the black female body to place gender before race, feminism thwarts the essential unity between females of the black collective to foment the initiatives of “all” women, and by “all” I mean white. Notably, it is a feminist foundation that has birthed the largest scandals of the last decade.
I was in my senior year of college when the Chris Brown/Rihanna scandal broke. The incident prompted countless impromptu lectures about how celebrity breeds arrogance and other claims of the sort. Many of the same professors that encouraged us not to “drink the Koolaid” with regard to the 08’ election—gulped this Chris Brown Koolaid unapolegitically. This Koolaid, or common opinion, cast a talented young black male along an albatross to bleed a slow caricatured death at the hands of white media. The professors, like many within the black collective, assumed it was safe to take sides as because both parties were black. However, this scenario used Rihanna’s external blackness to veil her true role—to destroy the black man. Her body would serve to prove black male aggression be it physical or sexual violence was not just limited to violating white women but black women as well. This colorblind aggression is not accidental and functions to unite all those bearing female genatalia under the “woman” label.
Similarly, writer, actor and comedian Bill Cosby endured dozens of allegations from countless women. All alleged victims reference being drugged and sexually violated by the former Cliff Huxtable during the 1960s. The common setting of these alleged attacks during a turbulent decade where the black body, black men in particular, reigned as prominent social justice martyrs, functions to overshadow these contributions with Cosby’s supposed crass sexuality. One of the most notable of Cosby’s accusers was Beverly Johnson—a black model. Johnson functions similarly to Rihanna, seeking to usurp Dr. Cosby from his esteemed position. Johnson’s testimony earns publicity, not because the Western world cares about sexually violated black female bodies, but because her testimony helps to lynch the desired subject.
These examples work together to illustrate the danger in acquiring favorable portrayal by the white media. While this favorable portrayal often serves as a catalyst for many careers, Chris Brown and Bill Cosby amongst others illustrate that if the white media “makes” you, they will break you. The contemporary world uses a black female body to do this “breaking.”
This breaking is perhaps most detrimental to the black female body, as her treatment seems to suggest her inclusion in the “woman” concept. This inclusion functions to incite black female bodies to place their gender over their race. Rihanna was most likely coerced into her role in stripping Chris Brown of his squeaky clean image by convincing her that she would help “All” women and be catapulted into an artist not limited by color. This is surfacely true, but the hyper-sexuality and general carefree attitude that anchors Miss Fenty, caricatures her into attributes stereotypically aligned with the black woman—an image that proves lucrative as it appeases rather than challenges how the black woman is generally conceptualized.
Collaboratively, these examples functions to employ the black female body as a tool of destruction. The black female body as a “breaking” tool, ultimately proves detrimental to the black female body— an already underrepresented group— as these actions now substantiate the “troublesome” and “hard to work with” stigmas that have hovered over the black female body for years. Furthermore, the contemporary world’s inauthentic fascination with “inclusion” not only thwarts black female advancement or inclusion, but validates this behavior in illustrating the growing pattern of “women,” black women in particular, as whistle blowers.
Inclusion is as insignificant to the black nationalist as it is to the white supremacist but for varying reasons. To the black nationalist inclusion reflects ignorance and is thereby and insult. White supremacy denies inclusion as a means to insult those on a journey to an elusive whiteness.
It is this journey to an elusive whiteness sought out through feminism that fuels O’Reilly victim Pequita Burgess. While Pequita Burgess is seemingly the black female body that “brought down” Bill O’Reilly, O’Reilly is no stranger to sexual assault violations. In fact, there are rumors that he paid to silence previous accusers. Burgess said that O’Reilly flirted with her and even referred to her as “hot chocolate,” comments that made her uncomfortable. Burgess’ testimony prove eerily reminiscent to Anita Hill’s testimony in the Clarence Thomas hearing. To refresh your memory, Anita Hill testified before an all male panel, to Clarence Thomas’ sexual misconduct when the two worked together. To many Hill’s testimony remains integral to women’s rights and sexuality. To the conscious community, Hill’s testimony illustrated the black female body as a tool of white supremacy. Hill’s testimony functioned to kick the chair from beneath a man that the white world wanted to hang. Burgess performs a similar function in a contemporary setting. The white world wanted O’Reilly out, for reasons that the general public will probably never be made aware, but employed a black female face as the hangman.
The western world has no regard for the black female body—only what the black female body can do for the western world. The feminist movement strives to make white supremacy equally beneficial to the white woman, an interest that proves counterproductive to any man or woman othered by race or ethnicity. Feminist have a history of becoming invisible in matters of race gender intersectionality. Notably, when a white male cop sat on a fourteen- year- old bikini clad black girl two years ago, feminists remained quiet. Even now, as many await the return of missing black children throughout the diaspora, feminists remain preoccupied with equal pay. Nevertheless, any deviation from tradition occurs selfishly to advance women of the majority.
In short, Miss. Burgess, like Anita Hill, Rihanna, and Beverly Johnson, is a tool for feminist motives. Some may refute my assertions and state that Burgess differs from Hill, Fenty and Johnson because she usurped a white man. However, Burgess does not “bring down” O’Reilly because he harassed her as a black woman. Burgess’ testimony functions as a symbol of “woman,” an act that will aid white, not black, female bodies in their plight for sexual integrity because this concept has never and will never include black female bodies. In fact, this concept exists on the foundation of black female exclusion.
The world cares nothing about the millions of faceless black women and girls who are harassed and assaulted by white men in the work place on a daily basis. These assaults decorate the past and present black female body. In her autobiography Assata Shakur discloses how a white male coworker pulled the elastic band on her panties while working, In Black Boy Richard Wright discloses how white men would slap his black female friend’s behind on their walk home. These acts continue to plague the black female body, and often remain unreported out of belief that no one will believe them or care—beliefs that align perfectly with American values.
A chief component of white privilege appears to be the general ability to act without consequence. This is a principle to which the historical and contemporary black female body can confirm.
In examining contemporary black female tokenizing, it is imperative to examine past relations between white women and black females. Let us not forget that white women were also against black female rape on the plantation, but not because they did not feel the black female body should not be violated. While Black female violation illustrates the perils of white supremacy, to white women this asserts black female desirability, a fact that discounts the black female body as the binary opposite to white womanhood. White females need the caricatured black woman to exist as they’ve always had-in a bubble of fiction. Thus, feminism is merely an excessive bubble whose transparency presents the illusion of inclusion, despite forming and floating above those excluded because of their darker skin, fuller features and curvier bodies.
So to black women like Burgess who adopt a feminist perspective, and believe that the western world cares about them and the injustice that will follow them throughout their lives—I write to tell you that you have been bamboozled, as Malcolm X would say. To play the pawn for white liberation may seem like you’re laying the bad guy out to hang, but one day soon enough that criminalized body left out to hang will be your own…
And even as your lifeless body dangles in the wind, this white supremacist world will still not see you as a woman.