The latest wave of feminism is striving to be intersectional.
As a white feminist, my privilege shields me from experiencing the reality for people of color. In order to truly be intersectional, I think it’s important that I abandon any sense of white fragility and face these realities head on.
How do I do that?
I listen when someone tells me about their experience when it differs from my own.
I don’t doubt the authenticity of that experience simply because it differs from my own, and if I feel uncomfortable, in any way, I examine my own feelings of discomfort to determine how my privilege impacts my worldview.
I also make an effort to learn. I read the articles challenging white feminism, and I read to understand, not to defend my own race or place of privilege. I see where past movements have often failed to include minorities and the LGBT community, but I have hope that this wave of feminism is carrying all of us this time. It’s not perfect, but I hope it’s getting there.
February is Black History Month.
People often think this month is only for black people. I won’t attempt cultural appropriation by trying to imply that Black History Month is for white people. But I do think it’s for all of us, in that we should take this opportunity to learn about people in the black community whose lives and contributions are all too often minimized in our schools. We can learn about black people’s contributions in literature, art, music, history, science, math, politics, civil rights and women’s rights.
And we can advocate for our educational system to be more inclusive all year long.
As a writer, I appreciate the power of words.
In honor of Black History Month, I offer you these 16 powerful quotes:
“I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance.” ~ bell hooks
“Of course I am not worried about intimidating men. The type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in.” ~ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichiev
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou
“I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcome while trying to succeed.” ~ Booker T. Washington
“Your willingness to look at your darkness is what empowers you to change.” ~ Iyanla Vanzant
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” ~ Harriet Tubman
“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” ~ Lena Horne
“When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” ~ George Washington Carver
“You wanna fly, you got to give up the sh*t that weighs you down.” ~ Toni Morrison
“Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” ~ Mae Jemison
“Do not bring people in your life who weigh you down. And trust your instincts…good relationships feel good. They feel right. They don’t hurt. They’re not painful. That’s not just with somebody you want to marry, but it’s with the friends that you choose. It’s with the people you surround yourselves with.” ~ Michelle Obama
“The battles that count aren’t the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself—the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us—that’s where it’s at.” ~ Jesse Owens
“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength. We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of that tapestry are equal in value no matter their color.” ~ Maya Angelou
“I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” ~ Audre Lorde
“If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.” ~ Barack Obama
“Trust yourself. Think for yourself. Act for yourself. Speak for yourself. Be yourself. Imitation is suicide.” ~ Marva Collins
“If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves and allow those responsible to salve their conscience by believing that they have our acceptance and concurrence. We should, therefore, protest openly everything…that smacks of discrimination or slander.” ~ Mary McLeod Bethune
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Rolling Stone
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock