Diary of a Black Feminist

“My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit” – Flavia Dzodan
The first time I came across the above quote from Amsterdam based writer and media analyst, Flavia Dzodan, I nearly squirted feminist joy. Finally, here was someone voicing my thoughts on feminism and the global sisterhood. I once wrote about feminist standpoints (Read here) – way back in Nigeria, before I came to Europe and encountered White privilege. Back then I sincerely thought White women who define and approach feminism from the orbits of their White privilege were pardonably ignorant of Black culture, of the lived experiences and struggles of Black women. Back the, I was sincerely ignorant, naive even, of racism and racial prejudice. Living in two powerful, European countries – The Netherlands and The United Kingdom – have since cured me of that naivety. Suffice it to say: I’ve been schooled. And what an education.
To elaborate… I tweeted earlier today about writing of the exclusionary attitudes of my White and Brown classmates. When I hit send on Twitter, I was genuinely hurt. Hurt because once again my presence doesn’t count in White and Brown circles. Hurt because I am invisible in a world where people write and lament of the ills of human invisibility. By world, I mean the world of Women’s and Gender Studies. By exclusionary attitudes, I mean that I am often excluded from parties, drinks and get-together-without-names. I was excluded in NL and I am excluded in the UK. Recently, my feminist classmates threw a “class” party and nobody deemed it fit to notify me. FYI, I am very “visible” on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Whatsapp, but not one person requested for my presence at that gathering. It stung even though it wasn’t the first or second or third time. I often wonder if my inability to pay £4 for a glass of wine and chitchat all through the night was the reason I was excluded, but that’s my African hospitality making excuses for their White and Brown rudeness and privileges. I say this because I have been blatantly disrespected and discriminated against by women who claim to be in pursuit of gender equality. Women who profess to be feminists furthering women’s causes. Here one is reminded of Flavia Dzodan’s powerful position on intersectionality in feminism. Of what use is feminism if the struggles of one group are excluded/ignored/degraded? A coursemate once told me I was too old to still be pursuing a Master’s degree. True, when you consider that European women bag PhDs at 26. But, I’m not European, and while it’s admirable that my European mates have their shits together and are securing mortgages on houses I can only drool about, it is discriminatory to downplay my struggles for independence, my efforts to rise above the patriarchal structures of my country to pursue my dream of becoming a feminist warrior. As if that comment was not ageist and totally lacking in intersectionality, the same coursemate told me she hopes I get a job soon and it better not be cleaning. Sorry, Hun, I come from a developing country, my govt. doesn’t approve loans and grants for feminist research and the pursuit of gender equality. Sorry, Hun, I was able to enroll in this reputable program because so many friends and family pitched in and made it possible. I’m sorry, Hun, that my mother earns the average of what you spend on groceries as monthly pension. I’m sorry, Hun, that I’m a self-funded single mom with bills to take care of back home. I’m sorry, Hun, that that cleaning job which you deem beneath your white, privileged self paid for my rent – with change – while I was studying in the Netherlands. I’m sorry, Hun, that you’re ignorant of your privilege, and does not understand what it takes for my Nigerian, self-funded self to leave my continent to study in yours. 
When I look back on that first essay on feminist standpoints, I am tempted to give myself a hard knock for my foolery. Majority White and Brown feminists are plain blind to their privilege, and blind to the presence of Black women, and they simply don’t give a damn. It is 2016 – 165 years after Sojourner Truth confronted a room full of White women with their privilege – and I am Sojourner Truth asking my White and Brown classmates: “ain’t I a woman?”


About Egoyibo Okoro

Beautiful. Friendly. Opinionated. Feminist. Scholarly. Political. Christian. Sometimes, I write in Engli-Igbo and/or pidgin English. Just so you know, I am naturally disgruntled about a lot of things, most especially gender inequality, human rights abuses, racism and corruption. #EndChildMarriage. #EndTerrorism. #EndPoverty. #EndRacism. #EndImperialism. The Igbo say, "egbe bere, ugo bere, nke si ibe ya ebena nku kwa ya" - Live and let live!
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2 Responses to Diary of a Black Feminist

  1. egbuyugo says:

    People always scream discrimination until they are part of the majority & blatantly ignore the minority. Nice one, Ego.

    • Thank you, my brother. I fear the circle of discrimination will never end. From sexism to ageism to classism. There’s always someone being left out. Shame on humanity.

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