A passing thought:
Women are often constructed to bare their slights in silence.
It makes sense, right?
The systems which enable so many grievances – be it casual harassment, discourses on irrational hysteria, prejudices against the economic worth of baby carriers, rape (there is seemingly no end to this list) – hardly responds well to women who challenge it, speak back to it, call it out. Neither do men in power respond well to being told they are privileged – that some part of their success is unearned – and the risks are great; they are powerful for a reason. They can hinder you, harass you, marshal the status quo against you.
And in America?!
Even with my maleness, my class privilege, my education, my physicality, my confidence, pride, aplomb; I can’t honestly say, with much assurance, that I would talk back.
To even consider listing the injustices towards black people seems futile. To even contemplate a list of injustices towards black women makes my head hurt.
And in America?!
No “Western” nation can claim to have transcended its caste structures, but in America… Well, I don’t understand why much of the rest of the world has not offered African Americans refugee status (I mean not to suggest they should vacate their country and home, only that the freedom to do so, and the recognition of their justifications, should be readily available.)
Extraordinary as she is, Serena Williams nonetheless showed something quite remarkable on the 8th of September. She did something she was not supposed to. She overrode the system. She spoke, loudly, and with words I hope will capture the hearts of our angry young generation. With words I hope, more importantly, will speak to every black girl whose hair has been made fun of, to every black teen told her bursary is unearned tokenism, to every black woman bedevilled by colleagues who assume her promiscuous:
“You Owe Me An Apology!”