When Quvenzhané Wallis was called that horrible word and Black feminists rushed to fill the vast social media space with righteous indignation and even a love letter letting her know that she is cherished, valued, and worthy of protection, we fought that battle alone. Even Baratunde R. Thurston, comedian and author of How To Be Black, defended his former employers. While he made it clear that he would stay out of the fray, he peeped his head in juuuuuust long enough to let us know that though he felt bad for Quvenzhané and her family, The Onion deleting the tweet was kind of a huge deal.
Oh, well, that’s just swell! We’ll just grab our tampons, Afro picks and anger, and be on our way.
^See what I did there? That’s satire.
As the layers of this incident continue to unfold, Black feminists have been accused by misogynists of irrationalism in the face of microaggression and ignorance in the face of satire apparently so sophisticated that it floats just beyond our comprehension. And during this condescending exercise in privilege, white feminists have largely remained silent. That is the travesty here. We can all take the outcry over Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a “slut” all the way to the White House, but a 9-year-old Black girl can’t even get the support of white feminists in 140 characters or less.
Though I’m sure I will be called divisive for examining the very large cat that has apparently grabbed the tongues of self-proclaimed feminist organizations and torch-bearers who would have essentially stormed the Bastille if any young, white girl had “playfully” been called a “cunt” in front of millions of people, I’m perfectly fine with that. In fact, I embrace it. Feminism is the flawed solution to a very complex equation, and to get to the root of any complex equation, one must divide. Unfortunately, it’s becoming increasingly evident that some people don’t want us to divide because then we’ll realize something isn’t quite adding up.
Shirley Chisholm once said that ”the emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, “It’s a girl.”
For Black women, go ahead and add racial objectification to the list. And if the case of a 9-year-old Black girl has taught us anything, it’s that when it comes to combating intersecting cases of racism and sexism, don’t be surprised if we’re all we got.