Tag: racism

Race, Class & Caribbean Feminism

Discussing race and class with regards to Caribbean feminism can be tricky. The mythology of our islands being a racial “melting pot” has led to many people wrongly believing that we have no issues of race and class or that these issues are irrelevant to feminism. The fact that there are many wealthy black people in the Caribbean has confused people.

Despite the fact that there are wealthy black people and despite the fact that there are many black women, issues of race and class are still of utmost importance to women’s issues. When thinking about race and class, we need to focus on systems of oppression, not our individual, anecdotal beliefs (many of which are informed by misinformation by international mainstream media).

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Socioeconomic Class And Climate Change

As sea levels continue to rise in the Caribbean, our region will require long-term planning (ha) and forethought about how certain areas are affected and what the government will do to mitigate these effects. In Saint Lucia, particularly vulnerable areas include fishing villages like Dennery and Anse La Raye. The “village center” of nearly every district, including the capital city, Castries sits right at sea level. This means in the future, these areas will be disproportionately affected by the rising sea levels.

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Video: Rant Video On Entrepreneurship | Living Caribbean Lifestyle Channel

Hey guys! Check out this short and quick “rant video” on what I don’t like about most entrepreneurs. If you’re into business, you pretty much know the #tea that entrepreneurship can be very sexist, classist, racist… you name it.

There are some things a girl gets SICK of. But I don’t actually want to be included in that world… I want us regular entrepreneurs to create our own circles to discuss entrepreneurship without that negativity! I’m an entrepreneur in favor of self-care 100%.

Click this link to head right to my channel where you can find more videos and most importantly, subscribe to my channel.

 

Well, What About The Men?

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Content Warning: suicide, transphobia, homophobia, sexism, abuse, mental health issues

Yesterday was International Men’s Day and I wanted to write a post addressing men’s issues but not in the way that you think. As someone who has called herself a feminist for years and been in many “arguments” about feminist issues, one of the common derailments to women discussing the social issues that affect them is, “What about the men?!”

So what about men?

Why are women responsible for solving all the social issues that affect their lives as well as the social issues that impact men as well? The truth of the matter is, men who derail with this kind of statement don’t actually care about the social issues affecting men. It’s simply an affront to them that women would dare question the status quo or would dare defy the existing social hierarchy in any way. It’s the weak attack of a threatened animal but luckily for you, there are ways to disarm this…

[[Before you read onwards… I encourage you to read ALL the posts linked in this blog post. Most of them I link for a reason and I want you to check them out to further your learning. — MGMT]]

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West Indian Religious Conservatism & Pro-Fascist Leanings

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Christianity and conservatism are diametrically opposed to each other. Yet, by asserting the word “God”, conservatives and their ilk twist the language of the Bible to suit their need to brainwash the population into supporting their definitively un-Christian agenda of discrimination, domination over people and natural resources and large-scale abuse of human rights. Fundamentalism has become acceptable; with the acceptance of fundamentalism comes a normalized absence of empathy and ethics in favor of dogma. The goals of the American right have infiltrated the minds of people throughout the Caribbean. This threatens our way of life as well as our proclaimed values of integrity, compassion and love.

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Intersectional Feminism: The Spectre of White Supremacy in the Caribbean

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“The Caribbean is a melting pot where race doesn’t matter!” Every time I hear that, I grit my teeth and wonder when omitting the history of the Caribbean became a trend to hop on. It’s natural to want to defend the Caribbean against the harsh criticisms first world people heap upon us, but saying that race doesn’t matter in the Caribbean is an ahistorical lie that denies the lived experience of millions of people in the region.

Black people came to the Caribbean on slave ships and from that moment, everything in the Caribbean has been about race. Of course, race and class then became intimately intertwined. Today, having the name of a former slave master (the slave masters were all white) is a point of pride. White people make up the wealthiest populations in our islands. Many of my Caribbean friends from various islands have said, “I don’t know anyone poor and white here.” That coupled with whiteness is known to help in school, with employment and with other situations one may experience throughout your life.

Our countries all have a massive hatred of black features… White hair is seen as clean, tidy, neat and professional whereas black hair is automatically wild/unruly or something that needs to be “fixed”. For those who think it’s about “curls” and not whiteness… White people with curly hair are NOT subjected to the same treatment as black people. Throughout the Caribbean, black hair styles are often seen as “untidy” and “unprofessional”. Another belief about blackness being inherently bad is the idea that if you go into the sun you will get “too black” — the same belief doesn’t apply to getting “too white” however. People are applauded for their physical proximity to whiteness and punished for being black. Darker skinned people experience worse treatment and excessive teasing for their skin color. These damaging beliefs about their physical appearance and identity have long lasting effects in people’s life, causing them to perpetuate race based abuse on others as well as themselves. Any woman who has transitioned from relaxed to natural hair in the Caribbean can tell you that they faced significant pushback, indicating that the issue is widespread.

Some of the more subtle cultural preferences towards white people is the tendency for black people to refer to any white man as “boss”. I’ve seen this with my father as well as my boyfriend (who is biracial but that often gets coded as white down here) where people who have no reason to, refer to them as “boss”. It’s a subtle, yet powerful way of indicating status and frankly, black people often believe themselves to be lower status than white people. There is no reason for black people to speak to white people differently from how they speak to black people, yet in the Caribbean this is all too common.

Another common experience of black people in the Caribbean is poor treatment by customer service staff. White people (thought to be tourists especially) are treated with politeness, respect and the gamut of perfect customer service. Black locals on the other hand are often treated poorly by those serving them for no reason other than their skin color. This poor treatment could be slowness, blatant rudeness or asking black people to leave certain areas for “being loud” even if they were not in fact being loud. (Yes! All of these experiences are real and have happened to various WI people I have spoken to on these issues.)

We pretend that whiteness is non-existent here, yet it is clear that being white in the Caribbean leads to better treatment overall. The occasional instance of bullying or someone charging you a higher price is NOT indicative of the larger experience of racism which occurs at an institutional level. Receiving less respect just because you’re black can have a big impact. This can impact your job search for example or can have even more dire results when you’re dealing with medical professionals who judge you simply based on your appearance. (Example: Do you look poor? Do you look rich? Guess which people look rich and which look poor. If you can guess, congrats, you just identified white supremacy in action.)

Wealth being concentrated in the same white population that owned our ancestors is also a clear cut case of institutionalized white supremacy. We make the mistake of thinking you need a white cloak to be a white supremacist, but really white supremacy is a system that ensures white people have total dominance over every aspect of our society from economics to social interactions. It is something that clearly exists and affects the Caribbean today and something that we cannot ignore if we ever want equality of any kind whether it is for women, for the poor or any other marginalized group. If white people always have it better, we will never have liberation from oppression.

Black Feminism Reader: Confusing Anti-Blackness, Sexism and Violence With “Discipline”

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This black feminism reader will explore the relationship between “discipline” and abuse within the Caribbean.

The education system is my entire life. I grew up in a household with two teachers; my mother went to Teacher’s College in Saint Lucia and my father had four different degrees (including a law degree) before he joined her to teach at what claims to be the best secondary school in Saint Lucia. My parents care about education more than anything; I realize just how real this statement is whenever I go somewhere with my father and every. single. girl. stops and says hello to their dear former math teacher.

I am one of the lucky few (and really, there can’t be more than 12 of us) who left secondary school in Saint Lucia to attend boarding school in the United States (a school that currently ranks #7 Private School in the country). My luck doubles and I attended Middlebury College (#4 Liberal Arts College in the U.S.)

Simply showing up and sitting in classrooms regurgitating information is not all it takes for education to be important to you. When I say education is important to me, I mean the only type of education that really exists — self education. At any given moment, there are no teachers, the decision to learn rests squarely within yourself. Without anyone breathing down my neck, I have chosen learning again and again and again. (more…)

When you define feminist, why exclude “Internet Activists”?

Why do feminists in academia think they can define “feminist” for everybody? In one of my classes at Middlebury, I was responsible for editing the work of one of my classmates. She wrote her post on the fruitlessness of blogging as a platform for feminist activism. I kept my critique as respectful as possible and even now, I’m not here to bash the specifics of her post. There are some underlying ideas that I did gain from what I read that are very troubling and recreate the current societal structure.

1. The belief that some voices “deserve” to be heard over others.

Who gets to decide which voices are deserving and which aren’t? If you view feminism as a platform to exclude undesirable voices, are you any better than oppressive people who want to exclude the voices of the marginalized? They don’t believe marginalized voices deserve to be heard either. Stop thinking that it’s up to you to decide who is deserving of a voice.

2. The belief that “crazy” people shouldn’t have a platform to express themselves.

Who is considered “crazy” in our society is highly gendered and racialized. What this means (basically) is certain people are automatically considered crazy for their gender or their race. ($100 prize if you can guess who is considered the craziest.) If we silence the voices of the most radical because we have already dismissed them due to “craziness”, we again risk maintaining the very power structure we want to deconstruct.

3. The belief that feminist voices don’t need to be heard because they only communicate with other feminists.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The internet gives hundreds of thousands if not millions of people easy access to educating themselves about feminism. This includes people who may not originally have considered themselves feminists. Blogs and twitter feeds do NOT only include other feminists. These posts and conversations are public and give a voice to opinions that are marginalized by mainstream discourse.

So what good are feminist blogs? What good is internet activism?

Feminist blogs, hashtag feminism and all other forms of feminist activism that rely on the internet offer a more inclusive feminism. While many people in the world do not have access to the internet, many do. And these people have the opportunity to create grassroots movements, to learn, to explore, and to talk about the way oppression impacts their lives. It’s important that these platforms exist because now, you don’t need to be validated by the mainstream for your voice to be heard. Resistance is happening now on the internet. Significant conversations and activism happens on twitter every day.

I think the mainstream culture (especially in the U.S.) is afraid of internet activism. Finally the oppressed population has an easy way to connect with each other. We can organize. We can communicate. We can support each other and make surviving in this world a little easier for each other. That in itself is a threat to the powers that be. So the response is to say internet activism is “unimportant”. Well, historically the voices of the oppressed have always been considered unimportant. We didn’t shut up then, and we won’t be silent now.