Sunday, August 10, 2014

Just Say "NO!" To The Attempted "Columbusing" Of The BWE Social Justice Movement

I'm not surprised that there are colored girls out there trying to rewrite the history of the Black Women's Empowerment (BWE) social justice movement. That's what usually happens when a movement succeeds (along with an influx of opportunistic latecomers).

An attempt at revisionist history came up in the comment section to the excellent post "What's In a Name?" over at the blog Not Your Girl Friday. It was good to see a lot of people who were present at BWE's beginning (particularly Evia, blog host of Black Female Interracial Marriage) talk about the actual history of the BWE movement.

The REAL history of the BWE movement from those who were there at the beginning and in the early days

Those who are interested in the early history of BWE should read through the comment section. I'll quote some of the comments here.

I said:

Khadija Nassif   


On the one hand, I like loyalty. In terms of my own ethnic group, I think it’s a very good thing that more AABW are learning to speak up in support of the BW who helped them as individuals. I hope that more readers who appreciated Rev. Lisa Vazquez’ work speak up in support of her work and add their voices to this conversation.

I can disagree with another activist regarding certain issues, and still deeply appreciate that person’s work regarding other issues. That’s how I feel about Rev. Lisa’s work. I have no problem or hesitation in praising the aspects of a person’s work that I agree with. As I did when I praised the parts of Rev. Lisa’s work that I’m thankful for—such as her emphasis on introspection (as I said in my earlier comment).

It’s okay for activists and anybody else to have points of disagreement.

You said, “Rev Lisa Vasquez never once said that she was not black.” Who said she said anything like that? I haven’t seen anybody say that here. I don’t know what it is that you’re responding to when you say that, because I didn’t see anybody make that claim.

You said, “All of this has nothing at all to do with race, and when one group shows pride in their ethnicity, they are not offending another group who may share the same race with them.”

Showing pride in one’s ethnicity is a good thing (which I think I’ve mentioned in my earlier comment above). I have pride in my ethnicity. All that is great. So, I can agree with that part of your statement that I quoted above. Nevertheless, nobody gets to pick and choose what another person finds offensive.

I don’t celebrate Kwanzaa, but I DO believe in its principles, including the principle of Kujichagulia/Self-Determination for all peoples of the world. Every people’s right—including AAs’ right—to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.

That means outsiders—any and all persons who self-identify as something other than AA (persons who self-identify as somebody ELSE)—don’t get to define AAs’ ethnic identity or culture. Much less get to claim that AAs don’t have one. Outsiders don’t have any legitimate place in that type of internal conversation. And I notice that nobody even tries to go there with anybody except AAs. Because other people have boundaries and would never stand for it.

You said, “The bulk of the ideas of the BWE movement comes from Rev Lisa Vasquez’s blog which was entitled: Black Women Blow the Trumpet.”

{record scratch sound} NO. No, I’m not going to let that revisionist history pass. NO, “the bulk of the ideas of the BWE movement” DID NOT come from Rev Lisa Vasquez’s blog which was entitled: Black Women Blow the Trumpet. NO, that’s not true or accurate.

Rev. Lisa Vazquez was ONE OF SEVERAL early voices. As I recall, the BWE pioneers such as Evia, Sara, Halima, Focused Purpose (who in recent times has focused on religion) and some others were already blogging before Rev. Lisa became known.

In my view, what Rev. Lisa DID do moreso than anybody else in the early years of BWE was:

(1) bring the importance of introspection to the BWE reading audience’s attention (she took the conversations deeper than where they had been at that point in time);

(2) popularize and spread the idea of “divestment”/BW divesting from the Black community; and

(3) tirelessly spread the word about her blog AND about other BWE blogs throughout all corners of the Black blogosphere (unlike some of the BWE-lite latecomers, Rev. Lisa’s efforts didn’t revolve around self-promotion).

I greatly admired the systematic way she made the rounds at all sorts of Black blogs spreading the word about (and praising the work of) several BWE bloggers. She would comment at (and spread the word about divestment at) all sorts of “mainstream” Black blogs that I just didn’t have the fortitude to deal with. I often had the experience of running across all sorts of Black blogs that were new to me, and discovering that Rev. Lisa had already been to that blog several months earlier leaving comments. Including comments about divestment, and also comments that encouraged readers to check out some of the pioneers’ blogs.

Among the other praiseworthy accomplishments I mentioned above, Rev. Lisa Vazquez was quite thorough, systematic and generous in helping to increase the audience for other BWE blogs. Thereby increasing the reach of the ENTIRE BWE movement.

I believe that BWE’s success came sooner than it otherwise would have BECAUSE of how thorough, organized and systematic Rev. Lisa was in spreading the word.

That was one of several things I deeply admired and respected about Rev. Lisa’s work. Again, having points of disagreement does NOT equal condemning someone’s work.
An African-heritage long-time BWE commenter named JaliliMaster said: 

  • JaliliMaster
  • “Rev Lisa Vasquez never once said that she was not black. The bulk of the ideas of the BWE movement comes from Rev Lisa Vasquez’s blog which was entitled: Black Women Blow the Trumpet.”

    I have great respect for the work she did, and her blog made me think about certain things very deeply, explored issues that were only previously touched upon, etc, so I’ll just ignore that comment, but say that you are wrong. There were several early pioneers in BWE, Rev. Lisa was one of them. But to say that her blog provided the “bulk of ideas of the BWE movement “, does that even sound credible to you. Just think of what it is you are actually saying! [ . . . ]

    Another (African-heritage) long-time commenter named FoxyCleopatra said:


    As much as I am trying hard to give you the benefit of the doubt that you are not trying to stir up nonsense….I can’t. I have re-read the comments that i as well as others made and cannot figure out what it is you are responding to. Who said anything about Rev. Lisa not calling herself black? In fact didn’t Jalilimaster mention that she said she was black Puerto Rican? My point simply was that why is it fine for other black ethnic groups to identify as such and have pride in their ethnicity/nationality but then some people want to deny AAs the same? What does me making this point have to do with the comment you wrote.

    As for this….”The bulk of the ideas of the BWE movement comes from Rev Lisa Vasquez’s blog which was entitled: Black Women Blow the Trumpet.”……..I’m not even going to go there with you. I had something to write in reply but after reading Jalilimaster, Khadija and Evia’s reply, I’ve got nothing more polite to add. Black Women Blow the Trumpet was definitely one of the 5 or so early BWE blogs I used to frequent the most, but to say the bulk of BWE comes from her is beyond disrespectful to the other BWE pioneers! By the way, didn’t Rev. Lisa dislike the term ‘movement’ being used to describe her blog?

    • By the way, didn’t Rev. Lisa dislike the term ‘movement’ being used to describe her blog?
      True, she insisted that it was a ‘Think Tank’, and I had no problem with that position, so that is what I referred to her blog as.
    • It is good to give people their due, but in the process, be wise to not diminish or erase the effort that others put in.

    A White commenter who was present in the early days of BWE said:
    “The bulk of the ideas of the BWE movement comes from Rev Lisa Vasquez’s blog which was entitled: Black Women Blow the Trumpet.”

    This is not so. The main voices of the early days of BWE were Evia, Halima, Gina at WAOD, Aimee, Sara and a few others. The Rev Lisa was there as a voice in the conversation, not as the leader of thought.

    Evia said:
  • @Josephine–You said:

    “The bulk of the ideas of the BWE movement comes from Rev Lisa Vasquez’s blog which was entitled: Black Women Blow the Trumpet.”

    Now, Josephine, why did you come here with this LIE? Do you think we all have amnesia? I had retired my boxing gloves but I’m a tireless fighter when I need to fight, so I’m ready to slug this one out forever–if necessary. Enough is enough! So put up or shut up! Normally, I stand clear of these types of online slugfests but I’m ready. This is just WRONG.

    I, too, value Rev. Lisa for urging AA and other bw to look inside at the role they play in their plight, but unless you can show and prove that Rev. Lisa started posting the primary talking points of BWE ideology–and in this particular framework–prior to July 2006, I’m calling BS on this. One of the MAIN reasons why I’ve hesitated to move my main site and the various related sub-sites of mine on Typepad is because I KNOW that folks like you are going to step forward to say that they, or someone else of their choosing, are ones who invented BWEology. We know how this goes. I knew the Columbusing of BWE would begin at some point because it’s been effective!! So, in the interim, you’ve decided to advance Rev. Lisa’s name. LOL! Are you serious or is this a trial balloon you’re floating? A LOT of us (Khadija, the names she mentioned, etc) have contributed to this body of work and some of us beat the drum tirelessly about various aspects of it more than others, and some of us have shrilly amplified certain parts of it more than others, and Rev. Lisa made a worthy contribution, but she was NOT the contributor of BULK of these ideas.

    I got into putting forth and promoting some of these major BWE concepts AFTER I ran across Halima Anderson under attack on a black nationalist site back in late 2005/early 2006. I looked her up and saw that she was promoting IR dating for bw who were interested in going that route, and since I was IR married, I wrote to her to lend my support to what she was doing.. Also, there was another woman, a black biracial British woman whose writing pointed me at the ways in which bw’s image was being defiled by bm, but despite how she was aware what bm were doing, she still defended them.

    Of course, Halima pointed out the vileness of this pattern, and pointed out that a very similar desecration of bw’s image was occurring in the UK by bm there. I was of the same mind as Halima and tossed my hat into the ring because no one was going to freely pee on my grandmother’s image and AA women of her ilk–on MY watch without a fight. So, if anything, HALIMA ANDERSON, is the originator of both the foundation and some of the current flesh and blood ideas of BWE. Mind you, this was 2 years before I ever heard of Rev. Lisa. So, you’ve got to PROVE that she was writing about these concepts PRIOR to July 2006 because that’s when I started from the beginning talking about a host of very basic concepts like ‘first and foremost’ and bw supporting other bw and only supporting those who support them (RECIPROCITY)–that to me were just simple common sense.

    So, where’s your PROOF? Surely, you have it. Other than that, you must think we are FOOLS. But if you can prove it, I’m more than woman enough to apologize to you.

    I was the one who put forth the commonsense concepts such as bw Marrying Well, hypergamy, the Magical Thinking that plagues many AAbw, the DBR mentality of many AA men, the critical need for bw to Vet, escape/marry out, blacks being perpetually surprised, AAbw being okey-doked, the need for a RUCOSS, the value of intentional communities for AAbw, and I could cite some more key concepts that are now a part of BWE. Most of my billion-word articles are still online–lol– along with the dates and the ones that are not there on Typepad are on Bloigger.

    Okay . . . .Insofar as anyone claiming they’re NOT AA, I’ve never cared about that. I’m AA and my ancestors were too. I don’t care whether anyone else is. I’m enough all by myself as long as others who say they’re not NOT AA don’t step up to share in the any part of the pie that AAs have fought for and won and don’t look for support from AAs when their azz is being fried.

    I do NOT approve of trying to force anyone to acknowledge their AA-ness. I don’t care about them and if they ever need help, my boundaries are always in place, so I can ignore them easily. I don’t even waste my energy talking to them. And it sickens me that other AAs try to force other blacks to be black or be AA. UGH!!! It shows a total absence of racial or group pride to try to claim people who don’t want to be a part of your group or race. Being an old school AA is something GREAT to me!! I don’t need anyone else to share in that greatness. However, my sons are partially Nigerian and partially AA. We emphasized their Nigerian culture when they were growing up because there were a lot of progressive, family-minded Nigerians around them who were very willing to practice and teach the culture, whereas so many AAs have abandoned the fledgling culture that AAs used to have–that culture that brought us up to and through the Civil Rights era and enabled us AND ALL other blacks in this country, ALL POCs, ww, and gays to make great strides in this country. It’s not my or my children’s fault that others AAs have lost their minds and willfully abandoned AA culture. I understand the importance of culture, and I knew I needed a cultural umbrella under which to raise my sons.

    I am VERY thankful to the Nigerians and other Africans who were a big part of helping to shape my sons into the young men they are today and to the Nigerians and other Africans who contributed in various ways to supporting ME. The fact is that I’ve always been able to count a lot on Nigerians and other Africans for support during the decades and even now when more than a few AAs refused to support my entrepreneurial pursuits or only do so when they felt like it. It’s the stone cold truth when Khadija says that AAs tend to boycott other AAs products and services, no matter how high quality they are.

    So, I am always going to support those who support me and I will support them first, since I believe STRONGLY in on-par Reciprocity.

    A commenter who was present at BWE's beginning named ForeverLoyal said:

    Just popping in to say that I also remember the actual history.

     -I was on Evia’s site back when it still had the hostname suffix on it.

     -I read Racial Realist when Khadija commented regularly there (and was still a black nationalist. As an aside, she was such a strong communicator that I used to believe that if she was still hanging in there, maybe things weren’t so? so? dire in the black community. After she changed her position it was like “Well damn. There goes that”)

    -I was on Halima’s site in the early days as well as Focused Purpose. She did a post announcing the start of Khadija’s first blog

     -I was on Rev Lisa’s site in the early days as well. Her contributions were invaluable.

     -Aimee’s blogging career was brief but made a major contribution.

    I am another one who is not going to stand by and let the greasy lie (lol stole that phrase from Khadija) that Rev Lisa is almost completely responsible for the movement be told without a challenge.

    Nope. Nope. Nope.

     Not today, not ever.

    And I have a couple of Evia’s books with the dates on the posts.

     Anyone interested in the history can order them on Amazon, and I recommend them. I read them as they were posted online, but flipping through the book and going through them again gives a real appreciation for how it was in the beginning.

    One of the biggest ironies in the history of BWE
    For those who don't know, Halima (the blogger Evia referred to in her comment) is a Caribbean-British woman. I'm happy Evia commented because she filled in the blanks of some things that happened before I came on the BWE scene.
    For me, the biggest and most amusing irony in the history of BWE is that many of the BWE pioneers and early BWE supporters first became aware of each other at a Black Nationalist blog!
    I said:

  • ForeverLoyal & Evia,
    One of the biggest ironies in the history of BWE is that many of the BWE pioneers and early BWE supporters first became aware of each other at the Black Nationalist blog that you both mentioned. For those who don’t know, it was called Ruminations of a Racial Realist (as ForeverLoyal mentioned). That blog was written by a biracial Black British woman who is the daughter of (yet another) Black male Black Power hypocrite and a WW.

    ForeverLoyal, you said, “-I read Racial Realist when Khadija commented regularly there (and was still a black nationalist. As an aside, she was such a strong communicator that I used to believe that if she was still hanging in there, maybe things weren’t so? so? dire in the black community. After she changed her position it was like “Well damn. There goes that”)”

    {chuckling} Yes, I was still in my Black Nationalist trance when I started commenting there. That Black Nationalist trance had been shaken (but not yet shattered) when I learned about the Dunbar Village Atrocity through Gina’s blogging at What About Our Daughters. The Dunbar Village Crime Against Humanity was my first realization that things were even worse than I realized among the AA collective. I knew the AA collective had problems, serious problems. But at that point I still mistakenly believed that AA men “were in it together” with AA women and children. The “conscious brothers” over at the Racial Realist blog cured me of that delusion!

    What the “Hotep,” BM ankh-wearing hypocrites and their BW Sista Soldier enablers/supporters don’t realize is that AA men’s ongoing failures and DBR behavior is the greatest and the most successful “recruiting sergeant” ever for spreading the BWE message. By their ongoing refusal to protect and provide for BW and children, AA men are burning their bridges with ever-increasing numbers of AA women. Including the BW who previously felt politically obligated to support them—such as former Black Nationalist women such as myself.

    [Recently, it was another watershed moment to see the middle-of-the-road For Harriet blogger do a post explaining why she was NOT going to march for Eric Garner (basically due to BM's ongoing refusal and failure to reciprocate BW's support).]

    It was the series of deeply selfish, DBR-type comments from so-called “conscious brothers” at the Ruminations of a Racial Realist blog that ultimately pushed me all the way OUT of Black Nationalist ideology. [And I had previously believed in that ideology since college.]

    Whenever BW commenters mentioned the never-ending list of atrocities being committed against BW and Black girls by BM, these so-called “conscious brothers” would yawn and get right back to whining about WM’ss victimization of BM. The loudest BM voice on that blog was a man who later on married the blogger—they didn’t disclose their connection to each other until after they were married**. Meanwhile, he would challenge other commenters (BW who raised points concerning BW’s interests) to debate on that blog while never disclosing that his personal connection to the blogger. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not particularly ethical or good faith behavior to challenge people to debates in an online setting that (only) you and your blogger girlfriend know is not truly “neutral ground.”

    [**I found out before they disclosed their connection to each other because I stumbled across a photo of them hugged up together in a couples-type of pose at another site.]

    Anyhoo, this “conscious brother” would more or less dismiss any BM-committed atrocity by asserting that ultimately “the WM” was responsible for [feral, violent] Black males’ bad acts due to racism. I finally asked him whether or not he believed in free will.

    The things these so-called “conscious brothers” said on that blog shocked me into the realization that the masses of AA males will NEVER protect and provide for BW and children—AABW are on their own, and need to act accordingly!

    Without them intending to have this effect—

    —the deeply selfish,

    —profoundly irresponsible (marriage & family are the building blocks of any functioning nation. How can you build a nation if you refuse to marry and build families?),

    —DBR-type comments the so-called “conscious brothers” said on the Racial Realist blog snapped me right out of my prior Black Nationalist trance and put me firmly on the road to BWE—LOL!

    Check out the BWE pioneers' archives
    I strongly urge readers to check out the BWE pioneers' archives, starting with a couple of excellent and still-current posts by Aimee.