The battle hymn of a dangerous black woman…

It's been awhile, but Shakesville still feels like home!

Shall we?

Cross-posted from

I am a black woman.

I am your enemy if you seek to oppress me and mine.

I am dangerous as hell if you seek power through my oppression.

I am suspect if you fear someone who does not actively seek to be like you, to please you, or to give you strength through my submission.

I am something to be feared if you fear the empowerment of others.

I am - unbought, unbossed, and unashamed.

Reproductive justice didn’t happen to me.

Fighting for the right to determine whether to have children, to raise the children we have, and to raise our families in communities free of violence and oppression…all of that wasn’t done to black women.

All of that was and is done with black women, by black women for black women.

We are of this movement.

Always have been.

Always will be.

So reproductive justice didn’t happen to me.

I am reproductive justice.

And you know and I know that you know that I know that you cannot advocate on behalf of black women if you do not trust black women.

But some will try.

A campaign is afoot.

A campaign that would define black women as genocidal…that claims that black children are a separate species that is endangered in the hands of black women…and that seeks to divide and conquer through the tired old tactic of blaming and shaming women in general and black women specifically.

Those who place racist billboards in our communities want to talk about dangerous places.

Okay…let’s talk about dangerous places.

Let’s talk about the infant mortality rate in America…about the lot of the born…about how each year having an infant that lives past the first year of life becomes more and more a privilege for the few and an expectation determined by race rather than a right of the masses. And let’s talk about how the stereotype of bad black mothers fuels the acceptance of high infant mortality rates just like it fuels the acceptance of low employment rates, low graduation rates and racial profiling.

As if all that is our due.

As if all that is to be expected.

Let’s talk about health care disparities…about how the same motherfuckers shouting about life vote against life saving programs and rally against expanding access to health care.

Let’s chat about how black women are more likely to lack access to cancer screenings, more likely to have a delayed cancer diagnosis, and more likely to die because of it.

And let’s talk about why funding for programs that provide low cost cancer screenings is under attack, why health care programs that serve poor women are under attack and why the some of the same people who chastise black women who do not breast feed won’t do a damn thing to help protect the breast health of a black woman.

Let’s talk about the lack of access to pre-natal care…the low birth weight of infants born into poverty…about how so many families struggle to provide diapers for their infants that there are multiple national campaigns trying to meet that need.

Let’s talk about prevention…and how that’s such an unpopular word.  Let’s talk about how some see the wages of sex as illness, suffering and death…about how the same people protesting at the clinic can’t be bothered to baby sit at the shelter for homeless teen mother less than a block away.  And let’s talk about those shelters…about how there are so many of them in St. Louis city…about the amazing women who live there and about the lack of funding for programs that help their families out. Let’s talk about the waiting lists at those shelters…about the sisters who get turned away…about the children who go to sleep hungry and wake up hungry and go to school hungry and walk back home to go to sleep hungry again.

Let’s talk about lies.

About how the Missouri legislature passed a law mandating that women who seek abortion services must be told that there are programs to help them with housing and child care and education if they choose to continue their pregnancy…about how those programs are the same programs the legislature cut funding for while they mocked those who needed those services on the floor of the people’s house.

Let’s talk about black babies born to black mothers who are shackled during labor.

Let’s talk about the removal of comprehensive sex education from our schools and how our young people enter adulthood with the abstinence only advice to put a quarter between their legs and squeeze.

Let’s talk about how the debate over life ends at birth…about the young women I’ve met who chose to have a baby only to find that the same people praising them for that decision won’t hire them, don’t want them moving into their neighborhood, will one day grab their handbag and lock their car door when that black baby becomes a black man who walks by them on the sidewalk. 

But I don’t get to just "talk" about all that.

I’m a black woman - I live it.

I get to walk into a health care center to a shower of shouts from white men charging that I’m a race traitor, that I’m participating in black genocide, and that I bring shame upon black America…anti-choice activists who have been emboldened by a campaign that feeds right into the racism that lives just beneath the surface, that opportunistic infection that feeds off of billboard campaigns spouting rhetoric that backs up what they already hold true – that black women are lesser than, dangerous, inferior, lacking in humanity, unhinged, untrustworthy, reckless…

That black woman = violent.

I am a black woman.

That black woman = bad mother.

I am a black woman.

That black woman = sex object.

I am a black woman.

That black woman = irresponsible.

I am a black woman.

That black women are a problem.

I am a black woman.

That black women are unfit.

I am a black woman.

And so black women must be…wait for it…oppressed for our own good.


The most dangerous place for my rights is in the hands of my oppressor.

And the most dangerous place for oppression is in my angry black hands.


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