Question: I hope I havnt sounded disrespectful or nothing, that was just my two cents as an African woman who has spent most of her life in Africa - decolonizedafrican
ok, first off, hello, hi and thanks for following! thanks for your question and your thoughts on the topic. and also i don’t think you were disrespectful at all!
i think your example is actually a great example. Alice Walker going to some place in Africa, making a film with some savior bullshit and using her position as a well known feminist AND westerner to make the video viewable and gain attention. and her saying that about her eye injury in comparison to genital cutting sounds like some real offensive fuck shit.
i think that IS a total example of western privilege in a place where one can be Black and American and woman and still be condescending and in a position to tell the stories of these girls in a way that is westernized, voyeuristic and exploitative, as well as offensive and unhelpful, and sounds like pretty not feminist, in my opinion.
with that being said, my main point is most Black Americans aren’t Alice Walker. or President Barack Obama. Or Oprah. Or the small amount of Black Americans in the position to be able to do that. And their ARE people in the position to be able to do that. but when we discuss western privilege, i think as you note the single story, this is the single story of Black Americans we hear. one where most Black Americans have the access to do things such as that and this is just… the norm. that is inaccurate. Black middle and upperclass Americans are not the norm nor the full picture of access for Black Americans living in the US. this is generally my main point.
to do what Walker did, you have to have some prestige, some money and a passport. while we have over a million Black people incarcerated and attached to the criminal justice system in the US, we are erasing their stories by attaching western privilege to those people in discussions of travel and leaving the country when many Black American slave descendants have not even left the state, let alone the country.
i guess my main point is to be very clear about who we are talking about in saying western privilege. and how we don’t want that single story, to ignore the very diverse realities of Black people both in America and abroad. And my qualm is with people like BlackinAsia, who have both a passport and no slave descendent history tying him to this country against his will and he is discussing western privilege. He is a Nigerian born man who may be an American citizen using his experience to bludgen those of less fortunate American born slave descendants to silence. and that’s not cute.
As for myself, i can say if I were to leave this nation i would have some benefits others wouldn’t and some i would not. Being American and light skinned Black American can hold weight in some places at some time. But someone like me also isn’t the face of US imperialism or prosthelyzing traveling feminism because i’m someone bound to this country against my will via the penal system and by virtue of being Black in America and living and surviving as Black in America and paying the price. if i ever leave the nation, it will be these conversations that really influence how i might conduct myself and behave to be respectful and not overstep my bounds.
But I think all in all, as you pointed out, nuance is the most important thing in these convos. Just as not all Black Americans are Alice Walker, all Black Americans dont live in the ghetto with no access to shit. it’s just a matter of being specific and not just pointing fingers. what you did was super specific and i think a perfect example of what could be called Western privilege. so thanks so much for saying this/writing this/asking this.