Whitesplaining Black Girl Hair and Bullying: (Racial Battle Fatigue Series Part I)
On my personal Facebook page…After I posted my concerns about my 6 year old being bullied and teased for having a natural hair style (big puffy curly afro) by non-Black children, my concerns about the racist and white supremacist nature of the bullying was “white-splained” and derailed by a well intended white woman vegan. She insisted that the bullying was a “human” problem and not a white supremacy/anti-Blackness problem and spoke of all types of violence against humans and non-human animals that currently exist. She framed it that “HUMANS HATE AND OPPRESS HUMANS and NONHUMAN ANIMALS” and it’s not white supremacy it is a HUMAN problem. It was how she tried to explain the bullying of my daughter’s afro.
Her explanation was basically “All Lives Matter” rhetoric and it was frustrating but very indicative of neoliberal white misunderstanding of a white supremacist racial caste system (USA) and that yes, there is violence against humans by humans, but we need to locate this specific one , name it as ‘white supremacy’ and anti-Blackness if we’re ever going to tackle this specific problem my daughter is having.
At the end, me and the women of color trying to explain why we center of “Racism” and “anti-Blackness” and not simply the white-centric liberal ideology of “ALL HUMAN OPPRESS, ” we were told that our refusal to prescribe to her “All Lives Matter” rhetoric equated to us being ‘violent’, ‘attacking her’, and confirming her belief that we humans are addicted to bullying and violence.
Apparently, centering and naming ourselves as non-white racialized subjects in a white supremacist USA while raising our non-white children means we are “violent” for not agreeing with the general assessment “Well, all humans oppress and are bullies” as we try to figure out (as mostly femmes and women vegans of color), how to protect our non-white children from systemic racism producing racialized bullying. (sigh)
So, how many of you are still remaining silent on these issues?
And if you recall, I was nominated as the VP candidate for the Humane Party and I made it clear that I’m not taking a post-racial approach to veganism and human rights issues in 2016:
Dr. A. Breeze Harper has a PhD in Critical Food Geographies. She is the creator of The Sistah Vegan Project and the editor of the ground-breaking anthology, Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak On Food, Identity, Health, and Society, is a sought-after speaker, writer, and consultant at Critical Diversity Solutions (www.criticaldiversitysolutions.com).
Her most recently published book is Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014). Scars interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of protagonist 18 year old Savannah Sales, the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. In 2018, her latest book project will be published, tentatively titled Black Mama Scholar: On Black Feminism, Food Ethics, And Toddler Tantrums .
Overall, Dr. Harper’s work focuses on how systems of oppression- namely racism and normative whiteness- operate within the USA. She uses food and ethical consumptions cultures, within North America, to explore these systems. Her favorite tools of analysis are critical whiteness studies, decolonial world systems theory, Black feminisms, critical race feminism, critical animal studies, and critical food studies. She is known for using engaged Buddhism as the choice method to explain her research and broach these often difficult topics of power, privilege, and liberation.
Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. Her talks explore how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality and physical abilities.
If you are interested in having A. Breeze Harper speak at your college, conference or organization please contact her at email@example.com. Learn more about her on her author and publications page here.