A black girl’s constant fear: Why I thought I’d never live to see 33 by Brittney Cooper

iStockPhoto2girls“What threads these women’s lives together is the collective lack of national care for their stories. Black women have been passing these narratives around the blogosphere and social media to each other, posting collective laments, and wondering if anyone else cares. These stories are not national news to anybody else, but they are national news to us.”

Continue reading @ Salon.com


ESPN’s ‘Venus Vs.’ Explores Venus Williams’s Equal-Pay Legacy by Allison Samuels

venus_williams_1996Venus Williams may be absent from Wimbledon this year, but her influence on the tournament remains—and as more than just a bellwether for sister Serena’s success.

The new ESPN film Venus Vs., which airs July 2 on the sports network, is likely to cement the tennis superstar’s legacy as a trailblazer and a heroine for women’s rights. Venus Vs. documents the long battle for equal wages among the sexes in tennis that began with Billie Jean King and was later championed by Venus.

Director Ava DuVernay suggested the Venus-themed documentary to ESPN last year after researching Williams’s relentless efforts to attain equal pay at Wimbledon. “I’d heard about it but didn’t know all of the details,’’ said DuVernay. “It’s really a fascinating story.’’

Continue reading @ The Daily Beast

the latest

4colored girls has been on hiatus but stay tuned for weekly posts. In the meantime, here’s a few top stories in colored girl america:

– Florida mom Marissa Alexander has been sentenced to 20 yrs in prison for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband. Yes, the same Florida that let a man walk free (and with his gun) after shooting a teenage boy dead. That same Florida. 

– The twitterverse and blogosphere have remained abuzz since the publication of novelist Alice Randall’s NY Times Op-Ed

– CeCe McDonald, a black transgender woman who murdered a white man in self-defense, plead guilty to a lesser charge this week

– over at Ms., I’ve been remembering the L.A. Riots and Latasha Harlins

– Our hearts go out to Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton on this Mother’s Day. Fulton is channeling her grief into activism

Black Women Still in Defense of Ourselves

By Kimberle Williams Crenshaw

One of the lasting images of the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas controversy was the photograph of the “Boxer rebellion,” the all-female Congressional delegation marching up the steps to the Senate to demand that it investigate credible claims of sexual harassment. Outside this frame, and perhaps more compelling, are the stories of when each of these women realized that intolerably destructive dynamics of power were being normalized or even defended by colleagues, spouses, friends and elected officials. Every woman who was prompted into action by Anita Hill has a moment like this.

Continue Reading @ The Nation


from SlutWalk Delhi

Picking up the momentum of over 100 demonstrations worldwide, SlutWalk New York is set to take place in Union Square Park today. The first SlutWalk march occurred in Toronto after a police officer told a group of students if they didn’t want to be sexually victimized, they shouldn’t dress like “sluts.” Kinda like the NYPD’s advice to women residents in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn where a spate of sexual attacks have occurred since March.

SlutWalk NYC is timely for other reasons too, like the victim-blaming that occurred in the highly publicized Dominique Strauss-Kahn case and the acquittals of NYPD officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata on charges of sexual assault against a woman (Moreno has since been sentenced to a year in prison for a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct). SlutWalk NYC organizers are planning to address both issues.

The organizers are also intending to address critiques of the walk, like the issues raised by Black Women’s Blueprint in an “Open Letter from Black Women to the SlutWalk” about its failure to address the concerns and acknowledge the histories of women of color when it comes to terms like “slut.” To be sure, black women have been called sluts, jezebels, hos … everything except children of God. And most times it doesn’t matter what we wear, where we are, or what we are doing. My own experiences of street harassment compelled me to support the aims of SlutWalk though I have not been able to attend an actual march yet. I do have trusted friends who are black women and who have participated in SlutWalk events. Black feminist filmmaker, rape survivor, and activist Aishah Shahidah Simmons delivered a powerful speech at SlutWalk Philadephia and Salamishah Tillet, professor, writer, rape survivor and Co-Founder of A Long Walk Home, delivered a stirring speech at SlutWalk DC. Tillet details the mixed-reception of SlutWalk in “What to Wear to a SlutWalk” and maintains that  “None of this negates the fact that SlutWalk has been the most successful protest against sexual violence in the United States since the birth of the Take Back the Night marches in the 1970s,” a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with.

The ultimate test for SlutWalk of course will be whether it can shape into a lasting organized movement made up of women and men of various ethnicity, sexuality, and nationality and committed to end sexual violence against women. In other words, it has to really “walk the walk.”

Education, Not Incarceration

More than a century after Ida B Wells led the charge against lynching, professor and feminist activist Angela Davis, through the organization Critical Resistance and national and international speaking engagements, critiques the proliferation of the prison industrial complex and asks us to envision a world without prisons. The day after Troy Davis’s execution, those of us who think the death penalty is deplorable and maintain that there was far too much doubt for Davis’s case not to be appealed are heavy-hearted and more committed than ever to changing the injustice system in this country.

Last year Angela Davis, spoke to Democracy Now about prison abolition. You can watch the video here:

Jezebels, Welfare Queens—And Now, Criminally Bad Black Moms

Monique as “Mary Jones” in the film Precious

By Julianne Hing | Colorlines

The shocking Cobb County, Ga., prosecution of Raquel Nelson, who law enforcement blamed when her son was killed by a drunken hit-and-run driver, has drawn national headlines and outrage. But criminal justice watchdogs and cultural critics point out that, while Nelson’s story is extreme, it’s not that unusual—and it’s the product of centuries worth of demonizing black women that has taken a new, insidious turn during the current recession.

“This hit and run story is such an apt metaphor for what’s happening,” said Nikki Jones, a sociologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “American policies have essentially been a hit and run on black women that leave them in circumstances where they’re managing day to day and then getting punished for their very victimhood.”

Continue Reading @ Colorlines

The Case of the "Killer" Lesbians

By Laura S. Logan | The Public Intellectual

Several African-American lesbians who fought back against an alleged attack spent time in jail and prison after being convicted of crimes related to the incident. Laura S. Logan looks at how press coverage of the group, dubbed the New Jersey 7, shaped a narrative about the women that portrayed them as predators rather than victims – a story at odds with how we usually think about LGBT people who’ve been harassed. In light of a recent popular campaign to end the bullying of LGBT people, Logan says, this case begs the question: It gets better for whom? Laura is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Kansas State University and managing editor of the journal Gender & Society.

Read @ The Public Intellectual

South Africa’s Lesbians Fear "Corrective Rape"

By Pumza Fihlani | BBC News, Cape Town

Noxolo Nkosana, 23, is the latest victim of a series of violent attacks against lesbians.

She was stabbed a stone’s throw from her home in Crossroads township, Cape Town, as she returned from work one evening with her girlfriend.

The two men – one of whom lives in her community – started yelling insults.

“They were walking behind us. They just started swearing at me screaming: ‘Hey you lesbian, you tomboy, we’ll show you,'” Ms Nkosana tells the BBC.

Before she knew it a sharp knife had entered her back – two fast jabs, then she was on the ground. Half conscious, she felt the knife sink into her skin twice more.

“I was sure that they were going to kill me,” she says.

Continue Reading @ BBC News

The Central Park Jogger Case Revisited

By Maggie Nelson | The New York Times

In the wake of the 1989 rape and near-fatal beating of a 28-year-old white woman named Trisha Meili (known to many as the Central Park jogger), and after the arrests, confessions and eventual convictions of one Latino and four African-­American teenagers for the crime, the media relentlessly asked: How did this happen? In her slim but ambitious book, “The Central Park Five: A Chronicle of a City Wilding,” Sarah Burns tackles this same question, but with a changed referent. “This,” rather than signifying a horrific gang rape in New York City’s bucolic backyard, here signifies a preventable miscarriage of justice that put five Harlem teenagers behind bars for a crime they didn’t commit. Each of the boys — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise and Raymond Santana Jr. — served between 7 and 13 years. Their convictions were vacated in 2002 by the New York State Supreme Court, after a confession and DNA analysis linked a serial rapist, Matias Reyes, to the crime.

Continue Reading @ The New York Times