Saturday, September 28, 2013

Blogging as “Therapy” for Raced-Sexism: 31-Day Blogging Challenge

I decided to try this 31-day blogging challenge (thanks Lesa Townsend). I happened to be on Twitter and saw her tweet. Without much thought, I decided to join. At the moment when I pressed the button to join the challenge I thought, Oh, this might be fun so why not. However, after a moment of reflection I rethought the benefit of this challenge. It became more than an opportunity for fun. It has turned into an opportunity for me to (re)claim an aspect of my identity—my voice.

Thinking about what I might blog about for the next 31 days has led me to think critically about why I’m not blogging consistently. Part of why I have not been blogging consistently is the after effects of being the direct target of raced-sexism and misogyny. As a critical Black feminist/womanist scholar I am familiar with the literature on how these systems of oppression affect us at the micro and macro levels. I have read the literature on how racism and sexism, while not causing illness, can exacerbate illness. However, to live with it is something different. As we say in Barbados, “come see me and come live with me are two different things.”

Deciding to participate in this challenge, in conjunction with having to go back to the place associated with my hurt/attack, has shown me the depth of the impact. I’m hesitant and a tad shy about writing. Especially writing from a critical perspective. My experience has not only impacted my critical writing, but has also had a physical impact. Starting in September I experienced weight gain (although my diet and exercise habits have not changed) and I also experienced severe headaches. These are physical manifestations of stress. But not just the everyday stress associated with daily life. This is stress directly related to raced-sexism.

Raced-sexism extracts a toll on all of us, albeit in different ways and with different intensity levels. One of the ways I explain the impact of raced-sexism to my students is to use the analogy of a paper cut. I use this analogy as so many seem to believe that since raced-sexism isn’t as visible, relative to earlier manifestations, that there is an absence of these oppressive structures. However, I tell them that like a paper cut, the person with the cut feels it, although it might not be easily visible. And if you have ever experienced a paper cut, you know how easy it is to open it up and for you to experience that pain over again.

Critical writing seems to open up my experiences with raced-sexism. So I will use this challenge to (re)claim an element of me that’s been missing these past few months. What exactly I’ll blog about is a mystery to me. I’m thinking that I’ll blog around 3 general themes (themes to be identified later). All posts might not be critical, but at least I’ll know that my love of writing, which has been put on a shelf these last few months, can be slowly and steadily nourished to life.  While I don’t know necessarily know what I’ll post about, I do know the following. All posts will be honest and from the heart and I'll only write on what I'm passionate about.

In the meantime, I ask you to share your thought on some topics that I might blog about. I want this experience to be a conversation and not a monologue. You can also tweet your suggestions to me at Dr_JZ (use #31dbc). So I’m eagerly looking forward to hearing from you.