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by Nduta Waweru, at 03:00 pm, September 11, 2018, Art Attack

This June Jordan’s poem on racism and sexism against black women is what you need today

Photo: June Jordan/Facebook

The combination of racism and sexism against black women is known as misogynoir, a phrase coined by queer black feminist, Moya Bailey, to show how the two factors contribute to the bias and violence against black women.

Interestingly, misogynoir is only perpetuated by white people, it can also be perpetuated by black men.  It surfaces in many ways including the erasure of black women from black and civil rights movements including the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

It also encompasses the ‘strong black woman’ stereotype, which only pictures and contextualises a black woman as someone who can handle anything thrown at her, thus encouraging mistreatment of black women.  Another example of misogynoir is the portrayal of black women as hypersexualised beings, which colours the way black girls and women get into sexual relationships.

Although it was coined in 2010, it encaptures a practice that has been in existence since time immemorial. This poem by Caribbean-American poet June Jordan tells of experiences the persona suffers because “I am the wrong/ sex the wrong age the wrong skin.”

Born in 1936, Jordan began writing at the age of seven. Throughout her life, she wrote on many issues including race, gender, representation and immigration. She went ahead and published 27 books, with her 27th book being published after her death in 2002.

Jordan identified as bisexual, at a time when anything out of heterosexuality was frowned upon. She also considered herself a feminist and contributed heavily towards feminist discourse.

Here is the poem titled, Poem about My Rights

 

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