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FROM BAARTMAN TO WALKER: A History of Black Feminine Sexuality and its Pornographic Reflections

Updated: May 4, 2023

“In search of my mother’s garden, I found my own.” -Alice Walker

Because of its centrality to modern Black feminist theory and topics of objectification, usage, and hatred of the Black woman, some feel that the story of Saartjie or Sara Baartman has become a symbol or even a weapon as it pertains to the depiction of Black women and their respective sexuality. But, there is no better way to understand the beginning of Western objectification and commodification of Black womens’ bodies than to listen closely to the conditions that plagued Saartjie’s life, and would forever leave imprints on how Eurocentric culture views the Black woman and her body. More importantly, to view her story as not just a symbol for struggle, a cautionary tale of sorts, an appliance. To see her as human, as woman.

Saartjie or "Sara" Baartman

According to Clifton Crais and Pamela Scully, authors of Sara Baartman and the Hottentot Venus, Baartman was born in 1789 in the Gamtoos Valley of South Africa and was orphaned in a commando raid by the time she was a girl. We will never know her given name; Saartjie is the diminutive form of Sara, which was the name given to her later in her life. She worked in Cape Town, which at the time was under rule of the British, as a nursemaid and a washerwoman, and later as a wet nurse (no confirmation of Baartman’s motherhood exists, but it is believed that she had two children that

died as infants.) While working, a ship doctor named Alexander Dunlop who was collecting and touring unique animal specimens around Europe took note of Baartman; she had a noticeably and unusually large posterior. This served as a point of scientific and exploitative curiosity at the time, in which medical doctors started to look for scientific evidence to back the sociological phenomenon of racism. Even outside of this, though, her figure and body was seen as “exotic” or even “freakish.” She was persuaded by the ever-persistent doctor to accompany her to England, yet the mystery still remains of what Baartman had in mind that caused her - of her own will - to step on that ship with him in 1810.

She soon realized, however, that her life in Europe was, although different, an even more acute version of the servitude she faced in Cape Town. People paid through the nose to just take a look at Baartman and her unique figure, and she became a spectacle of gargantuan proportions. She was showcased immediately, as “freak shows” were a well-established concept in Europe at the time. Baartman was renamed “Hottentot Venus” for the show, “Hottentot” being a now-offensive term for the Khoisan people of South Africa, and “Venus” being the often-sexualized goddess of love and passion. She became a cultural touchpoint in England, some of the exposure having to do with sheer controversy: the slave trade was abolished three years before Baartman’s arrival in England. But, just because the legality was unclear at best, and there were some who publicly questioned her autonomy in the matter, this did not change the rhetoric surrounding her and African people in general at the time. Per Dr. Gordon-Chipembere, a professor of African diasporic literature and the author of Representation and Black Womanhood: The Legacy of Sarah Baartman, she was marketed openly as the “missing link between man and beast.”

William Heath, "A Pair of Broad Bottoms," 1810

Baartman ended up being sold to what some referred to as an “animal trainer” in France, and he showcased her rigorously at the Palais Royal, one of Paris’s most representative landmarks still to this day. Later, she was also summoned to the wealthy and elites’ private parties at their homes, leaving Baartman’s promoters safe from slavery charges. Crais states that, "by the time she got to Paris, her existence was really quite miserable and extraordinarily poor. Sara was literally treated like an animal. There is some evidence to suggest that at one point a collar was placed around her neck.” (Crais 2009). Once the palpable interest in her body died down in Paris, she had no choice but to turn to prostitution. She died at age 25, penniless and weak, of an unknown inflammatory illness such as smallpox or syphilis. No autopsy was performed for the cause of death, yet her body was examined and preserved, and even used as affirmative evidence for the then-popular theory of scientific racism, suggesting that discrimination against other races, namely Africans, was justified because they had concrete biological differences that made them inferior. Her body was one of many that was used and discarded in an attempt to codify a racial and gender-based hierarchy, with white men at the top. She was noted at the time of her death for having womanly and sexual features of “slender arms,” a “graceful” back, and “pretty” and “charming” feet. Yet, her features that could not be linked to sexuality, such as her ears or her disposition, were described as “ape-like.” Her skeleton, brain, and genitalia were preserved, and a cast of her body was made as well. These remains were put on display at the Museum d’ Historie Naturelle with her skeleton and cast facing to the side of the viewer, emphasizing her posterior as the point of spectacle. This exhibit was on display until 1976.

More than 200 years after Saartjie Baartman’s birth, she was finally brought home to be laid to rest. She was buried on August 9, 2002, in Vergaderingskop, a hill in the town Hankey by the Gamtoos River where she was born. She remains an iconic figure in the struggle against the violence, commodification, and colonization of Black women’s bodies.

However, it was not until 2002 that she was finally granted the permission to rest peacefully. To step off of the stage, to find stillness in death, to lie knowing that there are no more eyes on her, no more hands on her. This is an affordance that was given to Saartjie begrudgingly and far too late, and an affordance that Black women throughout history have not been allowed to want, let alone expect. Baartman is one of endless examples of the Western fascination with “owning” a Black body, co-opting it, making it their own. More than this, seeing a Black person as just a body, as a commodity, as a resource, as a machine. Specifically, seeing a Black woman as subhuman, subwoman, requiring no dignity, no autonomy, and no care in comparison to white women.

Why is this, though? How have we allowed the continuing perception of Black women and Black people in general to be fraught with the idea of objectification, and where did this perception even arise from in the first place? Most principally, how have we allowed this perception to pervade our every facet of culture when it comes to sexual depictions of Black people, namely, women? And why do we allow ourselves and others to fall victim to the implications around their existence so passively?

"The White Man's Burden"

The history of white supremacy and the idea that the white race is superior to that of other races is a long-standing and persistent idea, and one that has far from a quantifiable or identifiable instigation of the movement. The concept of colonization is not just reserved for white or European people; exploration and the conquering of newly-explored land was practiced by early civilizations such as the Phoenicians and the Arabs. The collapse of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in the 1400’s, however, gave way to opportunities for trade route seizures, and, combined with a growing curiosity and consciousness about the world outside of Europe, this in turn led to a desire to not only explore but to conquer and “educate” the rest of the world. The concept of the superiority of Western Christianity was one of the most important aspects of the violent colonization that took place. European countries such as the Spanish, the French, and the British became leaders in an effort to expand their grasp on the world’s territories, and this led to an attitude of European entitlement and imperialism. The urge to erase and replace cultures and peoples who didn’t fit the European’s ethnocentric view became a tenet of white culture. They became superimpowered, and this caused Europeans to actually view the territories that they conquered and colonized, therein the people that lived in them, as subordinate to them. The enslavement of these “subordinate” people was a symptom of this idea, and the view of the culture seeped into the view of the validity and legitimacy of these peoples’ very existence.

However, conceptions about African and Black people’s nature predates modern slavery in America and Europe. Early explorers confused nudity for lewdness, and interpreted polygamy and certain tribal dances as a reflection of sexual lust and desire. William Smith described African women as “‘hot constitution'd Ladies’' who ‘are continually contriving stratagems how to gain a lover.’ (White, 1999, p. 29)” (Pilgrim 2002). David Pilgrim, a professor of sociology at Ferris State University, states that “the genesis of anti-black sexual archetypes emerged from the writings of these and other Europeans: the black male as brute and potential rapist; the black woman, as Jezebel whore… In part, this was accomplished by arguing that blacks were subhumans: intellectually inferior, culturally stunted, morally underdeveloped, and animal-like sexually. Whites used racist and sexist ideologies to argue that they alone were civilized and rational, whereas blacks, and other people of color, were barbaric and deserved to be subjugated.” (Pilgrim 2002). In the slave trade, the Jezebel stereotype was used as a means of justification for sexual relationships between slaves and masters, rationalizing the behavior by implying that, because of her promiscuity and sexual lust, the Black woman lured the white man into a sexual relationship, or that she was “irresistable.” This alleviated blame on the white man’s part (the invisible in-group), shifted it onto the Black woman (visible out-group), and in turn normalized and vindicated the abuse and use of Black womens’ bodies. The painting below, chillingly entitled Virginian Luxuries, acutely portrays the abusive sexual economy of slavery throughout the 17th-20th centuries.

Unkown, "Virginian Luxuries," 1825

Despite the rhetoric pushed about the sexuality of Black people, the reality of their treatment by white people in this regard is contingent on the conditions on which they were immersed into Western culture. Black peoples’ very existence is predicated upon their body and its associated usefulness. In conjunction with the perceived lewdness of their culture, white people saw Black people as inferior and therein as a tool for productivity. Black men were perceived, and in turn sexualized still, based on their brute strength or their ability to perform physical labor. Black women were held to the same standard, but it is combined with the fact that they are seen as vehicles for sex and procreation. Mirielle Miller-Young, a professor of feminist theory at the University of California in Santa Barbara, said in an NPR interview that ”slavery existed as a sexual economy, and that black bodies have always been… both breeders and concubines. They have been erotic - kind of illicit erotic commodities in an economy that is built upon our labor.”

And, indeed, there is a level of eroticism that is associated with racism. When analyzed through queer theory, Sharon Patricia Holland in her innovative piece The Erotic Life of Racism, says, “In essence, I am opening the door to a notion of the ‘erotic’ that oversteps the category of the autonomous so valued in queer theory so as to place the erotic—the personal and political dimension of desire—at the threshold of ideas about quotidian racist practice.” (Holland 9). To extrapolate on this, take the castration and mutilation during the torture and lynching of free Black Americans as an example: there is something carnal, something innately erotic and self-loathing/self-preserving about the behavior exhibited by those who perform these acts of violence against Black people. It is a white hatred of the Black body, a hatred of their physical form, the idea that the reflection of their existence is only tied to their bodies and could never be tied to their soul or identity. But, further, and more confusing for the people that commit these acts, that their existence and humanity could in fact transcend their body and its perceived “usefulness,” that Black peoples’ humanity is just as legitimate as their own. For those who think in this binary and allow themselves to fall victim to the tropes that are used to rationalize this abuse, the concept that Black humanity exists is cause for anger, anger oftentimes that stems from deep-seated disillusionment. Therefore, the acutely carnal hatred that exists towards Black people is an outcome and cause of this rhetoric, and serves as a reminder from those in the in-group that as soon as Black people are seen as more than just their body, it confuses and blurs the lines of this binary and hierarchy. They then, as punishment, strip them down to their most basic and naked form, exhibiting hatred and violence towards the one part of their identity that is hegemonically literate to remind them of their place in this purported hierarchy.

Marie-Guillemine Benoist, "Portrait of Madeleine" (formerly known as "Portrait of a Negress"), 1800

This is taken even a step further with Black women, where she is not only stripped of her bodily dignity, but also her sexual sovereignty. Her body is seen as not just as a reflection of these tropes, it is used and abused at the hands of the men who write them for their own benefit. Historians estimate that 58% of enslaved women aged 15-30 years old were sexually assaulted by their owners or other white men, and the number in reality is most likely much higher. Enslaved women routinely submitted to public “examinations” by slavers or owners to deduce their reproductive abilities. Further, it was normal practice to experiment on Black women through surgery or medical operations administered without anesthesia. She is taken advantage in almost every way imaginable, and afterwards disposed of. Whether these actions are historically literal or modernly figurative is not inconsequential per se, but of almost equal importance. This attitude is a means of oppression, and exists obviously still in media and culture, even if its methods of employment are more insidious and less overt.

Out of all methods of depiction of Black women, Black feminine sexuality, and Black womens’ relationship with men and women of other races, pornography is one of the most searing and harmful ways the aforementioned conceptions and stereotypes are able to persist in today’s society. The glorification and normalization of the hypersexualization of Black women and the idea of their body as an object pervades pornography and depictions of Black women in media. This concept, combined with under-representation of Black women in pornography in general, leads to perpetuate harmful stereotypes about the Black woman’s sexuality.

In feminist theory, and even the qualified Black feminist theory, there is not one accepted consensus about the effects of pornography towards women. Many women around the second-wave of feminism, namely white women, started to argue that any pornography at all is harmful to the way men view women. Many feminists view pornography as inherently exploitative, even if the women in it seem to be enjoying themselves. Catherine MacKinnon, one of the 1980’s leading radical feminist scholars, argues that female pornography stars are not there by choice, but by a lack of choices. Gail Dines states also that pornography is becoming increasingly abusive and aggressive in its nature, and that this breeds more of this attitude towards women outside of pornography. However, while still acknowledging that at times women are coerced or abused into the production or participation in pornography, more sex-positive feminists posit that women are still entitled to consume and participate in it.

While the benefits of these conversations taking place are present, the conversations were and are mainly between white women. Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan, two extremely famous second-wave feminists who spoke on opposing sides on the topic of pornography, were also known for having exclusionary views when it came to intersectionality between different races of women, and prioritized white feminism as the main issue. Black feminism emerged out of a lack of representation for Black women in these conversations. The idea behind Black feminism as described by the Combahee River Collective in 1977 is that “Black women are inherently valuable, that [Black women's] liberation is a necessity not as an adjunct to somebody else's but because our need as human persons for autonomy.” Unlike the mainstream feminism movement that prioritizes white womens’ fight for equality on the basis of gender, Black feminism focuses on equality in terms of not only gender, but race and class as well. Kimberle Crenshaw’s coining of the term “intersectionality” changed the way that feminists started to think, in that, while race and sex can be thought of as two separate things, their interaction and intersection deepens the level of “aggravated inequality” that that identity faces. The proponents of Black feminism state that Black women experience and are placed in power structures in a vastly different way than white women are, and just because both are women, the two groups have different levels of oppression to face.

Womanism was born out of this conflict between race and gender, and the idea that for a Black woman to believe in something, she must sacrifice one part of her identity to do so. W.E.B Dubois writes notably about how this fighting of identities is rendered in Black people as something known as “double consciousness,” a term that describes the inner-conflict that takes place between subordinate identities in an oppressive society. While this term was conceived by a Black man, it has not only stayed relevant in culture, but has come to apply more so to Black women. Black women, because they are both Black and a woman, must choose between the two identities, both of which are harmful to the Black woman as a human. She must choose between solidarity with Black men for civil rights, men who still disrespect her because she is a woman, or solidarity with women who were, for the most part, racist against them.

White women’s historical (at best) lassiez-faire attitude towards Black women’s suffering can be easily illustrated with a topic mentioned earlier, that being the rape of enslaved women by white men. These men almost always had wives, all of which were white. And, most of them buried their heads in the sand when it came to these affairs. Mary Chestnut, an elite white woman from the 1800’s reflects in her diary that “every lady tells you who is the father of all the mulatto children in everybody’s household, but those in her own she seems to think drop from the clouds, or pretends so to think.” This is not to say that this was always done purely out of hatred for the Black woman; the laws in place in the South at the time incentivized discretion on behalf of wives, one permitting “moderate chastisement” of his wife “in cases of emergency” (emergency could be deemed whatever the husband wanted it to be.) So, in order to stay physically unharmed and financially stable, most white women kept their mouths shut. But, those who didn’t, and filed for divorce, had to appeal to the court by stating that they had been voluntarily submissive and obedient as a wife, created no cause for her husband to commit adultery, and depicted a situation in which they were the victim of the affair, completely ignoring the actual victim of sexual assault.

However, let's be clear: 40% of slave owners at the time were white women, the other 60%, of course, being men in most cases with wives. Young daughters of slaveowners from the earliest age were usually gifted more people (slaves) than land in their lifetime. And, because enslaved women were most useful to the household as wet nurses, many pregnant female slave owners would orchestrate acts of sexual violence at the hands of their husband or enslaved man around the time of their own conception, in hopes that the act would produce a baby on behalf of the enslaved woman. This resulted in the enslaved woman, after giving birth to her own child, being tasked with nursing the master's baby on a timeline that would be convenient to the expectant white mother. While many women feared for their life if they were to reveal interracial affairs between her husband and a female slave, there were just as many, if not exponentially more, that reveled in her husbands extramarital activities because of the reported violent nature of the sexual interactions. Many white women did, and still do, wish to punish Black women for their existence. Due to the inherent competitive nature of the human sexual market, exacerbated by factors such as race discrimination, it is not far off to assume that this hatred stems from feeling threatened. A poignant example of this envy-driven hatred tracks back seamlessly to Saartjie Baartman - have you ever wondered why bustles and panniers became so popular in European women's fashion (namely England and France) at the same time she was a cultural and sexual phenomenon? At the same time the "African physique" started to become a talking point for men in Western culture?

Saartjie in 1810 versus an elite white woman depicted in Georges Seurat's "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte," 1884-1889

Because white women are white, they have the privilege to piggyback onto white men’s hierarchical gender supremacy. But, because they are women, and seen as lesser to the man by the man, they must use every weapon at their disposal to reclaim power and favor in the man’s eyes, and this often includes race solidarity to confirm to the white man that they are correct in their beliefs of superiority. Further, appropriation of the "redeeming" sexual qualities of Black women. This chain of actions and beliefs has led to white women being seen hegemonically as more demure, more subservient, more of a representation of “ideal womanhood” than Black women. And, because white women don’t have the right gender, they make it their business to prove that they have the right race. This is another example of a carnal hatred that stems from a self-loathing of sorts, so deep an internalized abhorrence of the thing that makes them less powerful, this being the feminine identity, that the only act of soothing is proving that there is someone less powerful than them, someone that they can blame.

Because of this, the conversations surrounding pornography in mainstream white feminism will never be representative of the whole picture - the whole picture being that while all women are objectified because they are women, Black women are objectified not only because they are women but also because they are Black. The stereotypes and conceptions surrounding Black bodies are inherently dehumanizing, as stated earlier: that they are seen as vehicles for productivity/procreation devoid of humanity combined with the conception that they are subhuman and primal. So, yes, all women are fetishized in porn, all are violently objectified, but the difference is that while white women are seen as objects, Black women are seen as animals.

In Elizabeth Monk-Turner and H. Christine Purcell’s groundbreaking 1999 paper entitled Sexual Violence in Pornography: How Prevelent Is It?, pornography itself is studied in order to look for common themes that contribute to societal conceptions. In 1999, this type of work was fairly new, with the digitization and increasing accessibility of pornography as well as conversations starting to emerge about its effects on America. Monk-Turner and Purcell analyzed 209 vignettes in 40 x-xxx-rated films, and their results were affirming. Not only did most vignettes depict themes of abuse, violence, and the degradation of women, but they found that Black women received the most abuse at the hands of white and Black men. Interestingly, they found that white women received far less abuse, and received the least amount of abuse at the hands of a Black man.

Alice Walker

This is not an uncommon theme. Alice Walker, a revolutionary Black novelist and social advocate, wrote about these dynamics in her short story entitled Coming Apart. Out of all of the conversations about exclusionary white feminism, emergence of Black feminism, and where the two meet, many felt that reconciling intersectionality among the two groups under the umbrella of feminism was not possible. Out of this, Walker coined the term “womanism” in this piece, which essentially encapsulates the term Black feminist without needing to qualify the original label. She claims that “womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender.” This movement has successfully focused on the humanity and experience of Black women historically and presently, and the issue of the depiction of Black women is no better illuminated than in Walker’s piece. In a stunning observation, Walker opens with the thought, “many Black men see pornography as progressive because the white woman, formerly taboo, is, via pornography, made available to them. Not simply available, but in a position of vulnerability to all men. This availability and vulnerability underscores the importance and power of color among men and permits a bonding with white men as men, which Black men, striving to be equal, not content with being different, apparently desire.” This observation is confirmed by Monk-Turner and Purcell’s study, and validates what many Black women feel in terms of relationships between the races and genders.

Walker beautifully illustrates how, with racial gains, the Black man has started to identify with their male identity over their Black identity. Black men have historically felt emasculated by the white man, that they do not fit in the box of “ideal manhood,” due to the past and present treatment of their race in general. But, because the (moreso male) Black experience and identity is becoming more hegemonically valid in cultural aspects (music, sports, education, etc.), Black men are starting to feel more empowered as men. In many ways, this is positively representative of social progress. But, in other ways, it is proving problematic for modern treatment of women. Black men feel that to reclaim their status as a man, they must participate in traditionally male actions and conceptions, and one of the most glaring aspects of male culture is the degradation and subjugation of women. Tracey A. Gardner hypothesizes that this reclamation of male culture is exhibited by Black men’s growing preference for white women for multiple reasons: one, because they have been historically inaccessible and arguably had the social upper hand due to race, and, two, because possessing a white women is seen as a facet of white (mainstream) success. The owning of this version of ideal womanhood gives them social capital, similarly to how white women cling to white men for the same reasons. Franz Fanon comments on this occurrence personally, divulging that “by loving me she proves I am worthy of white love. I am loved like a white man, I am a white man. I marry the culture, white beauty, white whiteness. When my restless hands caress those white breasts, they grasp white civilization and dignity and make them mine.” In a way, it is about empowerment as a man, and a reclaiming of power that they for so long coveted as men. Black men’s acceptance into mainstream male culture is, in one way, evident of progress, but it is for us to question whether or not this is a culture that should exist in the first place.

Due to these social shifts, Black women are, yet again, the group with the least social leverage and power. They are the group that serves as an outlet for violence and rage for not only white men and women, but now Black men as well. This is obvious in pornographic tropes depicting Black women. Walker poignantly illustrates this idea later in her Coming Apart, by creating a story surrounding a hypothetical Black couple. It is told from the point of view of the wife, who has just found pornographic literature belonging to her husband featuring only white women. She tries to explain to him how this is not only problematic in terms of implicit messaging, but also vastly hurtful. The wife expresses her pain over knowing that she is not an example of ideal womanhood, and, just by consuming this media, her husband has confirmed this. And, there is no better passage to both explain and represent this feeling: “She knows, for instance, that because of the Black Power Movement (and really because of the Civil Rights Movement before it) and not because he was at all active in it - he holds the bourgeois job he has. She remembers when his own hair was afro-ed. Now it loosely curled. It occurs to him that, because she knows him as he was, he cannot make love to her as she is. Cannot, in fact, love her as she is. There is a way in which, in some firmly repressed corner of his mind, he considers his wife to be still Black, whereas he feels himself to have moved to some other plane… Should he accept it at once, however unsettling, it would help him understand the illogic of his acceptance of pornography used against Black women: that he has detatched himself from his own blackness in attempting to identify Black women only by their sex.” Black women, because of how they have been treated and the perceptions that have been subsequently rendered because of this, have started to serve as an almost uncomfortable reminder of Blackness from the Black man’s perspective. They have not yet moved to the plane that Black men are on, this plane being that they feel they can transcend the stereotypes and hatred affiliated with their identity. Again, like so many other things, this is a luxury not ever afforded to Black women.

The stereotype of the Black woman is angry but ineffective, powerful and scary but weak in action, a seductress but a passive pursuit, too smart for her own good but too dumb to enact real change or make any salient points, overly confident but fatally self-deprecating. When you write it out, it doesn’t make much sense. They are complete contradictions. Yet, these are perceptions that exist simultaneously and have the ability to inform our behavior and our treatment of Black women, and do so viciously. Black American women have been, without a doubt, the most abused and victimized group in society, but still are seen as not worthy of our white/American care, love, and sympathy as women. Have we learned nothing? Saartjie Baartman was told to consider herself lucky that she could earn a wage, lucky that she was wanted, lucky that she was coveted, commodified. Lucky that she was picked out of all of the Black women in Cape Town, lucky that the elite would dare to lay their eyes on her, lucky to see an example of “real civilization,” lucky that they poke and prod at her, rape her, abuse her, kill her. Immortalize her. Kill her again and again with their gawks and gasps, every day, slowly and painfully, for 200 years. This is an attitude our culture still holds towards Black women: you should feel lucky we even allow you to exist.

Exploitation of Black women is an indirect way of saying that their existence is one that is not only invalid, but one that must be earned. However, there is absolutely no identifiable way for them to do so. So, with all this in mind, it is important to state: Black women’s pain cannot, will not be invisible forever. There are so many who will not let this be so, and I would be honored to be welcomed into that sentiment. Because of brave, brilliant, and extraordinary individuals, mostly Black women, who have spent their lives yearning for perhaps just one person to understand, this will not be the reality forever. Because of scholars like Mirielle Miller-Young, who is creating new ways for Black women to be portrayed in and consume pornography, because of writers like Alice Walker and Bell Hooks, who were fearless pioneers in the identification of these issues in our culture, because of all of the women who have suffered at the hands of this society that seeks to push them down and snuff them out but decided to keep fighting even so - it is because of women like these and countless others that, no matter how hard they try, the oppressors will never have a world on their terms. Women that refuse to thank these men for allowing them to exist, women who spit in the faces of them, women who will use their last dying breath trying to make them understand that they are wrong. But, the difference between the past and the future is that we cannot allow any longer for these individuals that fight to fight alone. This is not Black women’s burden to bear, it is all of ours'. It needs to be ours. I will close again with Alice Walker, her words ringing true and carrying us all hopefully towards a new world: “I think us here to wonder, myself. To wonder. To ask. And that in wondering about the big things and asking about the big things, you learn about the little ones, almost by accident. But you never know nothing more about the big things than you start out with. The more I wonder, the more I love.”


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