Why can’t I relate?

Compounding problems is unproductive but it seems as if it is all I can do when the owners of one set

Oppression is a concept many women think about, argue about, cry about, but how diminishing those cries can be for women who feel it dually. You see, I am woman, I am colored, and although legally, on paper, my worth should be equal it is hard to find this truth in any other form than written.

But somehow the pangs of womanhood are “bigger” or “more important” than those pangs felt everyday as I walk among my less tinted peers. Feminism cries injustice and “down with the patriarchy” but how can I fight that battle when my first one is far from over? How can I fight a battle that I have never been privy to?

Be empowered. Be liberated. Be sexual. Be strong. These declarations and affirmations are more like limitations and obfuscations as before I can do these things I must be acknowledged as worthy of their opposites. I have never been disempowered or restricted or sexualized or weakened because of my gender. Therefore, these struggles seem secondary. My dear counterparts whisper as I, the “prude,” the “antifeminist” the “traditional” one cannot seem to wrap my head around their infinite problems. Their problems, might I add, that seem to disappear as soon as a man or woman looks in their direction. Problems might I add, that I rarely have access to.

And what does it say to wish for these problems? What am I that I can only dream of the day that I am viewed as lesser for my gender—well, I am a colored woman, painted with strokes of the west indies and inlands of Central America. It means that before I can whine about “equal pay” I have to be worth getting the job in the first place. Before I can yell about my displaced feminine whiles I have to be awarded the ability to use them. I wonder what it must be like, to be a majority in any way. I wonder how terrible I would find the world if my only problems stemmed from my gender. From their exclamations, it seems like a pretty awful state to be in—but then again, they walk a ring of Hell far higher than the one I do.

“Quit whining” I want to say. Often frustrated by the incessant montage of unfair treatment and misguided characterizations. How annoying it must be that people hit on you! What a shame that you feel like you can’t dress how you want without being looked at. Grumble grumble goes the X sexuality that doesn’t feel like they have large enough a space to discuss their problems.  Unfair as my treatment is, one wonders what they would do if they weren’t even a problem to be dealt with.

The paper rights that we are given pale in comparison to the rights one is awarded by others.

But in truth I know that everyone has their burden, and that others feel injustice as deeply as I do. This is not meant to be a comparison. Not meant to diminish one pain in exchange for another. This is a time to find their common roots and explore their separate outcomes.

In an environment where equality based on gender is relatively sound, it becomes increasingly apparent where it is lacking—an increasingly easy to forget.

And then I remember who I’ve been all these years. Never afraid to speak up. Never timid in the face of a man. This is because I cannot afford to be timid in the face of anyone—especially those who look so starkly different than me. Before I can assume my womanhood and all of the fighting that accompany it, I have to assume my race—a challenge that can prove to be even more difficult than the challenges that proceed from it. Continue fighting, disproving, emitting a light from the darkness that everyone can see. I choose not to specify an “other” to demonize—everyone is an opportunity to be oppressed just as everyone is an opportunity to be liberated. With my lack of options, I cannot afford to be selective.

Colors, preferences, deities and genetalia—we should quit picking one to reify and others to vilify and simply accept them all to exemplify.

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