White Feminism (as an institution) thinks that championing Black women as too strong and too independent to ever “need” a man in their lives is a good thing.
I’m not really sure how.
I’m sure Anne Theriault doesn’t remember our brief twitter conversation. After all, she never apologized for or deleted her tweets calling for a return to the “good ole days of Star Trek” when Nyota Uhura didn’t have a man (or a first name) to drag her down.
However, I’m incapable of forgetting about the fact that upon leaving a frankly feminist film (the main characters responsible for story progression in Star Trek: Beyond were women and two were women of color), her first response was to bemoan that Uhura, the series’ main Black character, was in a romantic relationship and then claim that the narrative “reduced her” to her relationship with Spock.
But that’s not true about the movie and it’s not true about the character.
I’m not a Theriault fan.
I found out who she was because of her tweet thread about Uhura.
But imagine if I had been a fan.
Imagine being a young Black woman, maybe even one in an interracial relationship, and seeing an author that you love dismiss a loving relationship that a Black female character has because it… reduces her.
Imagine being a fan of an author that hated seeing a Black woman be loved so much that her immediate response was a “I wish for the Uhura of the 1960s series” — actively wishing by the way for the character to actually have her role reduced because the attitudes of the 1960s WOULD NOT have allowed for a Black female character to have the presence or role that Uhura has in the current reboot of the series.
Imagine how hurt I would be at such a reductive and frankly racist take on her character.
Here’s the thing, that whole “Black women don’t need a man because that reduces their strength” thing that has become commonplace in White Feminist approaches to Black women and Black female characters in fandom is straight up paternalistic.
It’s proof that you don’t love us as we are.
If you can’t imagine Black female characters — like Uhura, like Abbie Mills, like Valkyrie, like Iris West — as capable of being strong and in love… If you imagine Black women being #ForeverAlone as our default state and as a good thing…
Then I don’t see how you’re capable of loving us if you take a paternalistic, pseudo-protective approach to the very idea of us (and characters that look like us) getting into relationships… especially when a white person is the other part of that relationship.
Black women are not Samson.
Relationships will not lead to our doom.
(Originally posted on Patreon at the $1 Tier November 2017.)