The Fear of Women of Color

The Art of Dividing Up a Marriage

The Art of Dividing Up a Marriage

“It’s a man’s privilege to divide his wife up into bits and let her fend for herself.”

That was a quote from the pen of a young black, white, Puerto Rican, Jewish, Asian, or of any other color in the family. It’s a black woman’s privilege to divide her husband into bits and let him fend for himself. To a woman of color, this phrase is deeply problematic, because her life is not her own. She is reduced to a piece of meat, or a piece of fruit, and she has no control over how her husband uses that meat or how he uses that fruit.

I had to stop reading when I got to the word “fend,” because it wasn’t until I realized I was reading the words of a woman of color that I realized that they had cut these words out for the simple reason that it was in her name. I don’t hate the woman whose words I quote and I don’t want to write a book about women of color having to be treated as if they are animals. But I am deeply aware that I am only half the half that I am. My privilege is that I can listen to the voices of women of color without experiencing the same shame and fear that they experience. But this is only because of my skin color and my gender. The issue is not that we feel shame and fear when we speak about and discuss race, it’s that we experience this shame and fear when we are spoken to. When we are addressed, addressed as if we don’t exist, and not as if we are people.

The fear that women of color feel from speaking about race manifests itself all around us. It is not that we are afraid to use the word “black,” it is the fear we feel when we use the word “female,” “fat,” “pregnant,” or “single” that is the worst. When we feel like we are less than human when we are referred to as one of these things. We are less than people when we are referred to as a single, pregnant, or a fat woman. The most terrifying thing about it is the fact that when I am treated as less than human, it is completely in service to my worth as a human. I am not the only single pregnant woman in the room. And I am not the only fat person in the room. And I

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