This year I was fortunate to have an opportunity to attend the annual Sister Dark, Sister Light forum.
The event was presented by The National Council of Negro Women. It is a public dialogue for students and University professionals to discuss the color complexities in terms of shade.
It was exciting to see young black women take the initiative to create a platform designed to discuss pressing issues that are common problems black women face in their community.
Throughout the forum, I was baffled, and appalled by some of the views educated members of the panel were continuing to discuss. If people are really trying to seek societal change, I feel it is imperative that human beings stop this pervasive thought about the way we interpret the world, the approach we take in tackling social problems, and the way we go about discussing issues in a public format.
For a majority of the forum, the only experiences of females that were addressed were the experiences of heterosexual females. Light sisters and dark sisters are also lesbians. Their unique experiences at this University should have been discussed as well. With in the confines of the topics, this discussion served to foster unity, yet it harbored an explicit message of exclusion to lesbians present.
Another point of interest was this mysterious idea of black unity.
What would be the premise of this united effort?
I personally do not understand this idea of unity. I have experienced more hurt and harassment from people of my own race than I have experienced outside of it.
How would this idea of unity ever appeal to someone that has felt racially disenfranchised by his or her own race?
Fundamentally, it was a wonderful experience to be in the room with such thoughtful individuals, and to listen to the experiences of many women in an environment they felt comfortable sharing, often, painful experiences due to their skin pigmentation. Also, it was amusing to hear much of the males’ input.
I fear, however, that the forum did more harm than good.
It brought about ideas and themes of exclusion; the exclusion of lesbians and white women to be exact.
It illustrated how unity in many ways is a fanciful idea that sounds great to our ears but in reality, the forum just aired the soil for the roots of such annoying weeds, exclusion, hatred and oppression to further take hold of our campus.
I am not advocating for any particular political view or for any sexual-identity category agenda. I am, however, pointing out some problematic points of logistics when you are operating from an intolerant place.
Mark Carter is a senior philosophy/religion student from Tallahassee. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.