Friday, January 27, 2012

Who is BWE and who is not....?

I am so glad that I am about myself before anybody else on this planet. That's not selfishness, that's a survival instinct.

You are beholden to your own self FIRST and what your wants and needs are. This is because you as an individual have the most at stake regarding your own happiness and only you can determine what that means. 

You, yourself, your own. <<<<< That has actually been the common running theme of my blog.

So now, inevitably the question has arisen: 

Who is BWE and who is not

BWE = Black Women's Empowerment. The idea being that you are for the empowerment of black women and girls.

Empowerment is defined as "increasing the spiritual, political, social, racial, educational, gender or economic strength of individuals and communities"(via Wiki)

So what this technically means is you have a movement where the general goal is to help black women and girls as individuals and as a group. 

So again, who can be ruled as for the empowerment of individual black women and girls as well as the whole group? And how does one prove this?

This is a question I am not in the position to answer about anyone else but myself.  You have to observe the behavior to make a ruling and then be the appropriate authority to make the call. So all I can answer is for my own self: I am all about helping myself and others to be the individual level. Yup, I just ruled community completely out. 

You can work to empower an entire group or you can work to empower yourself as an individual. You can also form alliances for mutual individual empowerment. For my own needs and capabilities, keeping it "individual" seems to be the best bet in the long run. 

Persons must decide for themselves who and what they are willing to empower

How people decide to approach this varies. For some, they want to empower everyone. Some want to empower themselves. Others want to empower themselves but are willing to interact with individuals for their own individualistic benefit. 

When you break it down, you realize that what's happening is everyone is trying to make a singular goal THE goal without understanding the individual and their responsibilities. 

The truth is you can't empower anyone but yourself. Other individuals have to empower themselves. 

You can give facts, opinion, statistics, etc. all day, everyday, but until that individual decides to work to empower his or herself, it's not going to happen. Some people will credit others with their empowerment, but what they are really crediting them with is providing the tools to understand what they need to know to get themselves from point A to point B. These women may want to help you, but they can't carry you from one place to the other.

There are some very intelligent, well-spoken, creative ladies in a conundrum over this question. Me seeing everything individually and having my "agree to disagree" mentality, I wasn't even aware there was an issue. But apparently, as I mused in my last blog there really is a rift. It's not surprising. 

With any major movement, you get people who disagree. This is not abnormal, nor does it immediately discredit everyone who is not on the same page. It's only worrying when the ideology being championed is toxic. You see it in the black power movement, in feminism, in any large community of individuals who want different things out of life. The core belief is what's important. If that isn't lost, then neither is the movement.

At the end of the day we are individuals. Individuals have a personal responsibility to make the most of the situations they find themselves in. They are beholden to themselves first and foremost. If that individual wants to reach out to and ally with others, that's fine. But we must always be mindful of our own best interests before anything else. It's simply unhealthy to make your goal adhering to the point of view of others for the sake of their approval. It's also important to remember that you can respect and love each other and simply disagree. The world won't end if you find philosophies, approaches, etc. don't match up with someone you respect or admire. How is being made to do something you don't agree with because you're worried what someone else will think of you empowering? Or not doing something because you're scared of what someone else will think of you? It doesn't, and you'll never be empowered if you make pleasing other people your major aim. 

I admire and love others, but I am not about to go to war with every other BWE person who I feel does not fit my individual beliefs, call them out for it, or quickly align myself with persons according to the "appropriate" belief system as defined by persons who are not myself. I've done a bit of "traveling" around the BWE blogsphere and I already see where this this is headed (tug of war, fracturing, dominance of certain POVs), and I'm making my position clear. Right now, as to avoid any future confusion. 

I am for myself first and foremost. I am not jumping through hoops to prove anything to anyone, regardless of how much I love or admire them. Forget it. 

The only person I am beholden to is myself, and I reserve the right to do what is in my own best interests as an individual. I STRONGLY encourage others to do the same. Let us agree, disagree, argue, but always remember that everything you do, you do for yourself and your ability to learn and grow as a human being. The wants and needs of everyone else follows suit, ranked according to what you feel is best.

The danger in trying to twist yourself into something that someone else wants or believes is that it's not you. You must take what you can from the wisdom of others and apply it to your life. Mold your own self. Make your own choices, your own allies, and walk your own path.

Empower yourself. 


WomenAreGamechangers said...

You can't empower other if you are not true to your own self. People see and feed off your pure energy. Thus we have to not allow ourselves to get distracted by others and change who we are to fit into society's definition of us.

Toni said...

"You can't empower other if you are not true to your own self."

Exactly right. I've observed the kerfluffles happening and it's just strengthened my resolve to take in the message, but apply it to my own self first however I choose is best. And when I speak on things, keep it tuned to the individual and what they need to do for themselves.

I've decided it's dangerous to assume that BWE means you are empowering other people. Nope. They have to do the work themselves. Also, I don't like the idea of assuming I get to tell other people what they are or aren't because they disagree with me.

I agree more than I disagree with many BWE bloggers, but the ugliness I've become privy to has left a bad taste in my mouth.