Arguably, at present the politics of respectability is introduced in most, if not all, racial conversations about Blackness, Whiteness, and the intersectionality of particular feminisms. Because of this, it is a challenge to expand from the binary framework that often envelops feminist theory when speaking about the experiences, as well as the differences in personhood and womanhood of black feminists. We see this separation when we societally refer to one group of black women as “ghetto” and “bitchy but independent”, or “queens” and “motherly” in contrast to one another. There is a certain kind of pressuring hierarchy and we have been socialized to continue to engage in the politics of respectability because of that white supremacist lens, and we police one another. Historian Dr. Kali N. Gross states,
“Historically, as a form of resistance to the negative stigmas and ca...
... middle of paper ...
...being outside the stereotypical norms prescribed to us. By not actually critiquing one another on the problematic actions in which we partake to be “politically respectable”, the intra-racial conflict continues to mimic what we are already challenged with, for example, victim blaming or anti-black rhetoric and tone, or the shaming of black women’s bodies in spaces of violence. It is baffling to me that some people choose to ignore the negativity that this somehow makes the problem go away or that it better creates womanhood and this is never the case. There is nothing positive to the politics of respectability for Black people or for Black women, especially.
The negativity and stereotypes of Blackness within the realm of the politics of respectability adheres to racist, sexist, classist, and white supremacist standards that erasure the experiences of black women.
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