Monica Sanders
4 min readJun 8, 2023

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Photo credit: Everday Feminism

“Why Don’t You Go Work in Some of These Poor Black Communities?” Unpacking Misogynoir in Climate Justice and Digital Equity Movements

In the journey towards climate justice and digital equity, the presence of misogynoir within these movements remains a significant barrier. Misogynoir, a term coined by queer black feminist Moya Bailey, refers to the intersection of racism and misogyny specifically targeting black women. This article explores a personal encounter with misogynoir in the context of climate justice and digital equity, shedding light on the broader issue and its detrimental effects on black women’s participation and advancement in these spaces.

The Encounter: This article was inspired by a sad, but relatable encounter I had with another woman of color, whom if asked would leverage her own positionality and relationships with Black people as justification for her behavior. Let us begin by noting that she was in, or perceived herself to be in, a position of power. We were discussing The Undivide Project’s work as potentially receiving funding or some other kind of partnership from her organization. As we discussed our potential work in Puerto Rico, she made the ignorant and dismissive comment: “Why don’t you go work in some of these poor black communities…?” This comment was uttered by a light-skinned, white presenting Latina. It perpetuated the ignorance surrounding Afro-Latinos and erasing their contributions. She assumed that my black skin meant I wasn’t Latine. She questioned my qualifications (a frequent affront to Black women) generally and my ability to engage outside of impoverished black communities. Adding insult to injury, she even read off a random group of African-American names, interrogating me as to why I wasn’t collaborating with them.

By the way, we do work in poor Black communities. We work in poor White and rural communities and we work in urban areas. Our team has a group of highly qualified and diverse professionals who have been working on digital equity and climate issues since the 90’s. We ally with a number of organizations and many of them contributed to the development of my organization’s niche focus. These are all publicly available facts. However, history tells us that facts can never get in the way of irrational bias and insecurity.

Anti-Blackness Among Women of Color: This encounter highlights the prevalence of anti-blackness…

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Monica Sanders

Founder, The Undivide Project (www.theundivideproject.org); Activist-Scholar; Professor@Georgetown; Senior Fellow, Tulane Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy