In Defense of “Strong Women” and “Out-of-the-Box” People


A thought to write “In Defense of “Strong Women” and “Out-of-the-Box” People came to me, following a fb discussion, into which I was co-opted to respond a couple of weeks ago. I was not exactly participating, nor had any intentions of commenting on the thread that I sensed would cause me more unwarranted rebuke and distraction.

Yet, my FB friend, who posted the thread on his [I will be specific, “he” is male] FB timeline tagged me, “Doreen What do you think?”

Immediately after, another one of his FB friends [co-FB friend] shot back, “No no no no!
The thread poster asked, “What is it?” [That is, why are you do opposed to her?]
His response went like, “From previous discussions, she believes all black outrage is because if racism and slavery.” To which he said that he vehemently disagrees!

Well, for one, I didn’t know that he had such strong distaste for my opinions. Two, I didn’t appreciate his generalization of my opinions about specific cases of black public outrage to my views on all black people outrage. The particular discussions I recall engaging in where he was involved concerned police brutality against blacks in America, and the place, conditions and perceptions of African Americans in America.

He expressed my displeasure at his claim, that “it was a knee jerk reaction.” But all too late; I was wounded. Particularly because I had no plans of engaging in that particular discussion on”death rates in Baltimore“, where my views would most likely be caricatured or ridiculed. I know to self-censor myself.

I have learned from my social interactions that I do not have to express an opinion on everything, just because I hold one. I don’t lose a thing from “speaking my truth quietly”, by not uttering a thing. In any case, I save so many heads and hearts from pain over my potentially not-so-popular or appealing views.

If there is anything I am an expert on, it would be not to generalize, pigeon-hole people and speak for others. I have learned from personal experience that our beliefs, knowledge, values are very much a reflection of our life’s trajectories. We cannot assume to know more than we have been exposed to or have exposed ourselves.

Moreover, my professional and academic career, at the intersection of law and social sciences, is very much the “epitome of anti-generalization”. In social sciences, we are required to state if the findings, writings and assertions are specific to a given study group, or representative [of a whole population], or involve everyone in the study population. So, I very much detest anyone who generalizes my opinions or accuses me of possessing “sound judgment” for causes into which I sink myself. Perhaps it is my strong personality, and conviction and out-of-the-box thinking which is a threat to those who are comfortable blinding themselves to social reasoning.

To pretend that the process of passing laws, making political decisions, economic transactions, and building and maintaining social relations does not embroiled in emotional, is to fool oneself that law is absolute of politics and political interference.

Then, what makes strong women and out-of the-box people so unpleasant to those who claim possession of “higher logical reasoning”? Perhaps, it is because strong women and out-of-the-box thinkers and writers allow their vulnerability to play out in the public domain, and are not afraid to of hard talk. They are not afraid of swimming with crocodiles, the fire in the kitchen or running with the wolves.

To choose the opposite is to live a life of misery and lies to oneself. I would not trade myself for “fitting in”. I am as logical, as I am emotional. I do not sink myself into areas where I know next to nothing about. My commitment, my activism, my reason, my actions are very much influenced by my life trajectory, the relationships I have met and kept, the societies in which I have lived, the cultures [socio-cultural, socio-economic, socio-political, socio-intellectual] I have experienced.

Until death doeth me apart, I will continue in the lane of “Strong Women” and “Out-of-the-Box” people. I will not apologize for my critical thinking mind.

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