Black Women Liberation

A Black Feminist’s Journey to Liberation

I’m a Black Lives Matter community organizer. Through this affiliation, I’ve sacrificed access to the profitable private sector, been a scapegoat for racist media, and have relinquished friendships and relations that I’ve held dear.

And I regret nothing.

Since I was a child, I was deeply attuned to social justice issues. I have vivid memories of the 2000 presidential election: At the prepubescent age of 9, I remember vocalizing my displeasure at the dishonest George W. Bush to my fourth grade class.

In high school — where my access to academia and critical socio-political texts enlarged greatly — I self-identified as a liberal with democratic socialist sympathies, and was quick to opine in favor of the proletariat. My ideological awakening coincided with the monumental and historic presidential election of then-Senator Barack Obama. At the time a teenage bisexual Black girl, I found his election solidified the post-racial ideal: He was symbolic of grassroots progress, of a nation had moved above and beyond the racist chains of the past. While I believed that minor racist incidents occurred in disparate pockets of the American landscape, I held that institutional racism — those laws and bureaucracies that kept Black people locked in the underclass — had become close to extinct.

But when I went to university, my pro-Black value system developed with rigor. Confronted with microaggressions, prejudice, and anti-Black racism, I realized that the post-racial ideal was a convenient fiction used to silence the uncomfortable truth that structural racism was omnipresent in institutions and common behavior alike.

I credit The Autobiography of Malcolm X for my pivotal pro-Black awakening. His words of the past soaked into my present reality, and I’ve never been the same since.

Where I once self-identified as a liberal, I now self-identify as a radical. As such, I am not beholden to the traditional political spectrum that empowers gradual neoliberal reform, and chastises systemic dismantling. As a radical, I recognize the root cause of contemporary socio-political ills to be anti-Black racism and am committed to thoroughly overturning those structures that perpetuate the mass incarceration and misrepresentation of my People.

Where I once self-identified as a feminist, I now self-identify as a pro-Black feminist and womanist. I recognize that “feminism” without the racial identifier does not address the specific, especial, and violent conditions that Black women are forced to endure under the hand of institutional and behavioral patriarchy. As a Black feminist with a radical ideological foundation, I am justified in calling out the scores of white feminists who exploited — and continue to exploit — the labor of Black women for singular corporate gain.

And where I once self-identified as bisexual, I now self-identify as queer. My sexuality is remarkably personal and gorgeously complicated, and can only be captured with a fluid umbrella term that allows me a freedom with which I am comfortable, familiar, and secure.

As my political and value systems adapt, so too do the actions I take to navigate this atrocious white supremacist world. I am more critical about political participation, and less enthusiastic about meaningless reforms and symbolic gestures that do little to reverse centuries of anti-Black racist oppression. I am cautious about where and how I spend my money, and take great pains to patronize Black-owned businesses. I am deeply passionate about my heritage, and have charged myself to be a cultural commentator sensitive to intersectionality and pro-Black nuance.

And through self-reflection, I challenge myself to exist in my Blackness without restraint or apology.

Arielle Newton is a Black Lives Matter activist, and Founder of, a digital platform for the cultural empowerment of young people of the African diaspora.

Arielle Newton is a Black Lives Matter organizer, and Founder of

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