Brittney Cooper questions the concept of empowerment



so empowerment to me is a really tricky word to me it's sort of like a neoliberal word because it says that what we're supposed to do is figure it all out on our own that when we have problems in the world that if we want the good life if we want a good man if we want a good job then we should empower ourselves it lets structures off the hook it lets governments off the hook it lets systems of power like racism and sexism off the hook and it says to us essentially that any of the things that we really struggle with that really bring us down are because we we don't have enough hustle because we don't have enough wherewithal to go after the things that we really want and I think that's dangerous I think we need to stop complaining empowerment with power because it strikes me that the folks who really have power you won't see them at the empowerment seminar you won't see them reading self-help books at the store it's people who really struggle and who are beaten down by systems who feel like the key to unlocking their lives is in a magazine or in a self-help book and I think we have to think about that not because these things are bad but because what we want is the actual ability to change the world we want to have actual choices and options and that comes with having power so those with power are the people who have real options around the things they want to see those of us who are seeking empowerment are trying to make a set of decisions usually out of a piss-poor set of options we're trying to make a way out of no way and so I'm not saying that I'm not here for us feeling empowered I mean look I like to play my anthems my black girl anthems my super power anthems and do it I'm all about finding your super power but when I say power we really need the actual thing if we're gonna change this and I'm tired of mistaken the false for the real

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