In the Introduction, Gorham raises the fact that criticizing black women who remain in the faith is often seen as criticizing black women, period. I’ve experienced much of the same pushback when I criticize Jainism, the Indian faith in which I was brought up. To say you don’t believe in superstitions that aren’t just religious, but also deeply rooted in your culture, is to be an outcast in your own world.
I’m not sure there’s a way around that. When a specific group of people take something like religion that seriously, it’s hard for them to feel like any criticism isn’t a personal attack. So when you call out black women for remaining in a faith that has done so much damage to them, you can understand why they might get defensive.
(Meanwhile, I’ve never heard of anyone criticizing, say, Mormonism and having “white people” as a group get offended. What’s up with that?)
Gorham is taking a risk by going after the church and targeting her book at black women who remain in it. But that’s what I really love about what she’s doing. I can’t even imagine writing a book that criticizes religion and specifically calling out my own community for buying into all the bullshit we do — alternative medicines, prayers, fasting, following the zodiac, etc.
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