I don’t know how I missed this controversy. The hashtag #solidarityisforwhitewomen was started by Karnythia, a black woman blogger. It grew out of her frustrations of white women feminists and their continued marginalization of women of color. Despite the rhetoric of inclusion, diversity, and “intersectionality” the feminist movement tends to still be dominated/controlled by white feminists. They haven’t been that eager to share their power.
Honestly, when a white woman tells me they’re a feminist (as a way to connect with me) I already know I will be dealing with some nonsense later on. Or white women tears. White women tears is the not so inside joke of feminists of color. Basically, its white women who resort to crying when they realize a person of color won’t let them off the hook for their white privilege/racism. These tears tend to be especially used against women of color, as many white women have bought into they are the “real” women and we are the fake ones.
In the words of bell hooks:
“All white women in this nation know that their status is different from that of black women/women of color. They know this from the time they are little girls watching television and seeing only their images. They know that the only reason nonwhites are absent/invisible is because they are not white. All white women in this nation know that whiteness is a privileged category. The fact that white females may choose to repress or deny this knowledge does not mean they are ignorant: it means that they are in denial.” From http://stfu-moffat.tumblr.com/post/45677527617/all-white-women-in-this-nation-know-that-their
Most women of color have had to deal with white women tears. Especially black women. While all women of color are made into second class (sometimes third class) citizens to that of white women, black women are more likely to be used as the antithesis of white womanhood:
A lot of it has to do with slavery. In order to justify the labor exploitation/rapes of black women, we had to be “othered.” Historically, white women have benefited off the backs of black women. I bet the majority of black women have experienced white women trying to make them their personal Mammy. Hell, it happened to me just the other day.
I was trying to get my Starbucks on. One of the white women workers eased up beside me, as I was stirring my tea. She stared at my hair. “So, what hair products do you use?” She asked. Now, anyone that knows me, know I don’t answer non-black folks hair questions. I just don’t. So, I suggested to her, like I suggest to other folks, she should Google about black hair products. She didn’t get the hint. She started carrying on about her daughter’s hair. I think she was trying to let me know her daughter was biracial. But that’s still not my problem. If you have a biracial child, it’s your responsibility to read books/Google about black hair culture. When the woman realized I wasn’t going to answer her question, she huffed and walked away. But, I didn’t give a damn. I was not put on this earth to be the educator of blackness to white folks. If Angela Jolie and Brad Pitt can learn how to do their adopted black daughter’s hair (or at the very least pay someone to do it), so can other non-black folks.
Am I hardcore?
Yes, but you have to remember I get put into these situations on a daily basis. White women coming up to me out of the blue wanting me answer their questions, explain things to them, or help them with things. I am not a freelance Mammy. These situations are probably magnified, as I am a dark black woman, and the image of Mammy has typically been that of darker skinned women.
If white women don’t get angry (if you refuse to play the role), usually it’s tears. And frankly, a lot it tends to be from so-called white feminists. The fact of the matter is feminism has failed women of color. It will continue to suck until white women feminist get real with some of their issues (and do better outreach to teaching everyday white women to stop being oppressive towards non-white women ). Do I hate all white feminists? Nope. I have met some cool ones that are genuinely trying to be allies/check themselves. But, they are just a handful. Most white feminists cling to their white privilege.
Any who, I went on this rant because Salon.com is starting a column for feminist of color. It’s the continuation of the #solidarityisforwhitewomen movement. If you identify as a feminist of color (regardless of gender), submit something! I put the contact information under the “Call for Submissions” tab.