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.
I love some MJB. Her early music was the soundtrack of my 20’s. We are just a few years apart in age, so I related a lot to the things she sang about, back in the day. Not so much about being in an abusive relationship (and later confessed addictions), but more about coming into my own as a young black woman. I miss the 90’s!! While I can go either way with the holidays, I am looking forward to Mary’s new Christmas album. Sang it Queen of Hip Hop Soul!!
The album will be released on October 15, 2013. You can listen to snippets of the album here: http://maryjblige.com/
I remember watching an interview with black writers (awhile back), and Sonia Sanchez was on the panel. She was still fiery/soulful as ever, but I was shocked at how much older she looked. Sometimes we forget, our trailblazers do/will grow older (and eventually pass away). That’s why it’s so important we archive/document their work, especially with black women writers, as they tend to be too easily erased from history. I mean it took Alice Walker to breath new life into the work of Zora Neale Hurston. If she hadn’t, Ms. Hurston would still be forgotten in an unmarked grave. We cannot allow other black women icons to fall to the wayside.
There is a new Kickstarter campaign to fund a new documentary on the life of Sonia Sanchez. Support if ya can!!
I’ve been side-eyeing
hustle Russell Simmons since he appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Back in 2009, Oprah facilitated a “Hip Hop Town Hall,” on her show. Young black women from Spelman college, shared their concerns about the misogyny/sexism/degradation of black women’s bodies in some rap music and videos. Throughout the show, Simmons often rolled his eyes at the young women and outright talked down to them. I found it interesting, as he probably would get major attitude if someone treated his nieces the same way. But hey, those young black women weren’t related to him, so why should he give a damn?
Over the years, Simmons has shown himself to be sexist and anti-black woman. I don’t care about interracial relationships, I really don’t. However, I have issues with SOME black men who continue to harp on the failings of black women, when they have supposedly moved on to “greener pastures.” If you finally found a “real woman,” why are you still complaining about black women? Simmons has engaged in this behavior in subtle ways. His most blatant disrespect of black women/community, was his silence when a past white girlfriend engaged in paternalistic/patronizing/Miss Anne behavior in a wack letter to black folks (really black women). *Middle Finger*
I could write several posts about Simmons’s Rush Card and the predatory fees on poor communities of color. So, I’m not surprised he co-signed this insulating imagery of Harriet Tubman. But that’s what happens when you think your money/power makes you a “special” black person. You start to lack respect for the people who paved the way for you…
“The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman, the most unprotected person in America is the Black woman, the most neglected person in America is the Black woman.” – Malcolm X
Hmm…guess I should reserve judgement until I see the film, but already giving side eye. It looks like they are demonizing the Black Panthers, I hope not.
An Open Letter from Assata Shakur: ‘I Am Only One Woman’