Dear White feminists,
It’s time we had a talk.
Because as a queer woman of color, I’m getting sick of something that y’all have a tendency to do.
It’s the same song every time: White feminists do something offensive, disregard the experiences of women of color, refuse to acknowledge that women of color’s lived experiences are different and generally much more difficult due to the doubling of oppressions, etc. Feminist WoC call white feminists out. UH OH! Can’t have that. Outrage sparks against feminist woc because “How dare you call what I said/what I did/me a racist!” Somewhere along the line, men rush in to protect the white feminist from the brutal attacks they’re facing from the big, bad, meanie WoC. And the white feminists, safe and sound now that the men have arrived, watch the WoC get lambasted with a sense of relief. All the men agree with her; therefore, she was in the right! Right?
Wrong. That’s some bullshit.
That’s some bullshit.
White feminists, you disregard the experiences, except for when it will benefit you and make you look good (read: like saints) ; you ignore us, you tell us we’re “taking away from the cause,” you tell us how oppressed we must be because of our differences in culture, you call our embracing of different values “playing into misogyny”, and often try to present us as things we aren’t. And as soon as you get called out for saying something racist, as soon as you get told something about your privilege, as soon as you get reminded that you, cis white women aren’t the only women in existence, as soon as you get told that you are demonstrating oppressive behaviors towards other women…..
you suddenly turn into the damsel in distress.
Oh god, the women of color are being meanies who are calling you racist! And that’s ridiculous, and just cruel because you, white feminist, you’re far too sweet and precious and saintly and innocent to say or do something racist! You’re much too delicate to even touch something as pearl clutchingly awful as racism. You’re far too innocent to be oppressive!
You cry. You whine. You drop to the floor, plug your ears, and scream, “LALALA CAN’T HEAR YOU!” with tears streaming down your cheeks. And you keep it up until the men come rushing to your defense. And while your precious defender tears into us for daring speak up about your treatment of us (which is, quite frankly, shitty as all get out), you sit back, relieved and grateful that someone is on your side, and thank them with all of your heart for seeing your side of things and coming to your defense, never once thinking to examine your privilege; never once realizing that you, a feminist woman, have power over other women due to this little thing called intersectionality.
Let me make that more clear: Rather than examine your own privilege as white women, and how it affects your views versus the views of women who happen to also be of color, you will suddenly turn around and embrace the patriarchy, because you can use it to protect yourself.
As far as bullshit goes, this one really takes the god damn cake (or at least a generous slice of it). You know why? Because in playing the damsel in distress who can’t fight her own battles and needs to be rescued from the situation, you are yielding to the same patriarchal values that you fight against! Why? Because even though patriarchal systems oppresses you, you can still benefit from them in certain ways when you are white.
White feminists, you’ve done this to protect yourselves, and you have a long ass track record of doing this in order to throw people of color, men included, under the fucking bus while simultaneously erasing us. You do this shit whenever it is convenient for you.
You aren’t interested in equality for all women. You want equality for white women. You want to be able to have equal footing with those who have privilege over you, while simultaneously being able to step on everyone else. You want white men to examine their privilege over you, while never being willing to examine your privilege over WoC. You want men of color to examine the privilege they have over you as males, while straight up refusing to examine the fact that you have privilege over them as white people. You want to eliminate patriarchal values, but you want to keep the patriarchal values that can be manipulated to work for your benefit.
And you don’t want to be called out for any of it. You will utilize patriarchy to prevent that.
But guess what, white feminists? You can’t claim to fight against the patriarchy but turn around and play into it when it’s convenient for you. You can’t even call yourself a feminist if you do that. The definition of feminism talks about women’s rights. Not only white women. ALL women. When you try to step on the collective necks of one group of women in order to benefit yourself as another type of women? You aren’t a feminist. You’re for all women…until you get reminded that “all women” includes women who are not white.
And that shit ain’t cute.
And then on top of that, when WoC get tired of your bullshit and create our own spaces dedicated to empowering ourselves as women of color, you get mad and want to cry that we’re not being inclusive? Bump that!
Examine yourselves critically under a microscope. I don’t care if this hurts your precious, precious white fee fees. I don’t care if you think I’m being mean. I don’t care if this makes you uncomfortable. I only have one fuck to give, and you’ll find it between my index and ring finger.
A Woman of Color
P.S. While I was talking strictly about white feminists regarding race, you best believe that y’all do the same thing to people who face other oppressions while being a woman. And you need to fix that shit too. Just check yourselves all around.
Note: I spoke about this regarding race because that’s the primary lens through which I navigate my life on a daily basis.
Note 2: By “woman” I mean anybody who identifies as a woman.
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