Posts tagged white women.
One time, this white woman was trying to tell this Latina in class that she needed to “make her feminism more concerned with women generally.” Namely, she wanted her to “stop thinking of her race first.” The Latina responded by saying, “I will do that when white women start cleaning their own houses, until then, I’m not interested.”
class full of mostly white women learning how to twerk for fitness. shaking my goddamn motherfucking head.
i swear black people could invent a dance using a plunger and somehow someway white people would commodify it for profit and take all the credit
grandkanye: I’m sorry to tell you this but u r diagnosed with white girl
1. A white woman says something racist.
2. A black woman points it out. (It could be any person of colour but it works best against black women for reasons given below.)
3. The white woman says she is not racist and starts crying.
4. For added effect the white woman can run out of the room.
5. Other whites, particularly white men, come to the aid and comfort not of the wronged black woman but of the racist white woman!
6. The black woman, the wronged party, is made to seem like the mean one in the eyes of whites.
7. The white woman continues to believe she is not racist.
Tables turned! It works so well that it is hard not to see the tears as a cheap trick.
This is more than just a woman using tears to get her way. It is built on a set of White American ideas about race, listed here in no particular order:
It works best when these two stereotypes can be applied:
The Sapphire stereotype - black women as mean, angry and disagreeable
The Pure White Woman stereotype - white women as these special, delicate creatures who need to be protected at all costs. It is what drives the Missing White Woman Syndrome – and, in the old days, lynchings.
The r-word: to be called a “racist”, however gently and indirectly, is a terrible, upsetting thing for white people – far worse than, you know, being a racist.
White people and their feelings are the centre of the known universe.
Hearts of stone: meanwhile whites seem to have a very, very hard time putting themselves in the shoes of people of colour.
Moral blindness: white people think they are Basically Good, therefore if someone points out something bad about them it must be out of hatred.
White solidarity: whites are afraid to stand up against racism, particularly when they are with other whites. Also, they do not like it when you call other whites racists – they seem to take it personally for some reason.
I watched this happen at a queer conference I was at where a white woman made a comment and used the word “lynched”, in front of a POC. When he confronted her (in a super polite way), instead of owning up to what had happened, she cried for a good 15 minutes while making it seem like it wasnt her fault for knowing that it would offend him…UGH
The feminist movement is generally periodized into the so-called first, second and third waves of feminism. In the United States, the first wave is characterized by the suffragette movement; the second wave is characterized by the formation of the National Organization for Women, abortion rights politics, and the fight for the Equal Rights Amendments. Suddenly, during the third wave of feminism, women of colour make an appearance to transform feminism into a multicultural movement.
This periodization situates white middle-class women as the central historical agents to which women of colour attach themselves. However, if we were to recognize the agency of indigenous women in an account of feminist history, we might begin with 1492 when Native women collectively resisted colonization. This would allow us to see that there are multiple feminist histories emerging from multiple communities of colour which intersect at points and diverge in others. This would not negate the contributions made by white feminists, but would de-center them from our historicizing and analysis.
Indigenous feminism thus centers anti-colonial practice within its organizing. This is critical today when you have mainstream feminist groups supporting, for example, the US bombing of Afghanistan with the claim that this bombing will free women from the Taliban (apparently bombing women somehow liberates them).
‘populist’ feminism: because I grew up poor now shut the fuck up
as I’ve learned from the editors of the vagenda, whenever the project of white feminism is put in doubt, just make recourse to a starving person (who you aren’t) and say ‘THIS PERSON CAN’T EAT YOUR ACADEMIC THEORIES!’ because, for some reason, that person can eat blogs. especially blogs about pop culture from a feminist perspective, starving people are sated each and every day by the brave work of defending the good name of lena dunham.
the flipside of the insistence that feminism only be ‘populist’ or ‘non-academic’ is that it takes all of the political struggle that went into creating and sustaining programs in women’s studies and casts it aside, because nobody told us that studying a topic in a post-secondary setting would mean that subject is difficult! feminism can’t be about intellectual heavy-lifting, we’re only talking about women, after all!
nobody says that about particle physics. who is this physicist who says things about physics that I, a lay person, can’t understand? the nerve of it! you’d almost imagine they had been studying physics for 15 years because it’s a complex field of inquiry…
and this isn’t to say that obscurantism (or just shoddy writing) isn’t a problem in the academy. but I’m tired of these played out caricatures being tossed around whenever a supposedly ‘populist’ white feminist is criticized for being facile and racist. the ‘Populist’ White Woman (mid-20s, dopey haircut, runs a blog) chastises the Academic Feminist (late-20s, chic haircut, wrote a book for an academic press that’s full of jargon and impenetrable analyses of the prostitute in Joyce), for not doing more to help the Starving Woman (resembling Pig-Pen from Peanuts and carrying her young child around with her).
and those are the three options: you’re either an academic feminist or you’re a real feminist or you’re one of the voiceless women that the real feminists are always talking about when they want the ‘academic’ feminists to stop calling them racist.
as always, it never enters the equation that there might be, especially now that it has taken up residence on the internet. a startling failure of imagination structuring white feminism. the white feminist imagination can only ever proclaim (from the Vagenda editors to Hugo Schwyzer and all points along the continuum) that ‘what feminism needs is more voices - a whole chorus of them.’
except no ‘academic,’ ‘esoteric,’ or ‘theoretical’ voices… and no actual poor women’s voices, and no Black women’s voices, and no undocumented voices, and no trans voices, because white feminism is only ever interested in those voices rhetorically. because ‘discussing the nuances of intersectionality isn’t going to have much dice if some of the teenage girls in the audience are pregnant, or hungry, or at risk of abuse.’
and that’s precisely where non-white women are in the white feminist imaginary: the audience. white internet feminism will bloviate about choruses of women’s voices, but they freak out when those voices get put to use because, as members of the audience, those voices aren’t meant to speak at all! they’re supposed to sit down and shut up while the dumb members of the panel chide the smart members of the panel for being too theoretical.
and that speaks to the persecution complex, the narcissism, the elitism, and the racism of the white feminist blogosphere. ‘other’ women can speak just as long as they’re not interrupting a white woman.