Warning: this commentary deals with the subtle racism that liberal white women experience, but consider to impolitic to voice. If this makes you uncomfortable, LEAVE NOW.
Well Peeps, I know this post is going to piss a lot of you off. But hey, why should I be pissed off alone.
I happen to be a feminist and proud of it, but I’m also white. Get the fuck over it.
While all women will have to deal with some form of gender bias sometime in their lives, I get that some of us will have a harder fight because race places additional hurdles in our paths. What’s pissing me right the fuck off is I’m willing to champion those fights right along with them, I just wish they’d stop treating me like I’m the enemy. Fuck!
I understand that feminism, as it relates to women of color, is not a single issue, but a combination of issues. Were women of color given a raw deal during the Suffrage movement? Fuck yeah. Racism, homophobia and religious intolerance were hallmarks of that time (and still are if recent events are any guide.) But was I alive then? Fuck, no.
But guess what? I fucking resent being marginalized for the color of my skin every bit as much as my sisters of color resent being marginalized for theirs. Do I know what it’s like to be systematically discriminated against based on my race? Not completely, but try growing up as a non-christian in the south (it ain’t no picnic, just saying.) I consider myself fortunate not having to survive the Holocaust. And I’m thankful that although genocide is still exists in some parts of the world, most of the antisemitic policies practiced for centuries, are no longer the norm.
But I have experienced racial discrimination… How? Let’s talk about going into a restaurant with my kids and being asked to leave because I’m WHITE… or being told it’s unnatural for my Eurasian husband and I to be together, much less *shudder* breed. And don’t get me started on the stigmatization of persons with invisible, nonverbal disabilities.
You don’t look like you have a disability or (my personal favorite) you’re too smart to have a learning disability
Yeah, bigots come in all flavors.
But do you see ME sneering at the concerns women of color face? No. I get that their experiences are different from mine. That in addition to gender discrimination and racism, they also have to overcome institutional and economic inequity (although there’s impoverished white women, too.)
Still, I want to thank the blogger who inspired this post. Because before she brought the “White Feminist” devils to my attention by gracelessly pointing out how we’re simply unaware of our evil deeds, I was under the misapprehension that my sisters of color and I were allies. That we had a duty to stand shoulder to shoulder against whatever inequities fell in our path.
So thank you dear sister for condescendingly relieving my ignorance.
“Often, women of privilege don’t even realize that they’re excluding other marginalized groups. This isn’t an excuse for their behavior, but it is a chance for women of color to honestly tell feminists of privilege how their lack of self-awareness affects other women. By helping each other recognize that women of different races, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses experience gender inequality differently, we can all become more inclusive feminists.”
So you’re saying I can’t be on the team because I’m white, straight and don’t have a Harvard degree (or any degree) like you? (But hey, I have a mixed-race, transgender son. Does that buy me some forgiveness? Come on, please let me play… I could be your ‘TWF’ Token White Feminist.)
If you really want to compare apples to oranges, I guarantee that most people, including myself and many gay women of color, don’t know fuck-all what it’s like to live as a homosexual or transgender man. How can we? (Here’s some quick 2013 FBI stats on the disproportionately high amount of hate crimes against gay and transgender males if your interested.)
But I digress…
What’s important, is my willingness to raise my voice and fight until EVERYONE has the same privileges and protections under the law.
So I’m a feminist that just happens to be white. So fucking what.
A lot of white people have a problem with racism (as in it’s wrong.)
A lot of straight people have a problem violence against members in the LGBTQ community (because it’s fucking wrong.)
And there’s plenty of rich people wanting to address the systemic economic inequity that’s hurting all of us (because they feel it’s fucking wrong.)
But know what else is FUCKING WRONG? Applying a racially loaded, derogatory term like “White Feminism” to liberal leaning Caucasian women. It’s insulting and divisive. A lot of white feminists aren’t rich, entitled or privileged; certainly not privileged enough to attend Harvard. After graduating high school, I like many women with an absentee father, couldn’t afford to go to college. So I waitressed and clerked for a couple years then joined the military because it was the only educational road available to me.
Besides, not all wealthy people are entitled, and you don’t have to be rich to be elitist or white to be a bigot.
The way the term “White Feminism” is commonly used, carries a subtle ugliness that I find personally offensive (and those who think white people aren’t allowed to be offended can fucking Bite Me.) By implying that white women are wronging all women of color, and insinuating that we’re afflicted with a race based mental disability, that our innate whiteness somehow makes it impossible for us to grasp certain fundamental concepts (Gee, where have we heard that before?) you’ve proved yourself a racist.
Are there women in our society undermining the feminist cause? Sure. Are some of them white? Absolutely.
But here’s the thing:
THE MAJORITY OF US AREN’T!
And not being white, doesn’t make it okay to sling sugar-coated racial slurs, no matter how intellectually well-dressed they might be. So yeah, this “White Feminist” is calling smug, judgemental assholes that think it’s okay to make assumptions, based on the color of someone’s skin and use racially charged terms with a broad brush…
Being Mexican doesn’t make you a rapist. Being Muslim doesn’t mean your a terrorist. Being white isn’t synonymous for Rightwing Stepford clone…
But regardless of your color, judging someone based on the color of their skin and uttering racial slurs does make you racist.
Please note: While differing opinions that promote a healthy civil discourse are welcome, hate filled comments will not be approved.