Little White Womin… | Another Strange Fruit

Ain’t no sisters here: A long history of white feminism consistently excluding women of color and embracing white supremacism

White women voted for Trump in 2016 because they still believe white men are their saviors

[White women have a history of betraying their sisters. The 2016 election was no exception. The pattern of white women choosing white men over women of color underscores some of the more insidious machinations of patriarchy and the racism ingrained in the feminist movement. White women’s modus operandi for gaining power—economic, political, and otherwise—is simple: acquire power from those who have it. And those who have historically have had it are white men. This has resulted in white women’s historic abandonment of their black and brown sisters, as well as their more heinous adoption of white supremacist rhetoric to advance their own status.


These ethically unjustifiable strategies are evident in some of the feminist movement’s darkest days, beginning with the fight for suffrage. After the decision was made to exclude women from the 15th Amendment, which gave free black men the right to vote, leading suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton adopted blatantly racist rhetoric. Frustrated with the stonewalling of women’s suffrage, they actively courted and collaborated with white supremacists in exchange for financial assistance to advance their cause. By aligning themselves with white men, these early feminists turned their back on black women and even black suffragists. White male supremacists welcomed the coalition, as Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote in a piece at the Atlantic, because it would shore up white nationalism at the voting booths.
During the next wave of feminism in the 1960s and 1970s, a similar strategy played out, this time on a structural level. The organizations fighting for women’s rights deliberately excluded their black and brown sisters so as to appear more acceptable to the white male legislators who held the power.
The ethical failures of white women resulted in black women creating their own feminism—womanism—as well as their own groups such as the Combahee River Collective, which argued that ending the systemic oppression of all women was a political imperative. “[W]e are actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression and see as our particular task the development of integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that the major systems of oppression are interlocking,” they wrote in their mission statement.
White feminism, by contrast, is the calculated rejection of intersectional sisterhood in favor of the acceptance and appreciation of white men. In its most destructive form, it is racism masquerading as self-empowerment. This is apparent in Elle magazine interviews with a handful of female Trump supporters after the election, who claim that they are “absolutely not racist” and they really just care about the “economy” and “get[ting] a good job.”
White women account for 37% of the American voting population, which means the votes of black and brown women, no matter how impressively they turned out for Hillary Clinton (94% of black women; 68% of Hispanic and Latino women), were countered by the large swath of white women who supported Trump.

Instead of turning to men for political coalition and social acceptance, white women need to turn toward women of color. This is the message of the late Harvard lesbian-feminist Barbara Johnson, who wrote in her conclusion to The Feminist Difference that “conflicts among feminists require women to pay attention to each other, to take each other’s reality seriously, to face each other.” Only by doing this will we be able to eradicate women’s internalized misogyny. Johnson continued, “feminists have to take the risk of confronting and negotiating differences among women if we are ever to transform such differences into positive rather than negative forces in women’s lives.”

While racism is undoubtedly a significant factor in white feminists’ failure to engage in intersectional activism, history also suggests that white women have been largely risk-averse when it comes to building coalitions with their black and brown sisters. This is near-sighted and unambitious logic. As Audre Lorde famously wrote in 1984: “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” because “[t]hey may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support.”]

Snow White Rebels and Slaves

[The backlash from some black feminists was immediate, and the expected pushback to that backlash from some white feminists soon followed. They claim that those of us who found the quote—and optics—racially charged needed to look at it in the context of Pankhurst’s larger message, which speaks to the necessity of rebellion within a patriarchal system.

That could be viewed as a valid argument if the implication that black feminists had not grasped the quote’s intentions, thus rendering our criticism flawed, wasn’t the height of condescension.

Pankhurst’s full quote may be important, but within it lies both the freedom of choice and the choice to be free. The message that Streep and company are co-signing with their grinning faces and suffragette tees is that one cannot be both enslaved and a rebel; and tucked between those lines lies the erasure of a dual existence that black women have been forced to navigate in one form or another throughout history….]

Sister Suffragette: ‘Slave’ T-Shirts Highlight White Feminism’s Race Problem


Author, Journalist and Activist Asra Nomani Talks to Bill Maher about Extremism

Let’s Listen to Bill Maher: On Paris, religion and race, Maher walks a fascinating and tricky line | SALON

The Black Woman’s Anger

To turn aside from the anger of Black women with excuses or the pretexts of intimidation is to award no one power — it is merely another way of preserving racial blindness, the power of unaddressed privilege, unbreached, intact. Guilt is only another form of objectification. Oppressed peoples are always being asked to stretch a little more, to bridge the gap between blindness and humanity. Black women are expected to use our anger only in the service of other people’s salvation or learning. But that time is over. My anger has meant pain to me but it has also meant survival, and before I give it up I’m going to be sure that there is something at least as powerful to replace it on the road to clarity. —Audre Lorde, “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism”, 1981

[Many of the ideas the book deals with — racist misogyny, sexism within the movement, Black family relations — have resonance today. With movements fighting state violence against Black women like Sandra Bland, it is clear that the intersection of patriarchy and white supremacy still has deadly consequences in America. It comes as no surprise that the book has earned its place as a much loved treatise amongst Black feminists; it is a survival tome. The arguments Wallace introduced into the public sphere possess a singular merit derived from the author’s rage. For Black feminists then and now, Black women’s anger has a purpose — it is useful both personally and politically. Black women’s anger is raw and immediate, imbued with the roughness of having survived multiple oppressions, demanding visibility when America would rather we die quietly. And that’s the loudness of the fury written into Wallace’s pages. For the author, Black women’s anger is — in the tradition of Audre Lorde — a kinetic force. Anger provides an honest space for the possibility of social movement instead of stagnation. Anger is, as Lorde writes, “a grief of distortions between peers, and its object is change.” Wallace’s “necessary roughness” and her anger is in every sense a balanced reaction to her lived experience and observations of the distortions white supremacy has created between Black men and women. Black Macho is a more than even-handed take when one considers the full weight of white supremacy and patriarchy in America….]                                                                                    Read the full essay here | Muna Mire for THE NEW INQUIRY


Red is Not Black

Rachel Dolezal and Andrea Smith: Integrity, Ethics, Accountability, Identity

[… a more productive place to begin might be to ask why there has not been any noticeable difference in professional or political expectations of Smith—in her self-presentations, speaking engagements, professional service, and publications? There are certainly many people who knew/know, so why have her ethics and integrity not been questioned or challenged in the same or similar way to those of Dolezal? Why does Smith’s fraud get excused on the grounds of “her good work” but Dolezal does not?

Meanwhile, we’ll all fail to ask why, as Dolezal and Smith present themselves through such complicated personal stories of childhood abuse and family dysfunction, we respond so differently to Dolezal’s blackface and Smith’s redface. We’ll avoid the opportunity to think out loud together about why it seems the entire nation demands accountability of someone pretending to be Black–of literally altering her physical appearance to conform to racist expectations of Blackness–but doesn’t seem to give one iota of concern about those who pretend to be Indian.]

Read the full opinion article | tequilasovereign


Exquisite Depiction of Randomness, Chaos and People on the Edge in Mad Max films

100 Years, 100 Thinkers | The New Republic Ranks Who Defined the 20th Century

Philosophy, Medicine, Design, Economics, Literary Criticism, Music, Feminism, Digital Design, Art, Jurisprudence, Theology, Political Journalism, Diplomacy, Environmentalism, American Civil Rights, Sex, Humor, American History, Food

See all 100 thinkers here: 100 Years, 100 Thinkers | The New Republic