I Am Tired Of "Status"

In my past essay When Well-Inten​tioned Compliment​s Are Also Reminders of Inequality, I mentioned how some people really do not mean to harm when they imply that I should be in bookstores, television, classrooms etc., but because they seem to think meritocracy exists (hahaha) they do not consider how inequality impacts access to these spaces, especially so in terms of the academe, which I elaborated on in my essay I Could Not Be Any More Tired Of Academia And I Am Not Even A Part Of It. In my post Not Here For The Fame, I mentioned people who suggest that I should desire exposure for exposure’s sake; they’re people who are being passive aggressive and aren’t trying to compliment me. They cannot and will not value anything that I say without credentials and publicity “validating” it. In my essay The Price Of Rejecting An Institution, I elaborated on not being part of certain social institutions means a certain level of “freedom” from institutional abuse, but then people target me with violence because I am not a part of those social institutions (i.e. academe, corporate America, organized religion, marriage etc.). People who think my rejection somehow “devalues” their choices (which is ironic since the status quo aligns with their choices, not mine) or people who enjoy the inequality and oppression involved in gatekeeping and rejecting people like me are the ones who respond violently to my distance from or rejection of these institutions.

I tweeted about this a few weeks ago:

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Am I opposed to book deals, television, classrooms or panels etc. themselves? Of course not. When Black women that I know operate within these spaces, challenging how these spaces can harm as institutions and use their power and influence to help others, I cheer for them because I always want fellow Black women to win. I don’t begrudge anyone who is in these spaces and not actively harming, though I know that institutions themselves function to oppress before they ever liberate and are designed to violently protect the status quo and privilege. I understand this complexity. This is the problem of reform over revolution, which is a different issue. What stands in between them is survival though. And survival at times requires navigating reform though truly desiring revolution.

Why am I worth nothing to some people until “properly credentialed?” How much violence do I experience that isn’t just in response to me being a Black woman (which is of course significantly high) or being hypervisible as a Black woman writer online (makes it worse), but solely for not being one of the mainstream Black thinkers online who isn’t labeled (primarily by mainstream feminists, but also by “respectable” Black people seeking comeuppance) as “toxic" for rejecting misogynoiristic abuse? Not “respectable” enough. Not enough credentials. Degreed, but not an academic. No doctorate; not getting one. Not enough buddies with doctorates to vouch for my “worth.” Not enough highly visible “polite” White “allies” with power who like me. The same (and even worse at times) happens to other Black women that I know online. The people engaged in this abuse are White, non-Black people of colour, “respectable” Black people—many are engaged. Because this is core level stuff. This is the bullshit of American exceptionalism, meritocracy, bootstrap theory, prosperity gospel, the law of attraction—an assortment of victim blaming ideologies that assert that a lack of status is a lack of “worth” and must be because of a lack of valuable work. The structural is ignored; the individual climb to status is centered.

How is it that so many people seem utterly uncomfortable with my words or won’t even acknowledge my contributions, and not because of what I am actually saying (though of course these people exist too and are usually rather violent in response) but because it’s in tweets and on a free Tumblr blog? Somehow the words are less valuable then. Somehow it becomes okay for academics who call themselves activists to either violate my Content Use Policy daily/plagiarize me and call it “being inspired by” or degrade and troll me because what I say isn’t deemed valuable in its existing form. Somehow it becomes okay for journalists to lift my tweets and essays, which they would not do if the same essays were on a mainstream publication and if the tweets were associated with some publication deemed “respectable.” I am truly tired of status and the chase for it. I am tired of others (hourly/daily) suggesting that this is what I “should” want. And I know everyone is socialized into a very narrow model of success that requires credentials, attention, publicity, status and usually stepping on people’s faces to get there. I am not naive. I wish I had the luxury of naivety versus the reality of knowing too well and too acutely to the point it impacts my health severely. 

I do not conflate the need for money to survive in this capitalist State with this “need” for status that causes so many problems, especially among people who claim to be activists, people who should be interrogating what violence they engage in and what violence occurs to protect status, versus clamoring for it, (though to be clear, often through money is status achieved as well).  Thus, I am disinterested in people who suggest that Black women like me should be struggling (which I do, which I have, hello, generational poverty despite a college education) to “prove” our activism. Black women don’t owe anyone shit in this regard. It is through the violence on our bodies, the labor on our backs, the ideas in our heads that people’s very lives let alone activism stands on quite often. I elaborated on this in the past in Exploitation of Black Women’s Labor…In The Name of Feminism or Justice? Please. and in Fuck What Ya Heard; Money DOES Buy Happiness. In fact, it is often those who desire superfluous status who want to deny the needs, including financial ones, of those who do not desire status, as punishment for not being able to control them, harm them, deny them some form of access. And people gladly and gleefully support those with status on their sides, with the power to harm yet very little/no accountability. Again, the price of being without status is abuse. The price of being without status and not desiring it at all? Isolation. Violence. And even those without status (and are thereby abused) but are seeking status? They often support the violence against those not seeking it. Because ultimately to not desire status is to not “fit.” And it is to not fit in a way that eclipses even shared identity otherwise, hence why even some fellow Black people (let alone Whites and non-Black people of colour), and yes even some Black women, gladly harm other Black women in order to achieve status. 

This is the status quo masquerading as activism. This is the same hierarchy that I am breathlessly running from within institutions being replicated in people’s tweets and blogs and in “progressive” spaces where literally nothing changes if people are stepping on faces to climb to some sort of activist “top.” For what? And then what? Because often these climbs come without monetary award relative to survival, especially for people already in the margins. A lot of times they’re just someone White’s sidekick or attack dog being used to harm other people of colour. The violence deemed acceptable for status is not about survival. It’s not even about activism. It’s about a claim to power over others in a way that is little more than a smaller mirror reflecting larger oppression. It is oppression.

Requiring Accountability For Racism and White Supremacy Is Not "Bashing" White Feminists

In HuffPo UK, Adele Wilde-Blavatsky published a piece titled Stop Bashing White Women in the Name of Beyonce: We Need Unity Not Division. Yes, the piece is as offensive as the title and I’ve responded to some of it below, her portion in blockquote:

Over the last few days, I have read a few articles in the media rightly congratulating the brilliance of Beyonce’s new album but also bizarrely claiming it is somehow a slap in the face to ‘white feminism’. While it may be true that certain female writers or journalists (including women of colour) may have said things that challenge Beyonce’s stance and influence on certain women’s issues, such voices by no means speak for ‘all’ women, including white women. However, what is clear from these Beyonce articles is that the women writing them appear to claim that such voices do speak on behalf of white feminism (whatever that phrase means) and even more bizarrely all white women. 

Beyoncé’s album is subversive to White feminism even if some individual White feminists like the album (versus their usual hit piece after hit piece about why Beyoncé and any other Black woman that is not bell hooks is not feminist). In my essay Beyoncé’s New Self-Titled Album Is A Manifesto of Black Womanhood and Freedom, I addressed how even as many people find interest and empowerment via Beyoncé’s album, the album speaks to very specific experiences of Black motherhood, Black womanhood, sexuality in the intersections, Black empowerment, Black feminism, and Black culture. Beyoncé is regularly posited as antithetical to feminism and it is primarily through a White supremacist lens by which this occurs, whether the writer is a White woman (usually) or a woman of colour. The reasons why this occurs speak to very specific sexual politics for Black women in America, in the past and today. Wilde-Blavatsky seeks to separate herself from White supremacy and posit the idea that only the writers who post these articles are the ones who feel this way about Beyoncé. This White woman is pulling the “not all White people" rebuttal as a way to separate herself from the impact of White supremacy on how Beyoncé is perceived and its impact on feminism itself. 

When she states "whatever that phrase means" in reference to “White feminism” she is being purposely ahistorical and ignoring the impact of White supremacy even on “progressive” politics. There’s plenty of evidence that suggests that feminism has suffered from the same bigotry that non-progressive space/politics suffer from. When I (and others) half jokingly half seriously say phrases such as  1% feminismWhite supremacist feminismAmerican exceptionalist feminism, gender essentialist feminism (i.e. TERFs), Mean Girls feminism"Funny" feminismLean In feminismMrs. White feminismMistress Epps feminism and Mayonnaise feminism, I am speaking of very specific ways that White feminists regularly do the following: 1) ignore White privilege 2) demand silence from women of colour, especially Black women 3) refuse accountability for their racism and think it should be excused based on their gender 4) feel perfectly fine with two sets of standards for feminists to meet where theirs is a pulse and ours is being bell hooks 5) purposely target Black women and other women of colour with hit pieces that their White privilege guarantees major news placement while being as bigoted and as ahistorical as possible within the piece 6) claim any response to the piece is “bullying” by Black women and other women of colour 7) claim our responses impede their first Amendment rights or freedom of expression. Rejecting this is not us “bashing” White feminists or White women. This is rejecting the same racism that we deal with from Whites who do not claim feminism at all. 

Yet since when did all white feminists (or women) claim that being married, a mother, sexually assertive etc was not acceptable or feminist? Certainly not any feminism that I, or many others, would sign up to. Mikki Kendall, who has also gained renown for the dreadful Twitter campaign #solidarityisforwhitewomen, is particularly guilty of such ‘white women bashing’. Kendall’s article about Beyonce’s album not only does all of the above but appears to also suggest that ‘white feminism’ is anti-man. Yeah, right.

This is incredibly disrespectful to Mikki’s (@Karnythia) powerful work on that hashtag #solidarityisforwhitewomen. The hashtag is “dreadful” yet other White women have appropriated it (common activity) and used it for their own influence while excluding its creator? Right. This hashtag globally exposed the impact of White supremacy on feminism and on individual women of colour’s lives. Naturally then it must be “dreadful” to her. Careful reading of Mikki’s article reveals that she did not suggest that White feminists are all anti-man, but often that feminism is positioned this way. Womanism—which is what I think of when I think of Beyoncé—allows the space for acknowledgement of parents, siblings, romantic partner(s) and self. Beyoncé does all of this in her song “Flawless.” She does not have to embrace individualism to have power. This is especially important for Black women. Further, a quick history lesson in feminism does reveal certain White wings of feminism that are in fact anti-man in addition to anti-intersectional, anti-sex work and anti-trans women. This wing does not define all feminism but to pretend as if White women have never posited some of the most bigoted nonsense to shape feminism and make it an exclusionary country club or a brand, not a space for liberation and change, is to just pretend that literally nothing has ever happened before her article was published.

As a white woman there can be no doubt that I do enjoy the privilege of being white and need to be aware of how that privilege operates and differentiates my experience from women of colour. However to ignore the many different intersections of ‘whiteness’ such as language, culture, class, education, sexuality, religion and so on is to literally ‘whitewash’ me and all other white women to a flesh colour. The irony of doing that is the whole point of post-colonial theory was to expose such non-inclusiveness and encourage people to recognise and celebrate their differences not to suggest white feminism is a ‘one size fits all’ for white women either.

"Intersections" of Whiteness do not exist. Intersections themselves do. White people, even if oppressed for other facets of their identity still have White privilege. Thus, calling class, education, sexual orientation, religion etc. intersections of Whiteness reveals that she does not understand the term “Whiteness" nor "intersectionality.” That is fine but the research should have been done before writing the piece. While “Whiteness” itself has transience, White supremacy and racism are global albeit nuanced realities. In the UK where this piece was published and in America where the piece was targeted, guess who has White privilege? Poor Whites. Gay Whites. Lesbian Whites. Theist Whites. Queer Whites. Trans Whites. Uneducated Whites. All Whites. Before Whites start using “intersectionality” as a term to describe a White person who has one area of oppression experienced, they should actually research Kimberlé Crenshaw’s and Patricia Hill Collins’ work on this. At its start, the experience of Black women oppressed for race, gender, class, sexual orientation and citizenship/nation were discussed. It most certainly was not about White women who might not have a degree or money and hate Beyoncé or Black women like her.

On a more serious note, to ‘blacken’ the name of the work and efforts of white women in the feminist movement and to portray them as the ‘enemy’ of women of colour is a great disservice not only to white women but also to women in general. In addition, it only serves to further divide women and empower patriarchy and misogyny.

Insult Mikki and then chose the term “blacken” to describe what she thinks is harming White women—them being held accountable for White supremacy in feminism? (I can’t help but think of Toni Morrison’s book Playing In The Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination right now.) I do not care about what she thinks is a “disservice” to White women. They’ve had centuries of “service.” It ends now. They can pick up the napkin. No one has to cater to White supremacy and most certainly feminists of colour do not. The idea that rejecting how White supremacy impacts feminism and that White women being held accountable for this “disservices all women” is anti-intersectional and laughable. While she is busy dodging responsibility like hot coals and pretending that somehow White privilege eclipses her experience or politics, Black women and other women of colour are busy trying to live. And our experience is simply not one solely defined by gender. She mentions patriarchy and misogyny yet does not seem to truly understand that how White women experience these is different from how Black women experience them.

This space of difference is what she wants silenced. She does this in the most reprehensible way: by misquoting Audre Lorde to support lack of accountability for White women. She adds in the quote "it is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” I find this especially reprehensible even though the entire piece is. She is no different from conservatives who misquote (via decontextualization) and meme Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. while trying to silence the very same people that King fought for. She would do better to actually read Audre Lorde for context and not for memes. Perhaps read “An Open Letter to Mary Daly” where Lorde critiques the very same thing that Wilde-Blavatsky has done with this article—taking important critique from Black women and dismissing it while trying to assert that Black women are wrongly critiquing feminism or that said critique is about White women as people and not about White supremacy as a plague. 

So I propose a new hashtag campaign for women (and men) tired of the misguided cultural relativism called #stopblamingwhitewomenweneedunity. It is not acceptable anymore to ignore white privilege and intersectionality in feminist discourse but at the same time let’s stop blaming white women for issues that clearly effect them too. Issues such as marriage, physical safety and autonomy, access to good family planning and health care, pregnancy, abortion, rape, domestic violence, slut shaming, denial of opportunities in work and education and so on still effect women across all cultures, races and nations (albeit in differing ways). If we allow race and ‘culture’ to divide rather than unite women then the patriarchs have won. On the other hand, women united can never be divided.

This quest for “unity” through erasure and silence has another word for it; oppression. This is what Wilde-Blavatsky suggests. She suggests that ignoring White privilege isn’t the goal, but then her entire essay is about coddling White women’s feelings and White Tears™. The privileged hate critique. This critique is not “bashing” and it most certainly is not oppression. This is why there is a backlash against hashtags, Twitter and social media itself. Most of the great conversations that I have on Twitter do not involve hashtags but hashtags are useful as a part of a bigger picture. Many of the people who use sociopolitical/feminist hashtags are also writers/activists. Hashtags are just one of the tools in a big pot of activist tools. They work when the goal is to communicate, resist, educate and connect globally. I find it ironic that she called Mikki’s tag “dreadful” yet posited that petulant nonsense of a hashtag as a rebuttal and cannot see how much White privilege is involved in thinking that hashtag is acceptable. White women are not used to critique except from White men where that critique can become oppression, true. But they are not always the oppressed. They are also oppressors. Looking for The Help feminism is something that they cannot expect to find anymore and most certainly not in social media space. The truth is Black women, women of colour and all marginalized people have always resisted. It’s simply that in the age of social media, it’s harder for the privileged to ignore or control those smaller voices that make up a larger one.

White women like Wilde-Blavatsky want silence from Black women and other women of colour yet want their voices heard by the patriarchy. They want no response to White supremacy and racism yet demand a response to sexism when it affects White women. They want no accountability for their role as oppressors yet expect accountability from White men as oppressors. They attack yet want silence and complicity in response and anything but this silence or “yes ma’am” is deemed “bullying.” Funny how so many White feminists claim to hate patriarchy yet will gladly take on the “delicate White woman” stereotype anytime a Black woman or other woman of colour responds. Wilde-Blavatsky herself played the victim role when she was called out for this piece and claimed "this is what freedom of expression looks like, being bullied and insulted off Twitter. Good night. Keep your hostility and anger, enjoy."

All this article did is prove the validity of every criticism about the plague of White supremacy, whether in “progressive/feminist” space/politics or not. It proves that anyone can use terms like “White privilege” and “intersectionality” while being White supremacist and anti-intersectional. I don’t want “unity” with White women, especially when I cannot speak of their role in oppression. I want the end of any and all oppression, not a membership into the country club of mainstream feminism.

"If you don’t understand community, you don’t understand solidarity." - my best friend Megan

Related Posts: The Idea of Feminism Isn’t The Problem; The Current Manifestation Of “Mainstream Feminism” IsBlack Women Are Not Just White Women’s “Allies” In Feminism

I Do Not Give A Fuck About Your Anti-Black Opinions...At All.

No. All “opinions” are not valuable. No “opinions” are neutral or accurate solely because they’re wrapped in clichés, benevolence, affirmations, platitudes or theism. 

Regardless of your own identity, if it is your “opinion” that racism and anti-Blackness “go both ways” then you are historically, structurally, statistically, and socially INACCURATE. Period. If it is your “opinion” that people simply need to believe that good things will happen and structural oppression will collapse, then you are historically, structurally, statistically, and socially INACCURATE. Period. If it is your “opinion” that anti-Blackness, racism and misogyny do not have a specific impact on Black women—misogynoir—and being transgender and dealing with transmisogyny as well does not specifically impact Black trans women—transmisogynoir—then you are historically, structurally, statistically, and socially INACCURATE. Period. If it is your “opinion” that Blackness does not impact specific experiences for Black LGBTQIA people and all Black people are heterosexual via compulsory application, then you are historically, structurally, statistically, and socially INACCURATE. Period. If it is your “opinion” that the dehumanization of Black bodies and execution of Black people are isolated incidents or is ok when conducted extrajudicially or via the State since Black people (like every other race) also have civilian intraracial crime, YOU ARE WRONG. FULL STOP.

That anyone White or non-Black—and even including some fellow Black people who are unfortunately either directly or indirectly affirming White supremacy—think their “debates” on Black humanity are valid is the epitome of anti-Blackness. Do you get it? Your “opinion” is not valuable when it stands juxtaposed to the survival of Black people. I do not have to “factor in” any “opinion” whatsoever if it stands in direct juxtaposition to the truth or obscures nuanced realities of Black life. I owe such “opinions” and people who have them literally nothing. I don’t have to have an “open mind” about whether or not my humanity exists as fact. It is not debatable in reality even as anti-Blackness means dehumanization as the price. I don’t have to have an “open mind” about whether or not I as a Black woman “benefit” from the “oppression” of Whites and whether anti-Blackness discourse should center non-Black people (or remove Blackness specificity for “people of colour” when at times that is inaccurate), because one doesn’t fucking exist and the other is wrong. Imaginary and wrong. 

I do not care about the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality people were raised with when anti-Black/bigoted/harmful and factually inaccurate things can be said but since anyone with the ability to speak can speak, all “opinions” are deemed “equally valuable.” They are not equally valuable. Lives are equally valuable (or should be; we see that Black life is not deemed valuable); “opinions” are not. Me respecting their “right” to an “opinion” is not the same as throwing confetti if their actual “opinion” creates false equalization between the oppressors and the oppressed, obscures history, denies the impact of structural oppression on Black people’s lives (and all of the self-esteem/”respectability” in the world will not protect us from extrajudicial or State violence), and involve theist platitudes. “Free speech” does not mean what people said is then automatically true and history and lived experiences can then be ignored. 

And rights to “opinions”…that’s very cute that people want to argue this when their “opinions” are harmful and I am concerned about the rights to Black people’s lives, the rights to grieve—which includes anger—and, the rights to humanity. Harmful “opinions” do not become less harmful just because people add a suit, a degree, some Bible verses, money, a media platform, fame, tons of online followers, pleas for respectability, or non-Blackness/Whiteness themselves. I don’t have to respect any “opinion” that obscures the truth about Black people or facilitates harm of Black people. I will not tolerate it regarding the extrajudicial execution of Michael Brown or literally any other topic involving Black lives. Simply because people choose to lie or happen to be ignorant does not make their “opinion” equal to those discussing the proven truths of Black life. 

I put “opinions” in quotes throughout this essay because for some reason, people seem to think “opinions” and facts exist on the same plane and their “opinion” can erase others’ lived experiences or noted histories. There is no “both sides” of an issue when one side is dehumanization—or facilities the dehumanization of Black people through the obscuring of history, the misapplication of structural power, the false equalization of oppressed and oppressor—and the other side is survival. 

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10 Ways That White Feminist and White Anti-Racism Allies Are Abusive To Me In Social Media

2014 is the year that I probably need 99.5% of White “allies” to stay the fuck away from me in social media spaces. Honestly, I am tired of “educating” them. And I don’t even mean on anti-racism or feminist content. While I am not required to do that either, I understand that some of them learn from my blog/tweets and still view me as a person, while others view me as an emotionless fact portal for consumption and a method to assuage their White guilt. There’s another category, of course. The ones who clearly do not like me and are on my Twitter and blog solely to content troll and plagiarize. The ones who cape for mainstream feminism and keep mixing up the word “unity" with The Help. I am not even speaking of these latter White people in this essay. I have plenty of writing that speaks of their putrid abuse. Obviously, I want nothing to do with them. I am speaking of people who seem to really think that we are friends and that they are great “allies” but are passive aggressively abusive towards me on almost a daily basis. 

As I mentioned above, in terms of being tired of “educating” them, I am not even talking about anti-racism or feminist content in the traditional sense. I mean that I am tired of trying to train them on how to treat Black women using social media as human beings. I am tired of “correcting” their behavior as they pat themselves on the back for being liberals, progressives or feminists and not conservatives. As if that alters White supremacy. As if White supremacy does not completely eclipse the binary partisan view that they approach things with. I am tired of trying to teach White people how to be human as they dehumanize me yet have their own humanity conferred as their birthright because of White privilege. 95% of the hundreds of microaggressions that I deal with per month are from White people who would probably tattoo the word “ally” to their left ass cheek. This doesn’t mean that conservatives don’t troll and abuse. They do. Terribly. It’s simply less frequently as they usually wait for a national racial incident to occur to terrorize me; i.e. GZ verdict. I don’t always encounter them daily or hourly.

The idea that I should simply overlook these irritating and manipulative passive aggressive behaviors, ones that occur hundreds of times a month (not hyperbole) simply because these Whites on the Left don’t tweet me direct slurs (some do use coded racist language though) is something that doesn’t sit well with me. Microaggressions harm. Occurring regularly over time has just as much impact as dealing with less frequent incidents of overt racism and the day to day of dealings with institutional racism. 

Below are some of the passive aggressive behaviors from White liberals, progressives, feminists…”allies” that I am supposed to overlook because at least they aren’t saying “nigger!”

1) Engage in a behavior that I stated upsets me, that I didn’t consent to, and claim that it is “funny.” I wrote about this before (On People Who Respond To My Stress With Unfunny, Never Clever “Jokes”), how many Whites will IMMEDIATELY tweet anything I stated that I don’t like or causes me trauma because they think abusing me is “ironic” and “satire.” So if I tweet that people responding to old, painful tweets re-triggers me, the White “ally” will then find an old painful tweet and reply to it. The same Whites who will retweet essays about triggers and consent regularly do this to me in practice. 

2) Use my essays as “well Gradient Lair proves you wrong!” bricks upside the head of extreme bigots and open the door to more trolling for me. Sometimes these White “allies” will be in an argument with a racist White person and will include my links (or even worse, my Twitter handle) in the conversation. It does not matter to them that perhaps what the racist is saying will harm me. They simply want to prove that they know a Black woman writer whose work and existence proves the racist wrong. Being right matters more to them than my well-being. I have to block, ignore, blacklist on Twitter, Tumblr and Disqus—literally hundreds of people a month. Meanwhile this White “ally” finishes their argument and goes on about their life while I have to take the attacks and clean up their mess. (True, men do this with other sexists and even Black women do this with abusive Black men, which also opens the door to trolls. But it in no way compares to how often Whites do this.)

3) Send unsolicited, triggering articles and demand opinions. This is probably the most common thing that occurs and I discussed this before: I Am Not A 24-Hour On Demand Opinion Generation Machine…11 Things People Need To Stop Emailing Me and How To Appropriately Engage With Blogs That Have Anti-Oppression Related Content. They tend to do this for two reasons. Some get off on what they think will be an Angry Black Woman™ performance (which I mentioned when I wrote about Ani DiFranco) and some want to “show” me that they are reading up on sociopolitical issues in a way that resembles when a cat brings a dead mouse to her owner as a gift for approval. I…don’t need any gifts. I already live the things that they are “finding out” about. And unless I ask for a link or it’s relative to an existing conversation, I don’t need it. (I previously wrote about men doing the same thing on gender issues.)

4) Try to create conflict/seek attention by adding Twitter users and tags to my tweets that I did not add. I know how to use Twitter. I have used Twitter for almost 5 years. Thus, if I want a user name and a hashtag added to my tweet, I will add them. When I tweet out my essays from Gradient Lair, I rarely include user name of any person I speak of, especially if a critical womanist post. So no, I don’t need to include Tim WiseLena DunhamLily AllenMiley CyrusAni DiFranco, any mainstream feminists’ Twitter user name etc. If I wanted to speak to those people, I would. I don’t need to include any “progressive” hashtags to my tweets of my essays so that #tcot can then come and call me racist names for days as the White “allies” who added all of this mess to their retweets of my tweets go on about their lives clueless. White people who do this are definitely trying to be seen performing allyship versus being an ally. I write to share my perspectives on White supremacy, racism, sexism, misogynoir, intersectionality…whatever the post is about with fellow Black women. They are my primary audience

5) Whitesplain/classplain plagiarism. I deal with plagiarism a lot. Several times a week in most weeks, actually. Anyway, no, I do not call up my “lawyer” that I have on “retainer” or publicly “shame” each plagiarist as they have their mainstream connections defend their every move. No I am not “allowing” myself to be plagiarized or any other victim blaming nonsense. The fact that some of the same “allies” have given me the same White privileged, class privileged excuses every time I mention plagiarism reveals that they do not listen to what I actually say nor consider how Black women are regularly plagiarized when we are in the margins nor consider how Black women—Black people in general have our ideas, creativity, work and knowledge regularly spliced away from our culture and identities as a key tool of White supremacy: cultural appropriation.

6) Instead of retweeting my posts and essays, they create new tweets where they Whitesplain what I meant in my essay, add their own meaning that does not apply or do absolutely anything possible to not use my essay’s title. To be clear, of course anyone can tweet my links anytime they want (I have a Content Use Policy that says it’s cool). But there is something specific occurring with White “allies,” and the same ones in fact, where they refuse to retweet my tweets as is. Refuse. If I use AAVE, they post the link and Whitesplain my meaning. There are some who can only engage with my tweets and essays if they can dominate how my message is conveyed. And they do it every single day. Some will add gargantuan over-inflated compliments as they erase and modify my message. Passive aggressive.

7) Restructure first and then reblog my essays. White women, specifically, are guilty of this one. If I write an essay about gender, it will be intersectional. Being female and a woman is not the only aspect of my identity as a Black woman. I have had White women reblog my essays now, but they will remove large paragraphs that mention race and intersectional issues and keep the most generic ones on gender so that they as White women can be “included” in what I wrote. Worse, they know that most people on Tumblr DO NOT read the original poster’s (OP) link. Thus, they have basically mass shared something altered from my words. Now, if they are only interested in a paragraph, they could easily copy that part, create a Quote post on Tumblr and quote it. It could still be out of context especially if they don’t add a source link. But to physically manipulate my essays to alter the meaning to center Whiteness is definitely White supremacy and abuse. Patricia Hill Collins wrote it best:

Traditionally, many U.S. White feminist scholars have resisted having Black women as full colleagues. Moreover, this historical suppression of Black womenʼs ideas has had a pronounced influence on feminist theory. One pattern of suppression is that of omission.Theories advanced as being universally applicable to women as a group upon closer examination appear greatly limited by the White, middle-class, and Western origins of their proponents.

8) Plagiarize my essays upon reblog. Many Whites, usually women, will reblog my post where only the first 3-4 sentences show, take content from my essay, reword it and then add a note upon reblog as if my words are “their opinion” on my essay when it is my essay. Then their (usually) all White readers can think that they are responding to my post with some sort of intersectional insight that they never had in the first place. And again, on Tumblr, once someone adds a very long comment to a post upon reblog, very few people read the OP’s work. (There’s also people who add long comments solely to get exposure through my blog; their comments are actually brand new essays.)

9) Try to play “hero” by forcing me to remain in conversations with abusive and racist Whites so that they can perform their allyship by “taking down” the racist. Look, I think it is great that some White people want to challenge other Whites’ racism and White privilege while challenging the White supremacist society that benefits both of them. However, this does not have to occur in my Twitter mentions. Once I say "I do not want to have this conversation" and the “ally” continues to copy me on the tweets where they are taking down the racist, then I know an audience matters to them more than my safety and well-being. Once they get bored with that racist White person, the “ally” goes back to their life. Meanwhile I still was exposed to racist abuse that harms me and am probably fighting off a new troll. They ignore me denying consent to participate in that conversation. In many of these instances, I end up blocking both the “ally” and the racist White person. 

10) Use “self care” demands as a way to silence and victim blame and always at the wrong time. I wrote about this before: Mentioning “Self-Care” In Certain Ways Can Inadvertently Silence People. White women who claim “allyship” do this a lot. If I am in the middle of dealing with racist/sexist/misogynoiristic abuse and voicing anger, hurt, stress or any negative emotion, that is not the time to talk about how if I engaged in self care the bigots would magically evaporate. And it is accusatory. Simply because I do not voice my self-care regimens, what I do to relax, what I do to de-stress etc. does not mean that I am abusing myself offline (I am not but even if I were, then I would need support, not accusations) nor does it mean that the bigotry that I face on the hour online would decrease its intensity or necessarily alter my responses. Instead of them perhaps tweeting (without clogging my mentions though) about why the White person attacking me is wrong, and thereby educate their own White followers, they instead want to know if I go to the spa every time I am called slurs and trolled. 

Obviously the usual abuse applies; centering Whiteness. Not checking their privilege. Claiming that me or other Black women rejecting their abuse is the “real” abuse. Regularly interrupting conversations that I have with other Black women to play either tyrant ("my view matters more than yours!") or toddler ("please spoon feed me some critical race theory, it’s your duty!"). But again, the White people that I am speaking of in this essay are ones who truly think that they are friendly and kind people who are not racist. Many of them reject the mainstream feminists that cause all types of hell on a massive platform yet they themselves still regularly abuse daily and cannot see it.

Now sure, White privilege, White guilt and defense mechanisms galore are kicking in for some White liberals, progressives, feminists, “allies,” who might read this. "Not all Whites!" "Not all allies!" "But we are nicer than conservatives so that counts!" "My intentions were good!" "Well you have to accept this abuse unless you don’t want help with ‘your’ cause!." "Critiquing our abuse of you is the real racism!" "You obviously do not want ‘unity’ as feminists with us if you won’t be silent!" "Anyone can do these things, it doesn’t make them White; so it’s irrelevant that 99% of the people who do them to you are White and flex White privilege and serve Whiteness when they do them! It’s coincidence!"

Look, I don’t want an elaborate defense of these things that I mentioned above. I don’t want any excuses. Whites need to regularly confront the failures in their allyship. While they still have White privilege, of course some Whites this listing of passive aggressive abuse and unawareness may not apply to (i.e. I recognized two of them in my Top 20 on Twitter). This is still a massive problem for me and many other Black women in social media, on the hour, especially once we’re somewhat noticed in the mainstream. This is not make-believe.

There are only two options available for White “allies” who do this and think that they are going to continue to communicate with me in 2014. One is to stop and change. The other is to leave me the fuck alone. People have showed me who they are. And like Maya Angelou said, I believe them. Oh and for any fellow people of colour who choose to read this essay as "I want White approval!" actually no, no the fuck I don’t. I simply reject abuse that reinforces White supremacy. I cannot quietly be harmed. Like Audre Lorde let me know, silence is not going to protect me.

Related Posts: Allies Are Still Privileged; Don’t Forget ItI Don’t Want Tim Wise As An Ally. No Thanks.Black Women Are Not Just White Women’s “Allies” In Feminism

Ani DiFranco's Offensive Stunt Bores Me

Before the flood of emails (which have already started) come from Whites—who feed off of my responses to the daily racist assaults from White women on Black women, and think that a response from me is me simply performing Angry Black Woman™ for their entertainment to watch from a distance, and that these things have no actual impact on me as a human being since that would require viewing me as a human being—asking about Ani DiFranco’s “righteous retreat” on a plantation, let me save them the time. FUCK HER.

Are they happy now? Are they masturbating to the pain that such a disgusting display of White supremacy and racism in feminism causes Black women, especially ones who are the descendants of slaves? How many Black people do they regularly hit up with emails—anxiously waiting like a predator salivating as they get super close to the prey—asking for a response to each racist incident that occurs on a daily basis? How many of those emails do they send to Black women who are Black feminists, Womanists, writers, activists etc? 

While much of my personal family history (and some of my roots I don’t even fully know yet, but the legacy of bondage is heavy nevertheless) leads to slavery in what was called (and is still called by some) the West Indies at the time and not specifically in America, it’s still slavery. And the enslaved in the Caribbean and South America combined actually is a larger group than was in the United States. Now on to the United States. So Black women who are the descendants of slaves in the United States are supposed to support a retreat on a plantation with White women and feel “righteous” in that space and affirming? Us Black women who live in America today and experience racism today are supposed to be okay with White women claiming such a space and event is something to empower them? And sure, while many White women will quickly claim that patriarchy oppressed White women during slavery as if they had zero agency and had no investment into slavery themselves—as if that experience can even remotely compare to the dehumanization and lynching (that Black women experienced as well), what Black people, what Black women experienced during slavery or even now—they know damn well what they are doing when they chose such a location for something they claim will be affirming. And the fact that racists, White men in particular, are defending this event (and as to be expected, are connecting this to the First Amendment, you know, the one nobody reads or understands) and attacking Black women on Twitter in defense of DiFranco speaks volumes. Nice feminism there when it’s indistinguishable from White supremacy. Of course some of these White men who do this regularly use other derailment tactics such as "my ancestors were slaves too!", “what about the Irish?” and “well Africans had slaves too!”

As if this is not enough, on Facebook a White woman had to pretend to be a Black woman and defend the layers of racism involved in such a retreat. How…is this different from the tactics of racist hate groups? Oh…it isn’t. And the filthy Whitewashed lies about how the slaves at this particular plantation lived “nicer” lives than other slaves (as if you can measure “goodness” when you decide a human being is chattel, a tool of capitalism, a product; this cognitive dissonance is key to White supremacy) and that not to support an “empowering” retreat on a plantation that’s a museum means the same thing as preventing people from learning about slavery is the type of racist false equalization that Whites, honestly White women in particular, use to center themselves as victims and never oppressors.

Nothing White supremacists do is clever. And in feminism, it’s really predictable. I already know their modus operandi. 1) Do/say racist stuff 2) claim feminism makes it ok 3) pretend cluelessness about last 400 years 4) White Tears™ 5) blame Black women/women of colour 6) career boost. And don’t let it be a celebrity who already has the career boost. Then their actions are defended to the death and if not there is such “heartbreak” involved in having to critique them.

Oh and the latest derailment is to say "but the retreat didn’t say feminist on it! It’s only for creatives!" Her fans include White feminists. Ani DiFranco regularly discusses feminism and from what I’ve seen identifies as one. Some consider her a feminist icon. Her Wikipedia page uses the phrase “feminist icon.” Now some White women want to pretend that DiFranco is a lone White woman in the wilderness with no White women as fans or no connection to mainstream feminism? There goes the White supremacist “lone gunman” and “isolated incident” defense. The usual. Here is the usual external individualism replacing introspection and an institutional/systems perspective. Standard White supremacy.

I am bored. And for those waiting to get off on my anger, the truth is, I am bored by another predictable stunt by White women. The boredom flows with all of the other human emotions/responses to this such as genuine disgust, irritation, anger, the weird need to puke…and such. But yeah, bored.

"But…but…not all White women are involved in this!” - White woman

Change.org petition against this event.

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