The history of white feminism and white feminists’ problems of inclusion when it comes to women of color, lesbians, trans* people, queer folk, fat people, people with disabilities, the poor and working class have been heavily documented. If privileged white feminists want those who have historically been left out of the movement to trust us ever again, we have to stop thinking that our reactions to attacks against those groups or people in those groups are obvious. That places the burden, once more, on the excluded and the oppressed to do the work. And, once more, we reinforce that this movement isn’t really about them. That is, in fact, what is obvious. If you had a completely different reaction to Quvenzhané Wallis being called a cunt than you did to Sandra Fluke being called a slut, you should probably be asking yourself why.
Jessica Luther (@scATX)
This quote is from her essay On Quvenzhané Wallis. In this essay, she lists many of the major essays primarily from Black women (and other people of colour) in defense of Quvenzhané (I read them all–excellent), and the muted or difference in support from White feminists versus feminists of colour. The piece itself is great–she calls her fellow White feminists to task. What’s interesting is how another person that I tweet often, @tressiemcphd, who is Black (and wrote one of the essays that @scATX mentioned in her post) received attacks for saying the same things that @scATX said, who is White. So amidst the problematic stances of White feminists on the issue of Quvenzhané, they’re still approaching messengers through the veil of White privilege? Further, I think the attacks on @tressiemcphd also differed since she took an empirical approach to examining the response to Quvenzhané from White feminists, and we all know that any methodology that involves any skill set that White men respect is held at a higher regard and thus opens the door for attacks on people of colour for stepping out of “our place” for using such a methodology, as I tweeted about yesterday.
White feminism needs to do better. No, really.