Yesterday, I joined black feminists across Twitter to go in on the #solidarityisforwhitewomen hashtag. The hashtag was started by Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) after she got into it with a few white feminists. It quickly became a trending topic and as I expected, white tears filled some folks’ mentions, mine included. I tweeted my ass off yesterday but it seems like one of my tweets stung more than the others.
Some people were upset that I had the gall to stick up for black men while I went in on white feminists as if I thought the former could do no wrong. I thought it was comical.
Before I begin, let me say that I know black men have some shit in their craw and I’m not afraid to call them out. To think otherwise shows that you don’t know anything about me. I am not one of those women that thinks we should coddle our men and absolve them of personal responsibility. However, my critique comes from a different place than the critique of some random white chick with a Macbook. My dad and grandfather were black men. I have a black stepfather, black uncles, a black brother, black cousins and black nephews. I went to school and grew up with and around black men. My critique comes from a place of love and familiarity. White women’s critique from the place of an outsider. As I said in this post, I can talk about my family but a stranger cannot. White feminists, you are strangers.
Although white men run things, there have numerous times where white womanhood has been complicit in the oppression of black men. Black men have been lynched and maimed for merely glancing at a white woman. A whistle cost Emmitt Till his life. Five out of six of the jurors that freed George Zimmerman were white women. The woman that racially profiled Questlove and the woman that wrote this article defending the profiling was white. I can go on and on but I think I’ve made my point.
White womanhood has also been complicit in the oppression of black women. During slavery, black women were subjected to the rage of fed up wives of the men that came to their dwellings to rape them. When Quvenzhane Wallis, a 9-year-old child, was called a cunt, white feminism excused it as satire. Beyonce is a constant target of white feminism for actions her white counterparts get away with. The same people complaining about Bey saying “bow down bitches” are silent when a certain pop star purrs “it’s Britney bitch!” White feminism twiddled its thumbs as “male feminist” Hugo Schwyzer denegrated two feminist of color. Ironically, Schwyzer was one of the white nights for white feminism during the debate surrounding the hashtag. The feminist movement itself has a history of being racist and exclusionary. Audre Lorde, who has been quoted ad nauseam by white feminism, famously critiqued that racism and exclusion. Groups like the Combahee River Collective were created in response to that racism. Sadly, this is still an issue as evidenced by the creation of the hashtag and this article.
So, excuse me if I am not quick to join hands and sing kumbaya with white feminism. In the words of the great Janet Jackson, what have you done for me lately?