I’ve learned that what I understood feminism to be was actually white feminism. White feminism has been fighting for equality and justice for white women first, but never coming back to fight for or recognize the needs of BIWOC. Nothing included in my education ever mentioned non-white feminism. I have read Alice Walker, bell hooks, and Toni Morrison, but hypocritically didn’t notice the color missing from my feminist space. I’m for women’s equality, safety, sovereignty and empowerment. I have become much more aware of the many BIWOC and trans women that are also fighting for these things under much more dire circumstances than I.
I’d say that before recently feminism has sadly been a cisgender, white woman only issue to me. I am now opening my eyes to a much more inclusive definition of feminism and realizing the value, power, passion & strength in following BIWOC.
I’ve been ignorant of issues pertaining to BIWOC and am now becoming aware by listening, reading, researching and engaging where I can in a good way.
My feminism has been white-centered as I simply went with the crowd and didn’t question protest organizers or wonder who was missing. My white privilege had me ignoring everyone else and only focusing on my own experience.
I’ve been a lazy feminist politically. I will stand up for and fiercely protect my friends, family and sisters against male violence. I support women that speak out and have a strong, clear boundary against any man that disrespects women in any way. Deep down I am seething about the bullshit patriarchy breeds, normalized rape culture and how many men call themselves feminists just to get laid. I can spot a bullshit feminist man so far away. I’m learning that dynamic is the same between BIWOC and white women like myself. Seeing myself in the role of representing the bullshit, fake patriarchy as a white feminist is incredibly humbling and eye opening. I have a lot of knowledge to consume in my own re-education of feminism that includes BIWOC and trans women.
This is in response to Layla Saad‘s 28 Day #MeAndWhiteSupremacy Instagram Challenge. @wildmysticwoman
Day 22: “As a feminist, I cannot complete this challenge without talking about feminism. In this context we are talking about white feminism, or what you may have considered ‘mainstream’ feminism. White feminism is feminism that focuses on the struggle of white women. It is feminism that is only concerned with disparities and oppression of gender (usually cis-gender), but does not take into account disparities and oppression of other intersections which are just as important including race, class, age, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. White feminists will talk about the pay gap between men and women, without referencing the pay gap between white women and BIWOC. White feminists will tell BIWOC that talking about race is ‘divisive’ and that we should focus first on being united under gender. White feminist spirituality culturally appropriates and white washes BIPOC spirituality. White feminists showed up for women at the Women’s March, but don’t show up for black women at Black Lives Matter marches. White feminism will ignore the US black maternal health crisis because it doesn’t impact them. White feminism centres white women leaders, while undermining and betraying BIWOC leaders. White feminism has never read the works of feminist leaders Kimberlé Crenshaw, Audre Lorde, bell hooks, Alice Walker, Angela Davis or other non-white feminists. White feminism doesn’t believe muslim feminists are ‘real’ feminists. White feminism is white supremacy in disguise. It is only concerned with white women gaining parity with white men.
What have you learnt about You & White Feminism? To what extent has your idea of feminism been under the issue of gender only? How has your feminism neglected or minimised the issues of BIPOC? How has your feminism rejected, discounted or simply ignored BIPOC leaders? How has your feminism been white-centered?” – Layla Saad