This is a response to a commenter, SoulAlive, who sent me someone elses debate about women who were “for”and “against” black women in feminism. This is my response.
Hi, Soul Alive thanks for sending me this. It is interesting to see that black women are still out in the feminist trenches grenade in hand. Smh… some things never change.
Anyways, I would advise you to send black women who actually still think that feminism CAN work for black women to this link… if they didn’t get it before they might have some clarity afterwards.
It seems that “for”doesn’t seem to understand the basics of intersectionality, nor how it works. They also don’t seem to get why it would be wise to forgo feminism if you are a black woman.
I have said a million times that it is a waste of time and energy for black women to join in the feminist movement. It’s funny because this person can see that gender privilege will never be given up by black men but they can’t seem to grasp the fact that racism CAN NOT be dropped by white women if they want to have the SAME privileges that white men do.
I’ll explain what I’ve been saying and ultimately why I’ve retained my neutral stance towards feminism.
(Note all credit for my information goes to Kimberle Crenshaw who wrote the pdf above and is one of the leading women in Interesectionality theory)
For starters as the pdf explains white women (like black men) would be FULLY equal to white men but for their gender. (Same as black men would be equal to white men but for their race). Anyhoo, we already *know* that white women have gender privilege but how can white women fully help black women (ie give up racial privilege) while still becoming equal to white men? (who have racial and gender privilege)
I’ll answer that question…. DUH they CAN”T.
In a racist and sexist society both black men and white women need race and sex COMBINED to be equal to white men. Further they MUST have someone below them.
In this case black women are the losers. Instersectionality tells us that black women can’t fully benefit from civil rights laws because sexism dictates otherwise.
What “for”doesn’t realize is that it is NO different on the other end of the spectrum in the feminist world. Black women can’t benefit from feminist laws because we are black. Further white women (like black men) need to use race as a way to be above the bottom level) Right now, with only racial privilege they at least can say they have something.(same goes for black men) What “for”didn’t grasp was that racism can never be fully fixed if they want to keep ahead.
I can’t see this changing because if either black men or white women give up their gender/race privilege respectively that will leave them where they started. (with either race or gender privilege)
So where does that leave black women?
It leaves black women supporting another movement that will never benefit black women. And honestly what FOR should understand is that it never was designed to. Feminism, like civil rights works TOP down instead of BOTTOM UP. That is it is for a unilateral world where you either are only at a racial disadvantage (black men) or a gender disadvantage (white women) in racist patriarchies you can only choose one insurance policy. ( civil rights or feminism.)
But of course black women have a problem, right? Because feminism which was designed for women already with a foothold (race privilege) can’t help black women because they are black! And white women can’t give up race privilege for the good of black women because that wouldn’t help them at all.
To be equal to white men they need both! It is no different than black men and sexism. To be both in this society you need race and sex privilege.
So I guess in some way “for”was correct when they called that sexism will never be divorced from civil rights. But they don’t get full points because they didn’t connect the intersectionality dots fully.
Second of all “For” and “Against” both over simplify the role that black women play. To explain it’s not as simple as saying that feminism is “racist”. For starters since most feminist laws are created by White women who already have race privilege and there for live a unilateral life. Their laws DIRECTLY go against the benefit of black women because black women CAN”T divorce race.
For example(And I’ve used this many times) slut walks could never work for black women who already have a low image in the U.S. it would simply make black women look worse. Except many feminists wanted black women to put aside race and support it. Even though it would be harmful.
The result: an instance where black women are supposed to give up something that will then be used to harm them.
What do I mean? Black women were told to put aside race but race was the exact reason why slut walks may work for white women (hypothetically at least. it was a dumb movement so I doubt if for them either) but not black women.
It is why I have always said there is NO SUCH THING as a black feminist because to Do so you would have effectively have to divorce half of yourself. Or at the very least cut off one of your arms which white feminists would then use to hit you over the head with.
Race is also why black women should really think about the abortion laws they support. (And I don’t mean morally) What I mean by this is feminists always talk about abortion, (which in itself I suppose isn’t bad) except when you consider that fact that most of the people who get abortions are poor black women. Of course for white women who are not as likely as to be poor as black women abortion isn’t a way of life or the only resort. Secondly I’d also like to point out how anti abortionists, when it was time to target women chose to target black women first. (remember the “the most dangerous place for a black child is in the womb, meme?”) Here the abortions laws that supposedly benefitted black women actually worked against them when black women suddenly became the target.
Which leads me to my next point. It’s easy to simplify that black women are “anti woman” but whenever shit goes down after the feminism dust settles black women will get dragged in and down (of course ww won’t feel the full effect because racial privilege keeps them from feeling it.) Could you imagine someone saying (and getting away with) that about a white woman? I don’t think so.
Unfortunately too many times feminists uses black women as the poster child for something and yet the reasons why black women are doing something and the reasons why white women are doing something are completely different.
As another example white feminists may support “loving your body no matter the size”and while this is great it doesn’t take into account that this meme wouldn’t work for black women who A) have a lot of weight problems already and B) studies have been proven that a LOT of women are only overweight as a coping mechanism to being sexually assaulted/harassed/ molested as a child.
Another example I’ve said is the free love ideals of MANY white feminists who think promiscuity shouldn’t be judged. And yet the pool of men that white women are promiscuous with and the pool of men that black women are promiscuous with are significantly different. One pool is more likely to have STD’s be uneducated, and leave black women a single mom.
Further even if black women wanted to work with feminists it has been again proven that because of race black women don’t get the benefits gained. For example since rape laws are created TOP DoWn to benefit white women black women are the least likely to get a rape conviction for rapists (of all races) and when they do (for all races of the rapist) the sentence is shorter and more lenient.
Black women, because of race, can’t benefit from rape laws.
So lets review. Black women CAN”T (even if they wanted) join feminism because the laws are created top down instead of bottom up and benefit white feminists first or because of race harm black women who because of intersectionality have multiple factors to consider. Further any laws created only benefit white women and black women because of their race can’t enjoy them the same white black women because of their gender can’t enjoy civil rights laws.
Onwards and upwards
But things take a turn for the worse for black women who support feminists. Because generally it has been shown that those feminists with newly found feminist freedoms use the freedom gained ( and because they now have both feminist and racial privilege) to hurt black women further. See feminist response to pornography which hurts the poor, the black, the young.
When people on top get more they are not likely to share or help those on the bottom. They just now have more.
So add that to the mix. Black women, are now effectively giving the bullets to the gun white feminists can and will use against them.
So what’s the solution? Well for starters black women with top down feminism are not needed. Because it will help the people on top and trickle down anyway (that’s the way it was designed.) The only way for black women to benefit would be to have bottom up feminism. Bottom up feminism (or civil rights) would work by helping those on the bottom ( who are racially and gender discriminated against) and by extension those with only gender or race disadvantage would be covered.
Of course that won’t happen because for that to work the people on TOP would have to give up privileges for those on the bottom to even get basic rights.
For example bottom up sexism would help poor women being taken advantage of in the porn/prostitution industry by helping women who have no other options. But that WON”T happen because the people at the top currently want to keep the privilege of watching/engaging in pornography and prostitution because they are enjoying it or are there by choice. They WANT Top down because bottom up might mean having to give up their perks. And who is in their right mind is going to willingly do that.
Sure “for”was correct when she called that some feminists are willing to give that up. But most “feminists” don’t want to do that. People want their fun even at the expense of others. Further those women are few and far between. Hell I just read numerous posts dated back to the 2008-2009 where one feminist blog was being called out by women of color feminists for praising a racist “feminist “comic. And the white feminists didn’t not and wouldn’t get it. The author of said comic was accused of stealing her ideas from women of color, but the (white) author blew it off as “trying to bring her down” and she was defended while the woc were called jealous and written off. Further these feminists didn’t seem to grasp that drawing native people’s as “savages” is racist nor did they care. So I wouldn’t hold my breath at the we’re all in this together High School Musical feminism happening.
Finally, the best black women can do is to stay neutral. Why? Because if black women support feminism or civil rights ultimately because of race/ sex respectively black women can’t benefit or further they will be targeted. But if they don’t they won’t get any benefits (not even the ones that may trickle down) and if they support feminism, if shit hits the fan black women CAN and ARE blamed. (black women are already blamed by feminists for not being successful because we wont’ come together and give up race and black women are blamed in the black community because black women supposedly chose feminism.) Never mind bad decisions, stupid policies and idiotic behavior, these people WILL need a scape goat and since black women can’t use race/gender as an escape hatch like other groups use black women are going to have the finger pointed to them. And what will escape everyone is that the reason why black men escape blame is because of gender and the reason white women escape blame is because of race meanwhile black women are only getting blamed because they can’t have access to either privilege.
To make any move would be dangerous.
I did a bit of research on WW2 and Switzerland. Did you know that Switzerland was neutral during the war? If I’m not mistaken it was because they were too small to defend themselves against Germany but if they sided with Germany and they lost they would be hurt by the allies. So instead they did nothing and because of geography and being in the mountains and cut off they were protected. And because of the fact that they had money they were able to stay out of it.
I would suggest black women do nothing.
You don’t even really have to morally be opposed to feminism. All black women have to do to be successful is STAY OUT OF THE WAY. Black women don’t have the option or the ammunition to get involved. Feminism will spin another day without black women. Also I would advise “for” to look up the term “mammy ”because she’s definitely in that category. Because, face it black women are being used in feminism it is only taking the brunt/fall out or being used as a mammy. And it won’t end well.
To “against” I would say keep your mouth shut. You don’t need to make any “official” stance about feminism( the only reason I talk about how bad feminism is because black women need to see why they should just walk away). Just become educated leave the ghetto, stay out of it and more than likely you can remain as successful as Switzerland.
Until Next Time