The hashtag #WhiteFeministRants was started by @RaniaKhalek in response to The Nation piece on “toxic feminism”, a piece that purposely obscured structural power differences and racism within feminism as to why the responses (to various stunts by White feminists) from women of colour do not always have a “nice tone” and are thereby deemed “toxic.” I previously posted about that article and shared an important quote from another response piece to that article. The tweets I sent above were specific to Black women and experiences with mainstream feminism because that’s my experience as a Black woman, but of course Black women aren’t the only ones repeatedly marginalized in these daily hit pieces, within feminism and within society itself. But the role of anti-Blackness within such friction cannot be denied either.
If we’re going to have an honest conversation about problems in feminism (which simply reflects White supremacist capitalist cisheteropatriarchy itself, “feminist” label or not) but cannot discuss why some womanists/Black feminists, women of colour who are feminists, trans women, sex workers, poor women, disabled women etc. respond to these hit pieces and structural exclusion and oppression because of White Feminism/mainstream feminism's proximity to the State and distance from the oppressed, then things like what I mentioned in the tweets above (which is not really hyperbole…at all) need to be included in claims of “toxicity.”
I do not randomly tweet White women. Other than a handful who are kind to me, I don’t talk to too many online about topics of any significance. I don’t have any White women friends offline because of the abuse I experienced at their hands in high school, college, grad school, a decade of corporate America and social groups/gatherings/in public. So I am not running around planning to be “toxic” to White women or White feminists specifically. I don’t troll them or anyone online. Sometimes I discuss their harmful work and I don’t always tweet them directly. I focus on my life and my work, but that work includes deconstructing racism and how this (among many other identity facets) differentiates how we experience gender. And racism amidst feminism does not get a pass nor am I doing so because I want some kinda “White approval” that they deny me. So this idea that I could ever talk about it “too much” or should ignore it and grin, smile and tap dance for White feminists is an idea that will not ever be valid to me.
Oh and by the way, when they’re saying things like what I mentioned in my tweets above—reinforcing White supremacist narratives and norms about Black women as feminists, mothers, writers etc.—that stuff hurts. I understand that Whites think that Black people—especially Black women—do not experience pain in the way Whites do or at all (as actual research has confirmed their thoughts), that is actually a White supremacist lie with centuries of history used to justify the dehumanization of Black people. These things hurt. And while their “feelings” get “hurt” by critiques that I make of their racist, White supremacist, anti-intersectional, purposely obscuring structural power type of pieces, planning and action, their lies about who I am as a Black woman threatens my life. There is no “both sides” that “goes both ways” when one “side” has White supremacy—which they do not use their feminism to deconstruct—supporting them.
Related Essay List: 2013: A Year Of White Supremacy and Racism In Mainstream Feminism