Last night, a Black man in Los Angeles was fatally shot by police officers for carrying a Swiss Army knife. Before I proceed, I want to be clear that someone called the police for assault with a deadly weapon. Perhaps he did assault someone, and in that case, it would be reasonable to arrest him. A bystander said that the man was his friend, and that he liked to “wave a knife to scare tourists.” That’s stupid, that’s possibly arrestable, but there’s no reason that man should be dead.
It’s a Swiss Army knife. One man with a Swiss Army knife against what looks like it could be up to 10 cops has no chance of actually hurting them. The cops shot him not because they knew for sure that he had done anything wrong, because they didn’t, but because he was carrying a knife. And h was Black. Keep reading »
The saying goes if you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere: Dating is too often a joke, the job market is highly competitive, the rent is too high, and a simple task of doing your laundry can end up in a mile walk through snow just to get to the nearest laundry service — and after all your hard work? You get rewarded by having all your underwear stolen. Not having laundry in your overpriced pad is a popular dealbreaker amongst us renters in the city. A well-paying job in New Jersey is a popular dealbreaker amongst job-seekers living in NYC. In a city with a ratio of 57 percent women and 43 percent men, us single ladies have had to hang up a lot of dating dealbreakers that would previously have had us running for the hills. Keep reading »
Politically and socially, the most powerful demographic, with the exception of White men, is White women. Though still underrepresented in key economic and power positions, White women enjoy numerous social benefits, maintain political power as a “majority” voting body, are still allowed access to the resources provided by White men through marriage or other familial ties and are protected by patriarchal ideas of fragile femininity.
This social hierarchy of “Whiteness,” regardless of gender, becomes particularly evident in the nearly male-absent world of feminism. Though feminism purports itself to be a movement that represents the needs of all women, White dominance remains stubbornly omnipresent, marginalizing the voices and needs of women of color.
For that reason, I’ve created this list to help White women better understand intersectionality and come to better grips with the hurdles that Black and minority women face. It is not meant to splinter, or further divide the feminist body, but merely written with the hope that the power bestowed upon White women, as a result of White supremacy, can be used for the betterment of others. Keep reading »
What would my life be like if I wasn’t white? If I didn’t benefit from white privilege? Certainly being female provides me with a tablespoon’s-worth of inequality perspective, but that’s nothing when it’s measured against a gallon’s-worth of racial inequality.
When I consider how charmed my life has been – not by virtue of a lifetime’s worth of law-abiding, responsible decisions, no – due to the invisibility afforded me thanks to the color of my skin. No one was paying attention to a middle-class, white, teen-aged girl as a potential law-breaker. In point of fact, my teen-aged self only caught law enforcement attention when I was with my black friends. Because then, and only then, was I suspect. Keep reading »
About five years ago, my sister relayed a story to me about a professor she had at New Jersey City University who had his own book, Into the Heart: One Man’s Pursuit of Love and Knowledge among the Yanomama, listed as required reading on his syllabus. My sister refused to purchase the book. It was not merely a protest against a professor taking advantage of his students to sell his own work, it was a protest against white privilege and most importantly: RAPE. Keep reading »
I am a 23-year-old black woman who, for a long time, tried to have discussions with white people about racism in America. I went to a white, liberal college in New York City where I thought such exchanges were welcomed. I actually believed there could be such a thing as a productive conversation on the matter, some type of engagement, a debate. I wrote speeches about the wealth gap between black and white families (a staggering $100,000 difference), the unforgivable incarceration rate of black men, the discriminatory education system. I even made a video about the misrepresentation and misuse of black women by pop culture and the media. Most of my revelations were met with silence and blank stares by my class of mostly white peers. Eventually the professor, typically a white man or woman, would clear his/her throat and ask, “Well, any questions for Tiffanie?” The students would whisper amongst themselves, but oddly, I was never asked to elaborate. It was understood, in their opinion, that I was the overly sensitive, angry black woman. The racist; a race baiter. Keep reading »