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 »
As will probably become very obvious over the course of this essay, I don’t have an academic background in feminism or gender studies. In fact, I’ve taken exactly one women’s studies class, my freshman year of college, and while I enjoyed the reading list and some of the class discussions, the academic side of feminism didn’t appeal to me.
For me, feminism is more of a basic instinct than a complex thought process. I have always been a feminist because I feel feminism in my bones. Since I was very young, I knew that men and women should be equal, that it was wrong that we weren’t, and that I would do whatever I could to help achieve gender equality. Of course I was a feminist. Keep reading »