Friday, April 11, 2008
Racism and Feminism
The more I learn about feminism the more I understand racism. Despite the fact that this blog is read by no one but I, my thoughts on the recent racist sentiment storming feminism (ok not so recent, more like historical) has got to be said somewhere, and because I am just now paying my dues to the blogosphere I would rather http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifnot rant on a comment thread already filled with over 200 bickering posts. First off, Brownfemipower taught me more than most of my professors at this school I am about to graduate from. I actually am so influenced by her that I could not go up and thank her at WAM because of my nerves (which I didn't seam to have when I talked briefly with Jill and the crew at Feministing). Alright, so I am coming out of exam time hibernation to scream to no one at this hipster cafe I am sitting at that We Are All Racists, and the only way we will be able to understand each other is to talk about it, actually no, white people white people don't really need to say much, we just need to listen to the voices we have silenced (consciously and unconsciously) for centuries. I had unrequited conversations with BFP (and others) everyday, so that when in my African American Studies class last week, the n-word was addressed I, who seldom talks in class, who sits next to the black girls, who digests racism from afar, I spoke. And I wasn't going to, but this dude (white, male, straight) who I thought actually got it because he opened his mouth most days in class and the words he said came straight outta the textbooks. But he said, "There is a double standard with the n*word," and asked why he couldn't use it because he has black friends and they can. Wowza. Well I didn't even raise my hand and told him many of the things I talk about with BFP everyday. To let people in the community decide if the word can be reclaimed, that as a white person you should automatically feel uncomfortable around the word because of what it historically means coming from a white mouth, that silencing a community and trying to tell them whats best for them is today's form of racism at its finest, and then some... Needless to say the white kids took notes and I got a standing ovation from the black kids. But why?? After learning about racism for a semester, why did I even have to speak, thats what confused me the most. Well this was last week, before BFP left, and I told that guy after class to read BFPs blog, gave him the site, he thanked me, life went on. The thing that hurts me most is the fact that BFP was silenced, and her absence only means that more duchebags like the kid in my class will be able to talk without a rebuttal. I am white and have no idea the sort of silence and discrimination PoC face everyday, I can't selfishly ask for BFP back into my life just because she was my educator, but I can say that it will be much harder for me to address my own forms of racism and racism in this country without BFPs voice to lead my way. The feminist movement is stagnant, maybe depreciating, and it certainly is not going to move anywhere without voices like BFPs. But how do you educate or change the minds of those who are only in the movement for book deals and higher wages at work? How can we address patriarchy without addressing racism, classism, ableism, homophobia and all other isms and obias that are only multiplying? The more I learn about feminism the more concerned (ok pissed off) I become. What is this movement standing for?? If someone tells me its to make feminism sexy, I am jumping off the boat. I want to hear the words equality more often. The NGOization of feminism has lead to a malfunctioning movement.