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White Feminism, Brown Skin: Jameela Jamil Is Who She Claims to Protest

Jameela Jamil uses her identity to shield herself from criticism while setting Black women up for her fans to attack (and apparently report into silence) without a hint of irony. 

TW/CW: Jameela Jamil, STIs/STDs, racism, misogyny, misogynoir, whorephobia

By Adrie Rose

Hello, my name is Adrie and I am 100%, unequivocally NOT rooting for everyone Black, brown, femme, female, queer, or whatever other marginalised identity we’re using to excuse generally shit behaviour this week. Y’all tried it with Kamala Harris and Black people said, “No thank you, no cops for me today.” Pete Buttigieg tried it by attempting to shame Black people into voting for him because homophobia is part of our basic genetic makeup or something and is now on an apology tour, even though he’s not calling it that. Hillary Clinton tried it when she trotted out Madeline Albright to distract us from her past of violently racist rhetoric and homophobic policy and her medically-fascinating ability to keep her foot in her mouth at all times. And Jameela Jamil tried it with me, just days ago on my once again suspended Twitter account.

If I’m being honest, this isn’t specifically a Jameela Jamil problem. She just happened to catch me on a day when I had less patience than usual for the Conveniently Woke brand of activism and empowerment she peddles. I don’t (never did) follow Jamil on Twitter so I’m not actually sure why she ended up on my timeline, but she did. She was complaining about the backlash she’s gotten for talking about her abortion. I have no doubt that Jamil has gotten all manner of hateful messages and ignorant commentary regarding her choice to terminate a pregnancy. And if that had been the entirety of her message, I would have been happy to let her live her life. But she had to ruin the moment by letting us all know that she’s a “happy, thriving multi millionaire”. I replied to Jamil, not expecting her to see or even respond to me, saying that maybe people feel uncomfortable with her being “capitalist swine” that is loudly and consistently wrong in incredibly basic ways like making jokes about HPV, slut-shaming women, and punching down at sex workers. And then I followed up with an off-handed, clearly facetious demand that she give me $4,000 since she’s “thriving so hard.”

To my great surprise, Jamil responded by telling me to “make my own money” because if she did it, I can too. I kindly asked her to shut up since her entire career has been built on punching down and that her newfound wealth is the result of money hoarding, not her self-ascribed brilliance. I don’t want Jamil’s money. I can’t stress that enough. Like I said to her, I work incredibly hard. Money is not a concern of mine. But that didn’t stop her from sliding into my DMs or from asking me to write for her forthcoming platform after swearing that she doesn’t hoard money, but instead gives it to marginalized writers like me.

I don’t care about Jamil’s money or her platform. I don’t care about what identities she claims. I don’t care that she apparently has HPV and had an abortion. I care that Jameela Jamil is exactly the thing she claims to rail against. I care that Jameela Jamil took to Instagram to compare having an abortion to being a landlord with the right to evict your tenant at any time for any reason you see fit when housing insecurity is at an all-time high and rent costs are skyrocketing. I care that she claims to support “body neutrality” while calling the Kardashians “agents of the patriarchy” for doing the very same thing she does—amassing massive piles of money she can’t possibly hope to spend and continues to hoard. I care that Jameela Jamil is using her identity as an Indian-Pakistani woman to shield her from criticism while setting me, and other Black women, up for her rabid fans to attack (and apparently report into silence) without any hint of irony. 

This bullshit “I”m learning” excuse isn’t going to cut it anymore. You’ve worn it out. We’re bored. I’m bored. I need more than “These are my intersectional identities” when you’re rightly called out on your continued failure of the cause you claim. It’s just an evolution of the crying gag that white women have perfected and weaponized against Black people for all of colonial history. I see you and I see through you. But if you read this, maybe you can put your clout to good use and get me my Twitter account back since you’re all about helping marginalized people. But that still won’t make me a fan of yours, so maybe not.

Adrie, Sociology student, book hoarder, and mother to Oscar (5) and Misty (15). I believe in the power of the glitter accent nail, sex workers, and black people.

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