May white feminism stay and die in 2017. They have really outdone themselves. My newsfeed curation is constantly being managed by my trigger-happy fingers that have turned ‘unfollow’ into a reflex reaction. Yet, I can be laughing uproariously at some delicious
Democrats are rejecting the idea that the party must disproportionately yield to the whims of the white working class.In what was largely considered a referendum on the Trump presidency, Tuesday's election swept a robust cohort of liberal and diverse elect officials into office. In Topeka, Kansas, Michelle De La Isla, a Hispanic woman, won the mayor’s race. In Charlotte, North Carolina, Vi Lyles became the city’s first Black mayor. In Minneapolis, Andrea Jenkins, a Black transgender activist, was elected to City Council. Ravi Bhalla, a Sikh man, was elected mayor in Hoboken, New Jersey. And from coast to coast, Latina, Vietnamese, and female candidates won elections. This week's victories energized progressives and members of the Resistance, the burgeoning liberal coalition that emerged in the wake of Trump's election. “I think those of us who care about the rights of human beings needed this victory,” said Lizz Winstead, cofounder of the reproductive rights organization Lady Parts Justice. “The gravy was so many women, women of color, and trans women won that it gives us hope that we are laying the foundation for the America that we all want to see.” Beyond electrifying the Democratic party's base, Tuesday's victories shown, senior party leaders that diverse coalitions can win campaigns — an idea thought to be precarious following Hillary Clinton's loss. After the 2016 presidential election with Trump taking the White House, many Democratic strategists thought the Democratic party needed to move further right to accommodate white working-class voters. In an August 2017 Atlantic article titled “What’s Wrong With the Democrats?”, political journalist Franklin Foer argued, “if the party cares about winning, it needs to learn how to appeal to the white working class.” Many liberal advocates were concerned that, these calls to return to the white working-class would mean sacrificing the civil protections of minority groups to win elections. However, after Tuesday's electoral success, many Democrats are rejecting the idea that the party must disproportionately yield to the whims of the white working class.
Callouts can be used to bring attention to important issues, but with any callout there needs to be context.By Mari Ramsawakh If you’re an activist or online often enough, you’re familiar with callout culture. You’ve probably called someone out yourself— in and of itself, a callout isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes when someone says or does something that perpetuates violence or ignorance against marginalized identities, we should say something. But callouts are just a tool and there is no inherent good or bad to them; they are how they are used, and sometimes there is an attached toxicity to callouts. More specifically, sometimes when you lose the nuance of callouts, they can be used to perpetuate white victimhood. When I say white victimhood, I mean the tendency that white folks have to center themselves as victims of any given scenario. We’ve seen it throughout the civil rights movement: as soon as people of colour get an inch of progress we’re asked, but how does it affect white people? People of colour live constantly under the pressure of how their actions and their success affects the white people around them. So when white people start to use callouts, well, it can become a slippery slope. Not every callout from a white person is bad or wrong, it’s a specific kind of callout. It’s the type of callout that typically comes as a deflection of responsibility and it usually uses a very selective form of intersectionality. It only struck me how easily some people could throw another person under the bus in order to avoid taking action for their own transgressions. One example is when I started to see Vellum and Vinyl getting dragged on Facebook among other Facebook pages like Love Life of an Asian Guy (LLAG) and Shaun King. King and LLAG were and are being called out for their abuse of women of colour, plagiarism, and speaking over Black people — especially Black women — on matters of race. These other popular pages have expressed violence and a fundamental lack of consideration for the people they claim to speak for. Vellum and Vinyl was called out for being anti-semitic (the proof being that she said she was Pro-Palestinian, which is not the same as anti-semitism), as well as a post on neurotypical advice, and for not communicating properly to autistic people as an autistic person. You can see that there’s a bit of disconnect between the severity of the offenses.
The claim that "intersectionality" should be used universally to speak for everyone's experiences is simply an extension of the anti-Black violence we already experience.Remember that 2007 movie, Freedom Writers? In the film, Hilary Swank plays well-to-do naive teacher Erin Gruwell, who goes to teach 10th graders at Woodrow Wilson High School. In a scene where she (finally) begins to get checked for her white privilege, one of her students, Eva, spills into a stunning dialogue about her own life and survival that I still find myself thinking about to this day. Eva, staring right at Gruwell, says "[W]hite people always wanting their respect like they deserve it for free... see, I hate white people [because] I know what you can do... Except for 'cuz they can. And they can. Because they're white. So I hate white people on sight." Eva's dialogue reminds me so much of the pain that BIPOC have to carry to comfort and placate white women who believe that their well-intentions can make up for complacency in a white supremacist system. And of course, a lot of this well-intentioned "feminist allyship" comes in the co-option and theft of phrases specific to the Black experience, like intersectionality. Today, you would be hard-pressed to find a website or news outlet that boasts about its awareness of the current social justice landscape who hasn't used intersectionality to showcase just how "woke" they are. But the overuse of this term has created a warping of how we see and interact with each other, both in social justice spaces and beyond. In particular, the co-option of intersectionality has amplified something that BIW+oC have already known: when it comes to our interactions with white women, the anxiety around co-option and culture-vulturing is rooted in its inevitable reality because of the power dynamics that place white women as socially dominant. The relationship between Black folks and white women has been tumultuous, at best, because for too long this inequality has been unaddressed. In short, intersectionality — much like solidarity — isn't for white women.