Sunday, November 6, 2016

Intersectionality & Problematic White Gaze: Feminism

Today is a perfect example of what I have been saying about White Gaze and how people like to separate Blackness (to be bluntly specific) from being marginalized. Whether it is done maliciously or with good intention, it is offensive and proves that folks often do things from a place of privilege. Feminism is and can be a touchy subject, I personally know for a fact that I would not be who I am or where I am without the Black women in my life. With that said, this post is NOT about me. This post is intentionally meant to signal boost Black women who have been silenced by men of all races and their white women counterparts.

Before I continue do you remember or know what White Gaze means? Here is a refresher:

"The white gaze is looking at the world through a white person’s eyes. In America it is everywhere. It is in history books, on billboards, on television, in films, in fashion magazines, on the Internet. It is the world as told by white people for white people...

Most White Americans do not see it that way: they are just presenting the world as it is, the way anyone would who was being fair, honest and open-minded. Any twist it might have is purely a personal one.

They fail to see how the colour of their skin colours their view of the world. That is for two reasons:

Many live in such a white world that their white gaze is rarely challenged and so they do not even notice that it is there. Only certain black voices make it through into that world, mostly those of Rented Negroes.

Whites like to believe “I do not see race” and “we are all the same”. In a colour-blind world there is no white gaze. They believe, want to believe, in a colour-blind world, which means the white gaze should not be, therefore must not be."

Often times Whites in general and for the context of this post, the mainstream feminist community always commit the crime of exclusion to take the moral high ground. They say that "this isn't about race, it's about hate toward ALL women. But women are Black too and the "I don't see Race," erasure that inspired this post is at an all time high. A good friend of mine, Aysha Bee posted this on twitter:

As you can see, Aysha was clear with her demand. Unfortunately, her tweet was turned into a meme that misrepresented her message by Feminist Apparel and posted on their facebook:

Aysha responded to the post and outlined the problematic nature of the meme and its caption "We should ALL be allowed to get angry without being stereotyped." In the spirit of the theme of "nothing about us without us" I am sharing Aysha's response because women can speak for themselves:

"I'm the author of this tweet and I wrote this tweet with no other intention except to challenge the dehumanization of Black women and erase the "Angry Black Woman" stigma that us Black women suffer from. 

I appreciate platforms that use their social capital to heighten the voices of Black women.

However; I have a couple complaints here.

1) Feminist Apparel

I would appreciate if you would edit your caption.

It says "We should ALL be allowed to get angry without being stereotyped."

You are intentionally misrepresenting my tweet. My tweet is not meant to represent all women. It was meant to represent specifically BLACK women because it is US who deal with this stereotype. Not White women. Please do not misuse literature from Black women under the guise of solidarity.

2) The comments underneath the original post are extremely derailing. I expected that when I realized that the following of Feminist Apparel is made up of a large portion of White women.

They have used this post to center themselves.

They brought up how hard it is being a "red-head", how other races of women supposedly face this Angry Black Woman stereotype, how as White women they supposedly face similar mistreatment by just being a feminist, etc.

ALL of that is unacceptable.

Even their excuse that they are "bringing up their own experiences in order to empathize" is not valid. You don't need to center yourself just to offer support to Black women.

If this page is going to take a stand for Black women, do it the correct way."


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