Did you guys catch the Twitterstorm that was #solidarityisforwhitewomen? If not, it’s still out there, read it.

I was checking out my Twitterstream on Tuesday and first noticed it from @AngryBlackLady, who often has quite a few good gems.

Naturally, I had to click on the hashtag, being the curious cat that I am. And whoa, did I stumble upon some really thought-provoking, painfully truthful tweets.

 

Here are some:

 — Charlene Carruthers (@CharleneCac) August 12, 2013

#SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen when WW judge a religious WOC as oppressed if she wears hijab while attending med school. http://t.co/wjpHEcqIcX

— Rad-Femme Lawyer. (@femme_esq) August 12, 2013

 

To say feminism paved the road for women into workforce, when WOC were already at work paving that exact road. #solidarityisforwhitewomen

— Anastasia Karklina (@anakarklina) August 12, 2013

 

#SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen means Rihanna has a responsibility but Miley is just experimenting

— Sydette (@Blackamazon) August 12, 2013

 

The story behind the hashtag is here. Basically it was started by writer Mikki Kendall. She was frustrated over the fallout from college professor Hugo Schwyzer’s admission of targeting women of color because they were “in his way.”

So Kendall sent a tweet. She said later that it was meant to reflect how for generations many feminists of color are told by white feminist that racism is not a “feminist issue.”

Yet it struck a chord across the world. And I’m not exaggerating. Hundreds upon hundreds of tweets carried the hashtag #solidarityisforwhitewomen. It was even trending in some major metropolitan areas.

“Feminism as a global movement meant to unite all women has global responsibilities, and – as illustrated by hundreds of tweets – has failed at one of the most basic: it has not been welcoming to all women, or even their communities,” Kendall wrote in her piece explaining the hashtag’s origins.

I pointed it out to a couple of my white girl friends who talk candidly with me about race. One said: “All those tweets kicked my ass! They had such great points.” The other said it made her uncomfortable, she didn’t agree with a lot of them, but was really focusing on taking it in. Listening.

I think that’s great, how can we work together if we don’t listen to each other? Or as Shelby Knox said:

Fellow white feminists: #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen is not for us to defend, explain, protest. It’s time for us to take a damn seat & listen.

— ShelbyKnox (@ShelbyKnox) August 12, 2013

 

Of course there was backlash and people were getting very defensive, but I liked how it seemed to bring many feminists of color together. We don’t always see each other unless our names are on the cover of a book, magazine or trending in social media. I found some great people to follow on Twitter who ranged from a passionate PhD student to a song writer.

It will be interesting to see where this goes, if it creates sustainable change or is yet another well-intentioned Twitter trend. But if you take a look,  there’s already been a shift because it has renewed conversations, started to pry open minds that were unknowingly closed, and it has put the challenges of today in a historical context, showing the ongoing trend of what happens at the intersection of race and feminism.

It’s kinda cool when you think about it. Social media can give regular people a megaphone to discuss their opinions and when we all speak with one voice, it’s easier to be heard. I’m glad that it appears that the feminist movement is finally, finally ready to listen.


Comments

#SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen: Twitter reflects feminism’s problem with race — 8 Comments

  1. I was w/ a friend, a WOC, in a London restaurant several years ago. All the people around us, who had arrived after us, were being served and we were not. At first, I thought it was just an oversight. But after a time, the truth was unavoidable. We were not welcome there. And I realized that, regardless of living a lifetime of inclusiveness and respect, as a WW, I truly had NO idea what it was like to be on the receiving end of racism.

    It was an humbling and enlightening moment.

    I agree w/ your friend…the comments make me uncomfortable. But in a productive way. They help me understand.

    • I am a WOC. Several years ago I went to Boston on a business trip with two WW from my job. They were both Russian, recently arrived in America. Two things happened that completely unnerved them. We went to breakfast at the hotel dining room. There were no customers in the restaurant, yet we were seated in the back by the kitchen door. When one of them asked why we were seated in the back, she was told the other tables were reserved. She stormed out of the restaurant. Later that day we went down to the gym.I got in the whirlpool, everyone else got out. It was a lesson the two women never forgot. Whenever we traveled together or went out after that, they became hypersensitive about how I was treated.

      • I think that people have to have those type of experiences to really enlighten them, opening their minds and hearts to what happens in others’ shoes. Thanks for sharing your story Jessie! 🙂

    • I remember this story Wendi! I think that’s why it’s important we have friends/family members who are different than ourselves because at least it gives us a glimpse of what life looks like through a different hue. Also, your McDonald’s story is THE BEST. Have you written a blog post about that one? If so, lemme know, I’d love to share it with others! 🙂

  2. Just checked out the Twitter feed. I have felt many of these things and wondered how I am affecting the sisterhood. Trying to always be mindful, and these things make me try even harder. This sounds dumb, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Kanye, and, while I love his music, his views of women (maybe with artistic purpose?) make my outer and inner feminist choke. Anyway, had me wondering about the complexities I don’t understand with black men, black women, white women and more. “Shut up and listen” is a good mantra.

    • Thanks for your insight Breezer. We all need to do more listening to each other. I hear you on Kanye and loving his words, and it’s something that I can’t explain, but though I’m a proud feminist, the words don’t bother me. I remember when I was younger so many people would talk about how horrible Tupac’s lyrics where and it confused me. When rappers use terms like “bitches” and “hos” I don’t get offended because it’s not that personal for me. Not to mention when my girlfriends call me bitch or ho, I don’t get offended. Granted I understand how it all feeds into negative disempowering images of women, but so do fashion magazine spreads and I also don’t go railing against those… OK, this is a total tangent, sorry, not even sure where I’m going with this as it relates to #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen, but when you talked about the complexities of the different genders and races, as usual, you made me think. 🙂 Ouch.

  3. And, yes, I do realize Kanye is only one black man, and he speaks only for himself, but he bursts my little WW bubble. Anyway, not sure Kanye discussion is appropriate to this thread, but, apparently, it’s on my mind. 🙂

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