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:
#solidarityisforwhitewomen who tell me I have an aggressive personality, yet spread the gospel of “Leaning In” everywhere they go.
— Charlene Carruthers (@CharleneCac) August 12, 2013
— 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.