Monday, June 30, 2008

The Loud Silence Of (White, 2nd Wave) Feminists

So the question persists... where are the voices of the outraged white feminists who were so vocal when Hilary Clinton was dealing with sexism in the campaign, now that Michelle Obama is being targeted? This subject is covered with sharp wit on The Angry Black Woman blog, along with commentary around other racist/sexist attacks black women usually get in the media. I quote:

It’s hard not to notice that there’s not nearly as much commentary about this in the feminist blogosphere as I saw when there were sexist media attacks against Hillary Clinton. Talk about angry black women — what those Fox pseudopundits really ought to be afraid of is angry white women. They’re kickass, man. I mean, there was just so much furor out there — and rightly so — over the sexism heaped upon Clinton. All the big names of feminism and politics — Steinem, Ferraro, Jong, and more. All women who speak softly and carry big no-phallic-pun-intended-sticks. I’m sure these same women are going to come out guns blazing now that Michelle is getting the same ugly treatment. It’s still sexism, right? Even if it’s compounded by racism. Sexism’s still sexism.

Right? Right? So the defense should begin any minute now. Right?

I was also glad to see this subject covered in The Washington Post, where i gleaned some of the title of this post. Mary C. Curtis goes on to say:

I've long been frustrated, as a black woman and a feminist, with our national conversation. I didn't hear the cause speaking up for women of color or for women who have always worked in blue-collar or service jobs. Choice was not their issue.

The woman who employed my educated mother to clean her house never quite saw her as a sister in the struggle for equality.

Still, I cheered Steinem when she spoke at my college. Her message could have been more inclusive, but it was a start.

I'd like a little of that solidarity back now, not suspicion because someone of my race defeated someone of our sex.

For me, this is an issue of racism, more than telling pro-Clinton female feminists how to be feminists. And it really glares of racism. Quite shamefully. Sure, people are disappointed about their candidate losing. But in the meantime, the history books/blogs will tell of iconic feminists who relaxed into their whiteness and looked the other way when a prominent, strong black woman was being maligned by sexist and racist attacks. For real.

4 comments: said...

Hey there Richard!

This is an interesting issue....what surprises me is the responses that black women give when asked, "why did you feel white feminists would be allies of black women?" and "how did black feminists VET white feminists before declaring them allies of black women?"

You would be surprised at the responses...

I have written two posts about black women and the vetting process... black women really need to re-examine the process we engage in when giving our giving our loyalty...

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

lindabeth said...

you're right, I haven't seen any newspaper coverage of this issue, but several "white" (?) feminist blogs haven covered it including Shakesville, Feministing, and Feministe

Karin said...

I guess we need to just stand up and shout for ourselves and not wait for others to come help us.

richard said...

yes, the subject of "expectations and alliance" has been coming up. and for sure, we need to take care of ourselves. i believe we are, and are just calling attention to the absence of others. i believe its important to document these non-actions, they can be used as examples for young activists NOT to emulate (looking the other way when people you advocate for make certain intersections with oppression such as race, class, gender, sexuality, immigrant status, etc)

i am glad the sites you mentioned are on it lindabeth! i have seen some of their stuff. I am wondering if any of the white progressives are going to approach/write to Stienem, Ferraro, etc tho.