From Harper’s Bazaar, a ladies’ fashion magazine:
From tone policing to whitesplaining, the liberal white women’s feminism is more toxic than they realize, explains Rachel Cargle.
By Rachel Elizabeth Cargle
Aug 16, 2018
When I heard about the tragic murder of 18-year-old Nia Wilson, who was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack in Oakland last month, I could feel my heart begin to bleed. My community of black women were grieving yet again.
As we grappled with the realities of Nia’s death, I began to use Instagram to facilitate a discussion and flesh out questions like: How many more black women and girls must die before mainstream media considers it a worthy story to cover? How could they possibly take away her white male murderer so gently in handcuffs, while black men are thrown to the ground during traffic stops? Why aren’t the recorded wails of her mother and the tears of her father enough for the whole world to be demanding justice right now? And where are the voices of all my white feminist friends when a black woman had been tragically murdered?
Almost immediately, at my request, hundreds of commenters asked the white women who they saw as friends and leaders to use their platform to highlight the tragedy of Nia’s death with the same outrage of their black feminist allies. And many did—both demanding that justice be served while expressing their disbelief that such a story hadn’t gained national attention in the same way that Laci Peterson’s or JonBenét Ramsey’s had. But there were just as many white women—women whose bios claim titles like “social justice warrior” and “intersectional feminist”—that somehow took this call for solidarity as a personal attack.
Instead of sharing in the outrage of Nia’s brutal murder, they came with fury for being tagged in a post that they felt challenged their own perceived feminist accomplishments. There were grand displays of defensiveness, demands that they be acknowledged for all the things they had done for black people in the past, and a terrifying lashing out that included racial slurs and doxing.
The fragility of these women was not a surprise to me. In a crucial moment of showing up for our marginalized community, there was more concern about their feelings and ego as opposed to the fight forward for women as a whole. What could have been a much-needed and integral display of solidarity and true intersectionality quickly became a live play-by-play of the toxicity that white-centered feminism can bring to the table of activism.
And so forth and so on for quite awhile, such as
When you try to exclude yourself from the conversation of race by saying things like “I don’t see color,” or “I married a black man and have brown kids,” that’s just as irrational as a man saying there is no way he could be sexist or misogynistic because he has a daughter.
When you seek to not be lumped into the conversation about oppressive systems against marginalized people, because you view yourself as woke, you are essentially screaming “not all men.”
When you try to rationalize police brutality by saying “but black people also kill black people,” you’re coming in with the same argument that men have when they say “she shouldn’t have worn that skirt, she deserves to be raped”.
When you walk into black or brown spaces and “suggest” how they can more aptly reach white people on the topic of race you are basically mansplaining, only now it’s whitesplaining how people of color should approach their own activism.