Note: The controversy documented here is months old. I leave this page as evidence, as reference, as a reminder.  On occasion I will add relevant updates to the update page.

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I’m not a blogger. I have no wish to start a blog. The sole purpose of this page is to issue a plea to the white feminist community. I, too, am a feminist who has white privilege. I believe in our cause. I believe in the struggle for equality of all people regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc. This struggle means recognizing and fighting discrimination wherever it exists.

This is especially true when it is within our own ranks. So let’s stop burying our heads in denial. Let’s recognize the hypocrisy of claiming to fight oppression while simultaneously acting as oppressors ourselves. Listen to the words of your sisters who do not have your white privilege. Do not get angry and blame them for your faults. Instead, listen.

Because it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to be wrong sometimes — everyone is. But it’s not okay to deny those mistakes, to refuse to change or learn from them, to insist we are perfect the way we are. In doing so, we keep the same old systems of hierarchy and oppression in place.

And isn’t that just what we criticize patriarchy for doing?

14 Responses

  1. I have no wish to start a blog.

    That’s a pity.

  2. I agree with Daran, ’cause damn, we need more of this.

  3. I agree with the 2 previous comments.

  4. I agree completely with the first comment, but only about 1/2 with the 2nd and about 2/7th with the third. And I don’t agree with this comment at all.

  5. I only venture into the political/issue-oriented blogosphere every couple of months. Because I am crazy busy with other things. But I am white and consider myself a feminist and an ally to woc. I am wondering if it would be possible to have a blog written by white women allies to do some of the heavy lifting that woc have to do. In terms of teaching our own. Thing is, I don’t read regularly enough to find the shit that needs calling out. But if there was a communal blog where woc who found the shit [or had it thrown at them] could say, “here it is, what are YOU going to do about it? then a core group of white feminist blogger allies could have at it. And we could do the work of calling it out and answering it and arguing with it…” ‘Cause I’m not in this world regularly, but I care, and I would like to tote a bit of the load. [And I know that it’s priviledge that I even have the choice…] Does this make any sense to anyone?

  6. ico, i want to drop some thoughts about your “blog rating” idea to you, without highjacking ABW’s blog. can you leave your email addy somewhere? or is there somewhere else i can put them?

  7. Dear Ms. Ico
    After reading your comments about Sarah Palin I was ready to write a nasty rebuttal but after reading this I refuse to and I appreciate you being one of the few who actually does ‘get it’ hope you continue the good work. And don’t give up blogging it can be a lot of fun sometimes.

  8. Dear Flabbyabby,

    Feel free to write the rebuttal if you wish. We all have our own opinions and you have probably noticed that mine tend to be rather strong. 😛 We can always disagree on particulars while still agreeing on underlying concepts, yeah? I often don’t “get” things until they’re pointed out to me or analyzed for me. But I appreciate your kind comment.

    At least this we can probably both agree with: Obama/Biden must defeat McCain/Palin or this whole country’s going to hell. T_T

  9. I started blogging recently so I missed all the shite while it was happening. I’m a black, lesbian feminist. Strangely, I’ve just had a similar argument with white, lesbian feminists on our messageboard. Every time the WOC point out that the white women are being disrespectful, using racists terms, etc, the response is always anger and denial. The end is usually this > A group of white women yell like victims and claim the black women are militants, horrible people, racists, etc. They refuse to accept that their behavior and words have been insensitive. It is extremely frustrating. I have been on this particular board for about 8 years and this craziness happens at least twice a year. Because each new batch of white women joining behave in the same ‘white privileged’ way. As a black feminist, it is really hard working with white women who refuse to listen to what you’re saying. Luckily, some white women do get it and educate other white women – who only listen to them.

    Thanks for the blog. I’ve enjoyed participating.

  10. Steadycat,

    I’m sorry to hear about your experiences w/ white women’s racism on the message board. Dealing with it over and over again. That’s just… ugh. Unfortunately it doesn’t surprise me. But it does make me wish there were some sort of convenient archive where all these arguments that have been rehashed were kept, so with each new batch you could just shoo them off with a few links. Not that they’d read them. The frustrating thing is how white feminists will agree that racism is always bad in principle, and *other* people can do it; but they always say, “no, not in this case, *I* am not racist!”

    But props to you for keeping up the arguments! And wow, 8 years! 😀 Being on a message board for that amount of time — that’s just awesome. Frustrating as the cycle is, I know having your voice out there makes a tremendous difference. Glad you’ve persevered this long while. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by!

  11. I’m totally linking to your blog. As a white feminist, I couldn’t agree with you more. We as white feminists should know exactly how it feels when we cry out against sexism and men argue with us, claim they’re the ones who are victimized, call us angry, etc. I am going to share this with all my fellow feminists. It’s important to spread this kind of word. The feminist movement of our generation should recognize a purely white, middle-class agenda is a failed agenda. Thank-you.

  12. I am not white but I need to point out something though.

    Civil rights activist, black men do not think about black women or other women of colour as well.

    But does that mean civil rights activism or civil rights activist are pathertic or failures.

    I think when you take on feminism like that by blaming white feminist it is like saying feminism is bad or it really isn’t about equal rights and it gives men something to use against us.

    I mean how man times have black women point out to black men how when they are talking about racism, they are only talking about racism affecting black men. How about the sexism that black men use against black women. Black women rarely point this out to black men, or say to civil righst activist like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, hey about standing up for black women against sexism. Even if that means that civil rights activist have to stand up to black commedians and rappers.

    For example remember the Imus incident. I am very sure the only reason why Imus called those women nappy headed hos was because he thought he could get away with it, since they are women, nobody would speak up. Nobody pointed out how sexist his remarks was, it was not just the use of the word hos, he decided to add in the racist remark to hurt them more. If the basketball players were men, Imus would not have even said anything. Yet only the racism aspect was looked at.

    Worse when a black commedian, DL Hughley said those same things on the today show, Al Sharpton did not even say anything. Why because he did not see the racism since this was not white men but a black men saying it, however Al Sharpton should have still said something about the sexism.

    So maybe this is why white women get defensive or deflect responsibility, black men and civil rights does not get questioned or even criticised for thinking of black men only. After all when the issue of black comes up it is always black men.Black men never get questioned, why they don’t stand up for their black sisters against sexism.White men who never think of anybody but themselves never get questioned about anything, they never get questioned about their own privileage.

    It is like Bill Maher said we owe black more than we owe women. When he says blacks he is referring to black men. In another words black men were more opressed or suffered more than women. I believe white women did also suffer and black women suffered more. But whenever black men talk about how they suffered in America’s history, they never mention what black women go through.

    Feminism has been ridiculed, feminist called man haters. Have civil rights ever been ridiculed, have civil rights activist been called white haters. Do you know that white women are being blamed more for white entitlement than white men? Meaning white women are complaining that blacks are getting it easy with AA. I don’t see this and when I do, I can assure you I hear it equally from white men as well.

    Only Feminism always gets questioned. To men both black and white, to them women only suffered stereotypes or are just told to get back into the kitchen. That we never suffered much and already have equality. It seems it is ok to make jokes about how women are bad drivers but make jokes about blacks like watermenlons and that is not acceptable as it should not be. But for some reason sexist women jokes are OK.

    I do believe white women do want to improve the lives of all women however they need to realise how much race as well as sexism affects women of colour.

    When women of colour resent white women over this, I can understand why white women back off or get defensive or do not want to hear about the racism some white women are guilty of, because they already face white men and sometimes black men tell them that they just whinning, that they (white women) have no legitimate gripe, that they (white women)can’t compare their suffering to black men. Black men hardly ever talk about the suffering of black women. It is always said that only black men were slaves.

    I think feminism should be about all women, there should be a body of not just white women but all women of clour and women of different religious background. But for thise racist white feminist who do not want to join this group, then let them be.

    • As a black woman and a feminist, I completely agree with Yas’ post. There is so much more to this issue than you addressed in your post, and while there have been times when I have felt slighted by white feminists, that is NOTHING compared to the ongoing racism, sexism, and overall callousness I have had to deal with from both black men and white men.

      This blog bothers me because you are putting all the blame on white feminists, without addressing the most severe sexism and racism that black women constantly deal with from both black and white men.

  13. Who ARE you? I want to BE with you. If you ever need someone to get your back, I GOT IT. OK?

    I’ve been thinking all these ‘crazy’ thoughts about denouncing feminism in protest of the hierarchy of power that exists within feminism. Maybe it’s NUTTY to ask, but why are we looking to gain uplift into positions of power equal to the white man when all of our sisters won’t benefit with us?? Why are we looking outside of ourselves, as women, when so much inequity exists within?

    So yeah, in protest of racial inequalities within the feminist community, I’m no longer a feminist. I don’t know WHAT I am because I also refuse to make up language for a discourse that should be directed by the experience and thought of WOC. But whatever I am now, it’s about women and the uplift of women, not into places of white male power, but into places of all-woman equality.

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