Black Feminists contesting that race and other oppressions interfere with the so-called core oppression of gender. There are feminists still making these arguments in writing without a smile on their face. Like obviously the marginalised feminists experience it but to still see those words being written…I don’t even know what they’re arguing. The rest of us have moved on. Anyway here is what Black Feminists UK said:
“Dear Vagenda Editors,
You might be surprised to know that a number of us here at Black Feminists were amazed to hear you declare in your latest New Statesman blog that “feminism is, and to an extent always has been, a white, middle class movement”.
It seems that you’re most worried about the “issues of race, class, religion, sexuality, politics and privilege…fracturing feminist dialogue,” even if your fantasy universal feminism actively marginalises the experience of anyone who isn’t you.
You play into the damaging myth that feminism is for an elite and narrow group. In reality many people who don’t actively identify as or even distance themselves from the F-word still have feminist views. Similarly many people know how intersectionality affects them and others around them, even if they don’t consider themselves to be intersectional.
In recent weeks intersectionality – or whatever you want to call it – has been deemed irrelevant andliterally not worth giving a shit about. Now you’ve kindly told us it’s too academic. If we’re being honest, both come across as excuses to avoid talking about intersectionality itself and dealing with how it affects people. Given recent events, perhaps you can see why many black feminists and others are angry.
Intersectionality may be an academic term that has spilled into common usage among many feminists, but that doesn’t mean that the concept it refers to isn’t real and worthy of discussion. It’s merely shorthand for experiences that many people recognise and talk about – those points where race, gender, sexuality, ability, class and so on come together. And while language is important, most feminists only really use that kind terminology with others who know what it mean.
In obsessing over the use of one word, you not only miss the point (intersectionality could also refer to education), and imply that a vast swathe of people are stupid, but worse still you actively dismiss the views of people of colour and others.
In many respects, intersectionality actually tries to address accessibility, so it’s dishonest to impose a false hierarchy of accessible language first, then maybe followed by dealing with those minor fringe issues of racism, ableism and classism (you know, if we have the time after we’re done having a go at mythical “educated women [who] to want to keep feminism for themselves”).”
Just separately, I was fucking heartened by all the backlash against Caitlin Moran—from all groups of women and headed by feminists of colour. Our friend Lizzie C also sparked it off. So yeah it is shit that famous *F*eminists and *F*eminist orgs wanna pull shit like this, but even if we’re active or not (I’m not), feminism belongs to a whole group of people who have great intersectional analyses, can work with each other and are doing great shit! People who are discovering feminism will likely read *F*eminist stuff and then move on or like have strong critiques of the original *F*eminist stuff or just stick with it, lol. Anyway yeah.
And frankly I am so sick of growing up working class and whiteness being used together to legitimise a feminist’s misogyny and racism against women of colour, especially when some of us did also (grew up working class that is), and when that person is upper-middle class and famous NOW.
Also those two Vagenda people should check out the poverty stats of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Afro-Carribean people in the UK (whom include WOMEN). And there are working class women who go to uni, so what the fuck are they blathering on about? Sure academic language can be really fucking alienating and people should tone it down but to act as if intersectionality is never explained, that women without degrees can never understand it, or that whiteness isn’t alienating to feminists of colour is BULLSHIT.
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