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White Supremacy, Feminism and Off Our Backs

October 14, 2009

It has been an eye-opening experience to watch the events unfold when one Black feminist blogger and writer speaks up about racism in the predominantly white radical feminist community. Jennifer writes passionately, eloquently and with great insight on her blog Celie’s Revenge about issues that affect ALL women. Her blog is inspiring and incredibly brave. She is one woman who truly represents the ideals of sisterhood and liberation.

And yet, when she dares to open her mouth to stand opposed to the racism inherent within the treatment she received at the hands of white feminists… all hell breaks loose. What has shocked me about this whole event is the fact that it has exposed that racism is not present within a small pocket of feminists in the Off Our Backs collective… It has spread like wildfire, with more and more white feminists lining up to tell Jennifer that she is a crazy, angry, racist against white people and, worst of all, a bitch!!! All this just because she insisted that she should be treated as human as a white woman.

This is totally unacceptable. No woman who thinks that this is an appropriate way to treat another woman should think that she has the right to call herself a feminist. What has struck me most about this is the fact that the white ‘feminists’ have responded to Jennifer’s truth-telling is exactly the same as the way that men react to women who tell them the truth. With defensiveness, anger, justification, intimidation, name-calling etc, etc. Really, really shocking.

All illusions that women are better at working through issues like racism better than men have been very definitely shattered for me as I watch white ‘feminists’ trying to tear strips off Jennifer. Trying to paint her as mad and delusional. A few clues women. Black women have the right to be angry about racism. Black women have the right to be angry at white women who demonstrate racism, either politically or personally. Black women need to be supported in their truth-telling. Even when that truth hurts us. Even when that truth is directed at us. We have no credibility as feminists if we don’t.

Please take the time to read Jennifer’s story and support the incredibly important work that she is doing for ALL women. There is no sisterhood, no feminism, no herstory without Black women, there is no point in a struggle which excludes the voices and the truths of women of colour. The white women from the Off Our Backs collective have some serious explaining to do.

10 comments

  1. Well said Dani!

    I too have been very disturbed and shocked by white feminist’s response to Jen speaking up. It is upsetting to see white feminists treat a black feminist exactly the same as men so often treat us when we speak up about sexism.

    It is a shame when Jen went to such lengths to carefully explain in great detail how she experienced racism in the collective, along with her powerful analysis of racism.

    The reversals, anger and defensiveness of white women have powerfully illustrated to me how strong racism is in those who should know better. Poor Jen.


  2. I agree with you completely Allecto – I think that Black Women have a right to be angry about racism and should not have to educate white women around how to behave. As a white feminist, I have responsibility to educate myself around how not to be racist, to listen to the experiences of Black Women and not to get defensive if I get called out on my racism – which I may sometimes perpetuate to some extent.

    As a collective oob, as well as all feminist collectives (especially where the majority of women are white) do need to take responsibility for ensuring that racism and ablism are not perpetuated between women – in fact it should really be an ongoing responsibility.


  3. What has upset me more is the fact that Nikki Craft has inserted herself into this. She has been moonlighting on facebook as a woc “luna miranda” to abuse a black woman because allegedly 3 years ago there was a falling out. So because you two have a disagreement and part ways, you get to come back in a hispanic name and post disgusting shit about someone? That’s her feminism? I used to respect her deeply… not so much now.


  4. They had Jennifer’s main fb account disabled and now the Celies Revenge account. Meanwhile, they hide behind fake profiles. It really seems like every white woman who ever had a disagreement with or was called on their shit by Jennifer have now banded together to attack her. It is sickening. I still believe in radical feminism, but I’m not so sure about radical feminists any more.


  5. I generally post under my own name, but for a little bit of a change i posted under a pen name as Divine Purpose does. I chose Luna because of the moon and Miranda was a screen name i had used before, threw them together and thought it had a nice sound to it. That’s all. Call it ignorance or being too rushed and busy to be thinking on that level but I did not connect it to being a Latina name. In hindsight i can somewhat understand that someone might think i was trying to pass as a Latina woman however anyone who knows me would also know that if I was really trying to pass you wouldn’t know it was me.

    I didn’t apologize because I’m not sorry. I only apologize for things when I’m sorry. The moon was bombed recently and I have been ranting for weeks about it. The moon was on my mind. Miranda is the name of the main actress on Sex and the City, one of the most important legal warning to protect rights (Miranda Warning) and the name of an international appliance company for cripes sake. It did not cross my mind to think I needed to be a woc to distribute that material. Furthermore I didn’t apologize because I don’t regret anything I’ve done.

    P.S. It’s so damn funny that Anon says “they hide behind fake profiles.”


  6. Nikki I agree with anon, and I can hear what you mean about the Luna thing. I don’t know you… so I don’t know that about you (meaning the we wouldn’t know bit)

    Anon has a right to not reveal herself… I support that, who knows what attack might be launched against her for speaking out?


  7. I totally agree that anyone on word press has the ability to post anonymously. i could have posted anything anonymously. I’m just saying it’s very funny to see someone posting as anonymous while talking about people who “hide behind fake profiles”.

    When someone is posting under anonymous it’s of particular importance tho to state information accurately. I’ll have to look it up, but if I’m not mistaken I read where Jennifer closed down her own facebook account. Anon claims that someone had her account disabled. And I don’t understand how Anon can make such a claim. Did Jennifer say someone got her account canceled? If she didn’t directly say this to Anon that information is in error.

    So ald are you saying you understand what i mean about the use of Luna? That it was not moonlighting as a latina woman. If so maybe we can cross that off as one small point of agreement then. Is that possible? I hope so because I sincerely meant nothing of what I have been accused of.


  8. From: “Jennifer McLune”
    To: kjd100@gmail.com, womanrebel@aol.com
    Cc: talula0514@yahoo.com, dianasalles@yahoo.com,
    orangebegum@riseup.net, sclevelandm@aol.com, lnewland@gmail.com,
    zainabakbar@riseup.net, jannaking@riseup.net,
    cherokee_brat@hotmail.com, idespisehooters@hotmail.com,
    yappie@nostatusquo.com
    Subject: Re: Sheila Jeffreys
    Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2006 15:30:00 +0000

    NIKKI CRAFT sent everyone a post entitled “WHERE ARE THESE RACIST E-MAILS SHEILA JEFFREYS ALLEGEDLY WROTE?” In spite of our so-called friendship she’s already positioning me as a liar or a crazy person who has some desire to bring down her and JEFFREY’S on bogus claims of racism.

    So, A few DISCLAIMERS: I DO NOT HAVE THE SMOKING GUN! I repeat: I DO NOT HAVE THE SMOKING GUN. I do not have the e-mail SHEILA JEFFREYS wrote to the CATWA List advocating for the women of color trouble makers to be removed. I was sent the entire thread over three years ago via snail mail and I did not keep it. So I do not have the smoking gun “proving” that SHEILA JEFFREYS is a racist. Does that mean I’m lying? Or hit my head somewhere blanked out and imagined all this? Does this mean that even if it is true without that e-mail Sheila gets a pass?


  9. […] a little cold until racial and class issues among women are confronted and addressed, and link to these two sites, as well as this one: The struggle for woman suffrage lasted almost a century, beginning […]


  10. And, actually, yes the US citizenry have upset me; I recently argued we should adopt citizen initiated referenda in Australia (if we were to become a Republic) something that has served New Zealand, British Columbia (Canada), Uruguay (recreating sovereign wealth funds and refusing to privatise industry) and Switzerland (to build roads, schools etc) well only to hear the counterargument well become like California (ironically, the deficits these initatives have caused may be saving these states, but thats another story and other states have CIR but did not capped their property taxes, so its cultural). Alas, Americans destroy everything.



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