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.