I was contacted by a feminist organization because they are in the midst of a protest against the sexist ads on display by Virgin Radio. After examining the ads myself and determining them to be sexist I wrote a post and encouraged people to sign the online petition. I felt great about being able to do this, after all part of feminism is standing up to sexist attacks that all women face.
My positive feelings were short lived when I read the following comment by the woman who had reached out to me raise awareness:
Let me just say, if these ads were racist they would (a) not be accepted, and (b) would never be posted. Notice the lack of women of colour in the ads. Clearly Virgin considered that adding women of colour would cross a racist line. Either that or they don't consider people of colour to make up their desired audience. For some reason in our society racism is not tolerated but sexism is. Why?
Yep, time and time again this happens in feminist circles. White women reach out to women of colour for help based in the idea that we are all women and suffer from sexism only to invoke their racial privilege in the very next breathe. I feel absolutely insulted and used.
Gee why is it again that WOC routinely refuse to own the feminist label despite the fact that sexism is clearly an issue in our life? Remind me again of how inclusive feminism is? Tell me one more time that feminism is dedicated to ending racism?
I am absolutely sick of this shit. There isn’t a single woman of colour that actually engages in feminist circles that will not tell you about the racism and exclusion that we have faced.
I even have to tolerate these so-called allies invading my space telling me that I don’t have the right to get upset. They loudly declare that something isn’t racist because of course they as the “rational” thinkers, would be in the best position to know. I only face the world daily as a WOC; how could I possibly be trusted to decide if something is or is not racist? I find it ironic that those that have not faced racism, seem to think that they are the best judge as whether or not something is racist or not
Dear white women, seriously get a clue. More often than not your fight against sexism is about assuring that you have the same right to oppress as white males. The whole “we’re all sisters” line is just a convenient ploy that is used to enlist the help of WOC. Enough! Until feminism can clean up its act, it will continue to alienate women of colour.