Tuesday, August 13, 2013


What: #solidarityisforwhitewomen is a trending hashtag on Twitter where people of color are pointing out how whitewashed mainstream feminism is and how the experiences of people of color are being ignored, silenced or cast aside by people who identify as allies.

Why: This hashtag was created by Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia on Twitter) during a debate with Hugo Schwyzer, a self-proclaimed feminist who harasses and stalks women of color who criticize him (among other things). This man has been interviewed on feministe.com and has written for The Atlantic, Jezebel and Salon. He confessed to his disgusting behavior (being a fraud, harassing women of color online, sexually harassing his students, etc.) on Twitter on Friday August 9th. And some people had nothing but sympathy for him. Mikki Kendall didn’t pull any punches: “All this concern for @hugoschwyzer's mental health & future prospects, & none for the WOC he attacked online or his students? Wow.”

Ok, so why is this so important?

Allies must be held accountable. Being a feminist does not give one a pass to be racist (or transphobic, homophobic, ageist, ableist, etc.). Mainstream feminism has always been dominated by white cis middle/upper-class voices, leaving the rest of us in the shadows. And whenever someone tries to call out our so-called “allies,” they are chastised and accused of being divisive or being mean. White feminists can say the word “intersectionality,” but many of them seem to have a hard time applying this theory in the real world. I have come across so many white liberal feminists who say they are my allies, who say they understand, but then they argue with me over my real life experiences or the real life experiences of other marginalized groups. They suddenly want to play devil’s advocate and hypothesize.

No. Stop it. This might be a fascinating thought experiment for you, but this is my life. These issues have real (sometimes, life or death) consequences for me and I don’t feel like debating with you whether or not my feelings/views are valid. If I, as a person of color, tell you something offends me, I don’t want to have to prove to you, white feminist, that I have a right to be offended. You wonder where all the people of color are, why some women of color reject feminism. We have been here this entire time and we have been watching you. You have been so tied up in theory and in issues that mainly benefit you that you have been unable (unwilling?) to see us, but we have always been here, right in front of you.

White feminists: Think twice before you respond to this hashtag, whether it’s to agree or disagree. We don’t need you to talk. You have been talking all this time. We need you to finally listen. Stop in your tracks. Be quiet. And listen. Oh, don’t forget to acknowledge and check your privilege.

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