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Can white women be allies to BME women?

(589 Posts)
missyoumuch Thu 02-Jul-20 03:18:26

It feels like while women want black women to prioritize their sex over their race as an identity and seem incapable of accepting that BME women have multiple identities. And they often do not behave as allies insisting that their experiences of sexism mean that they can’t be racist (untrue) or that because women are 50% of the population then women’s issues should supersede ethnic minority issues.

www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/politics/a22717725/what-is-toxic-white-feminism/

www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/jun/19/women-deliver-launches-investigation-into-internal-racism-allegations?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

www.cnbc.com/2020/06/19/oped-its-time-for-white-female-executives-to-help-black-women-at-work.html

OP’s posts: |
bettybeans Thu 02-Jul-20 03:33:42

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

missyoumuch Thu 02-Jul-20 03:43:31

Look at my posting history.

I’m very much a woman. A black woman. And I’m angry at how white women are behaving.

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DancelikeEmmaGoldman Thu 02-Jul-20 04:15:19

It’s a good thing all white women are essentially the same woman and think exactly the same things, otherwise your post would make no sense at all.

missyoumuch Thu 02-Jul-20 04:16:20

Two responses, both dismissive. Colour me surprised (not).

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madwoman1ntheattic Thu 02-Jul-20 04:32:31

how are ‘white women behaving’ miss?
I’ve only seen ‘white women’ campaigning to raise the profile of black female murders (at the hands of black males or white police) in an attempt to highlight and name male violence, and to shift the focus from black male victims of systemic racism. The same as ‘black women’ are ‘behaving’ in fact.
But you have seen different things. Share.

CloudsCoveredTheSky Thu 02-Jul-20 04:41:31

You literally can't talk about race on here without getting told you're being unreasonable. People are very educated about some aspects of feminism (but sometimes too focused on crap like "I don't want my baby wearing pink" and not actual issues like poverty/disability/rights) but fucking abysmal on race.

It's disappointing.

VashtaNerada Thu 02-Jul-20 04:45:00

I think if feminists can’t accept white privilege exists in the same way male privilege does, then they are living very blinkered lives. Of course not all white women in the same way we know it’s not all men that are the problem, but there are certainly problems with patterns of behaviour associated with being white. OP YANBU.

missyoumuch Thu 02-Jul-20 04:45:41

@madwoman1ntheattic did you read the articles I linked? Particularly the first one on toxic white feminism?

I posted three articles which support my view. Maybe take a look.

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CloudsCoveredTheSky Thu 02-Jul-20 04:57:27

"I think if feminists can’t accept white privilege exists in the same way male privilege does"

Most will accept it on paper but when it comes to examining their own behaviour, they can't deal with it.

Look on any thread where a BAME woman says she faced discrimination based on her race and you'll see the vast majority denying it had anything to do with race.

madwoman1ntheattic Thu 02-Jul-20 05:05:16

Yes I did. I’m curious what you have noted personally though - I don’t recognize the views espoused, but we have obviously seen very different things. We may be involved with different types of women. So I was asking about your personal experience as the articles resonated with you. I have seen women of all shades trying to raise the profiles of female murder victims. The media itself is complicit in the rendering of black female voices as secondary to males. I don’t see it necessarily as a white female issue - that smacks a bit of the dismissal of even more female voices.

yinnybun Thu 02-Jul-20 05:11:12

Those articles are quite American focused. I recognise white privilege but I think many women of all colours in high ranking roles in the UK are under the microscope much more than men. Look at T May & Boris.

yinnybun Thu 02-Jul-20 05:13:12

* And I’m angry at how white women are behaving.*

How would you like white women to behave?

onemoreuser Thu 02-Jul-20 05:13:15

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missyoumuch Thu 02-Jul-20 05:20:33

@madwoman1ntheattic my personal experience is that in university and the workplace, the womens/feminist networks are very white oriented, and the BAME networks are very male oriented.

In some cases it is easier to go along with women’s networks and feminist politics as their “whiteness” helps them be seen as less radical within the workplace.

How many of the white women who get selected for corporate boards use their positions to create opportunities for BAME women? So many times they choose white female protégés and pat themselves on the back doe breaking the glass ceiling. They don’t look for BAME young women to support. And when those women speak up after experiencing racism they are often gaslighted and ignored.

On MN there are hundreds of posts about what many in society consider niche issues (eg trans rights) but race and ethnicity topics are rarely taken seriously. And posters who talk about racism are attacked frequently here. Yet it’s a safe space to talk about feminism when race is excluded from the conversation.

It feels like many white feminists refuse to accept that they benefit from any privilege in society due to their race. While wanting men to accept that they benefit from male privilege and are vocal and active in shouting it from the rooftops. And they don’t use their privilege to help non-white women.

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missyoumuch Thu 02-Jul-20 05:22:09

yinnybun

* And I’m angry at how white women are behaving.*

How would you like white women to behave?

They should recognize the issues that additionally keep BAME women back in society are real and not see them as a challenge or competition to feminism when raised.

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DancelikeEmmaGoldman Thu 02-Jul-20 05:23:50

I don’t think “white privilege” is an abhorrent concept.

A white man would not experienced this difficulty, for example. www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/actor-and-aboriginal-elder-uncle-jack-charles-refused-taxi-in-melbourne-again-20160413-go5lrb.html

Pretending systemic racism doesn’t exist is about as useful as pretending water isn’t wet.

yinnybun Thu 02-Jul-20 05:25:11

I also think it's not helpful to lump
all white women together. A white English born mc women who went to private school &/or uni will have a much higher chance of being on a corporate board then a Romanian born immigrant.

missyoumuch Thu 02-Jul-20 05:26:47

@yinnybun oh, you mean #notallmen?

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CloudsCoveredTheSky Thu 02-Jul-20 05:27:40

" A white English born mc women who went to private school &/or uni will have a much higher chance of being on a corporate board then a Romanian born immigrant."

The fuck does that have to do with it?

yinnybun Thu 02-Jul-20 05:30:02

It was in response to this point

* How many of the white women who get selected for corporate boards use their positions to create opportunities for BAME women? So many times they choose white female protégés and pat themselves on the back doe breaking the glass ceiling. They don’t look for BAME young women to support. And when those women speak up after experiencing racism they are often gaslighted and ignored.*

How do white women not in these positions change things?

CloudsCoveredTheSky Thu 02-Jul-20 05:37:10

@yinnybun but that has nothing to do with BAME women.

Nice derailing though

missyoumuch Thu 02-Jul-20 05:40:29

How do white women not in these positions change things?

As a start by accepting that racism compounds disadvantages for BAME women, taking their concerns seriously, and in moments when BAME people’s issues are getting public attention not diverting the topic or minimizing.

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madwoman1ntheattic Thu 02-Jul-20 05:41:05

Yes, racism is absolutely systemic across the board, as is sexism. As a white female manager I have (interviewed and hired) a team of seven female staff, none of whom are white British and three are recent immigrants. And no, I don’t run a cleaning or carer service - we are all office administrators in education. I’m on a contract - I will be back at the same job they do in a couple of months.
I just can’t help wondering who benefits by pitting women against each other. Your examples are undoubtedly true, but I’m not sure they are perpetrated by white ‘feminists’. If you divide women, we are inherently weaker as a class, whatever our colour. That doesn’t mean I don’t recognize racism, but it does make me more concerned about our dilution as a political class, particularly given the prominence of black men headlined in the media and the absence of black women. I see a lot of information being shared about murdered black women, and much anger about MMIW in Canada.
Maybe you are asking for personal experiences of racism in the UK to be heard? I hear your anger about threads on here where personal experiences have been discounted - on FWR or on the wider boards? It isn’t something I have noticed on FWR but if this happening on the feminism boards here you are right to be angry. And I apologize for not having recognized it. Can you give an example?

yinnybun Thu 02-Jul-20 05:41:27

How is that a derail? I'm not white & my parents are immigrants (lots of things I don't understand about the English culture) & I will never be on a corporate board or have the opportunity. I'm asking the question because I don't know what actual change should look like.

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