A little bit more on ‘White’ Feminism

(203 Posts)
ATieLikeRichardGere Mon 03-May-21 21:54:32

Hope we can continue what has been overall an interesting discussion.

I suggest it would be good if we could think more about the UK, because it has been under discussed so far.

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Novelusername Mon 03-May-21 21:59:58

I'm glad you started a new thread! For all the disagreement, it's been really interesting and never descended into a complete brawl. I too would be interested in more UK focussed discussion.

ATieLikeRichardGere Mon 03-May-21 22:00:49

As I have just been reading some statistics on race in the UK, I read the following which I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know and I thought was interesting:

“The British government recognises the Scottish, Welsh, Irish and Cornish peoples as national minorities under the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, which the UK signed in 1995 and ratified in 1998.”

Perhaps everyone except me knows this but I’m just amazed I’ve never come across it.

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Novelusername Mon 03-May-21 22:09:04

I know this from a conversation I had a few years ago. I did a heritage DNA test and Celts apparently have different common DNA sequences, so this different ethnicity is something born out by DNA. I know those tests are not 100% reliable or an exacting science, of course.

ATieLikeRichardGere Mon 03-May-21 22:15:45

Yes I mean I think it’s true that by dna you can be fairly specific about different local communities in Britain, and you can also make links to some ancient dna samples. Of course the same is true everywhere else.

But like race, I don’t think the legal definition of ethnicity has anything to do with dna, nor could it, or should it. It has to do with an identification that people share in common, via culture etc.

It’s just interesting to me because I would be amongst this officially recognised “minority” but I would never have actually considered myself to be part of a minority in that way.

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PlanDeRaccordement Mon 03-May-21 22:27:56

Well yes they are minority ethnicities. I did actually know that because I met fluent welsh and scotch Gaelic speakers...at that point it was clear to me different ethnicity because completely different language.

We have similar in China. Many minority ethnicities although to outside world, all are just “Chinese”....and then in U.K. Chinese gets lumped even more under “Asian”! Which is ridiculous as Russians and Indians are Asian too.

But about white feminism, one thing that bothers me is that much of the discussion about it devolves to a binary of white vs black. Which leaves out everyone else. In addition, this spreads to discussion about “whiteness”. I really do not understand when people talk about “whiteness” and how, say for example, the Irish were considered not white, or black when in history many places in U.K. had signs saying “no blacks or Irish”. ?? It seems ridiculous to try and put racism into a binary like that where various ethnicities are “White” if discrimination against them goes down but then are called “black” if discrimination against them goes up. Racism is not limited to white on black, and I think it’s just wrong to call a white ethnicity “black” no matter how discriminated against because that conflates the racism they experience with the racism that black people experience.

Again too, that binary never really explains where those of us who are neither black nor white fit in? It’s like we don’t exist.

Novelusername Mon 03-May-21 22:32:49

It's strange that the recognition as a minority has only come after being from such a 'minority' was a significant disadvantage eg. the Welsh being forced to speak English in school in the past. You know, I wanted to give a more specific date just then, but I couldn't as I'm not sure when the change occurred so that the Welsh language went from being something forbidden to something to be preserved and protected. It is quite shocking how little we learn about our own country, really.

VladmirsPoutine Mon 03-May-21 22:35:06

Is this the new thread from the other 'White feminism' thread? Was about to post on that one but it was finito

ATieLikeRichardGere Mon 03-May-21 22:35:54

@PlanDeRaccordement

I think you are making very good points.

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ATieLikeRichardGere Mon 03-May-21 22:39:04

@VladmirsPoutine yes! Glad you are back!

@Novelusername yes I also don’t know the date, or very many specifics about that, which I agree is quite shocking.

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Novelusername Mon 03-May-21 22:43:37

I did a quick Google:

The Aberystwyth Welsh School (Ysgol Gymraeg Aberystwyth) was founded in 1939 by Sir Ifan ap Owen Edwards, the son of O.M. Edwards, as the first Welsh Primary School.[74] The headteacher was Norah Isaac. Ysgol Gymraeg Aberystwyth is still a very successful school, and now there are Welsh-language primary schools all over the country. Ysgol Glan Clwyd was established in Rhyl in 1956 as the first Welsh-medium secondary school.[75]

Welsh is now widely used in education, with 101,345 children and young people in Wales receiving their education in Welsh medium schools in 2014/15, 65,460 in primary and 35,885 in secondary.[76] 26 per cent of all schools in Wales are defined as Welsh medium schools, with a further 7.3 per cent offering some Welsh-medium instruction to pupils.[77] 22 per cent of pupils are in schools in which Welsh is the primary language of instruction. Under the National Curriculum, it is compulsory that all students study Welsh up to the age of 16 as either a first or a second language.

VladmirsPoutine Mon 03-May-21 22:47:58

Out of interest is anyone on this thread who has Irish, Scottish or Welsh ancestry feel as though they get looked over and lumped in as just 'The Brits' when people are airing their grievances over the English. Because one thing I have noticed is that it seems perfectly fine for Scots, Irish and Welsh to be proud of their heritage but when an English person expresses such a sentiment along come the accusations of racism. That said - Scotland has done well in rebranding!

VladmirsPoutine Mon 03-May-21 22:51:45

But no - I think it would be better to focus more on the UK side of things as opposed to using America as a cornerstone which I did in the previous thread. I think I do because I feel over there these discussions are a lot more open and aired whereas here it's a lot more "well we aren't the US, and we played a massive hand in ending slavery, so be grateful negro." Which I think gives the UK an undeserved 'get out of jail' free card.

There was an excellent woman who came to speak at the ACS when I was at Uni and she said if anyone ever asks you "Why are you here" always respond "Because you were there". It really stayed in me - despite being quite a layabout at Uni.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Mon 03-May-21 22:55:48

In the US there's quite a bit of 'Abraham Lincoln ended slavery' too which ignores the rebellions, advocacy and writing of enslaved and formerly enslaved people.

SmokedDuck Mon 03-May-21 22:58:19

This is what people are talking about when they say that the current approach to antiracism is a kind of neomarxism.

Marxism looked at class hierarchies, and sorted people into oppressed and oppressor classes.

We often accept that almost automatically, but that's because we've been so influenced by that way of thinking. It could also be possible that you could have different classes that were equal, for example legally or economically, even though they had different social roles.

Anyway, in this more modern neomarxism (not a great name but there isn't a good one) they take that idea that you have groups but instead of class, it is these identity distinctions. Mostly things like race or gender that are socially constructed, though it can also be done with things like sex, which aren't. And the assumption is that the relationship between these groups is always hierarchical and it's all based on which group is oppressed by some other group.

When a group ceases to be either oppressed or oppress others, it ceases to be distinct.

ATieLikeRichardGere Mon 03-May-21 23:03:13

I have heard “Why are you here? Because you were there” before as well and I think it’s excellent.

Yeah, I agree, that when we try to differentiate the UK and US the purpose should not be to give the UK a pat on the back.

I’ve heard the idea expressed before that what happened in the British Isles - in Ireland, the Highland Clearances etc. - acted somewhat as a model for the sort of tyranny that Britain then exported to other parts of the world. I’m sure that’s arguable and a massive oversimplification but it’s an interesting idea. And we do seem to have some - obviously non accidental - amnesia about it all. Actually I suspect not infrequently an American might be able to tell you more about some of these events - especially where their own ancestors’ migration may have been linked to them - than a British person. I will give Americans that.

Agree also that Scotland has done a very intriguing job at rebranding and somehow relinquishing all responsibility when it comes to slavery and Empire, when clearly there has been lots of active participation in that.

As a British person abroad, I think all Scots and others know that we will get a much, much better response saying we are Scottish, not British.

My DF, who is not British, used to enjoy pretending to be whilst abroad, in order to give the British a bad name, which he found hilarious. Once this involved strategically humming Rule Britannia.

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ATieLikeRichardGere Mon 03-May-21 23:08:12

As an addendum to that, DF comes from one of many countries that the British have variously occupied (parts of) but also failed to defend.

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SuperLoudPoppingAction Mon 03-May-21 23:08:40

I'm in Scotland and a book called 'no problem here' is quite good around racism in Scotland.
Our social attitude survey results are fairly similar to that of England.

The lack of proper investigation into Sheku Bayoh's death has been pretty compelling in terms of making a case for structural racism.

PlanDeRaccordement Mon 03-May-21 23:09:46

There was an excellent woman who came to speak at the ACS when I was at Uni and she said if anyone ever asks you "Why are you here" always respond "Because you were there". It really stayed in me - despite being quite a layabout at Uni.

I don’t think that’s an accurate response. After all black Africans got to Britain with the Roman legions over a thousand years before first British got to Africa. And as for we Chinese, our Mongol hordes attacked, invaded and took over Russia and much of Eastern Europe...also centuries before the first European ever showed up in China.

SmokedDuck Mon 03-May-21 23:10:49

I’ve heard the idea expressed before that what happened in the British Isles - in Ireland, the Highland Clearances etc. - acted somewhat as a model for the sort of tyranny that Britain then exported to other parts of the world.

I don't know what this really means, though.

I mean, sure, in a way. The first governor of the city in North America that I was born in, was chosen because it was thought that he would do a good job clearing up the local native problem. That was based on his efficiency in dealing with the Irish problem in a previous position.

But that was pretty basic, lets kill the guys we want rid of when they are a pain, and use the force of the law against them, and generally be nasty and make their lives difficult. I'm just not sure how that is qualitatively different than any other groups who are violent, it's pretty bog standard across the globe. It's not some unique model or method.

PlanDeRaccordement Mon 03-May-21 23:16:58

what happened in the British Isles - in Ireland, the Highland Clearances etc. - acted somewhat as a model for the sort of tyranny that Britain then exported to other parts of the world.

It’s a model that is repeated over and over in history, so it’s not like it was an invention of the British.

VladmirsPoutine Mon 03-May-21 23:20:19

I wonder how some countries get away with a total rebrand yet others are still carrying it. Japan for a start, Scotland another. They aren't innocent at all if we are to revisit the history books but alas.

MissBarbary Mon 03-May-21 23:20:41

ATieLikeRichardGere

I have heard “Why are you here? Because you were there” before as well and I think it’s excellent.

Yeah, I agree, that when we try to differentiate the UK and US the purpose should not be to give the UK a pat on the back.

I’ve heard the idea expressed before that what happened in the British Isles - in Ireland, the Highland Clearances etc. - acted somewhat as a model for the sort of tyranny that Britain then exported to other parts of the world. I’m sure that’s arguable and a massive oversimplification but it’s an interesting idea. And we do seem to have some - obviously non accidental - amnesia about it all. Actually I suspect not infrequently an American might be able to tell you more about some of these events - especially where their own ancestors’ migration may have been linked to them - than a British person. I will give Americans that.

Agree also that Scotland has done a very intriguing job at rebranding and somehow relinquishing all responsibility when it comes to slavery and Empire, when clearly there has been lots of active participation in that.

As a British person abroad, I think all Scots and others know that we will get a much, much better response saying we are Scottish, not British.

My DF, who is not British, used to enjoy pretending to be whilst abroad, in order to give the British a bad name, which he found hilarious. Once this involved strategically humming Rule Britannia.

I say I'm British- partly because I detest the smugness of the "oh I'm Scottish, not British" brigade.

Your husband sounds a like a prat.

MissBarbary Mon 03-May-21 23:21:46

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

PlanDeRaccordement Mon 03-May-21 23:23:03

The same with oppression of women, can’t point at one bad ethnicity and say...YOU, you set the model for subjugating women. Pretty much every human society went down that path of their own accord. The only difference is that while every ethnicity has been on both giving and receiving end of racism and oppression, when it comes to sex based oppression it is almost universally women who are oppressed, not men.

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