Where Are the White Women? A Response to Halloween, Blackface, and Missed Opportunities
It is always important to make sure that white folks are not taking up space in a racial justice movement whose very problem is derived from our privilege and racism: it is important to stand in solidarity and support. This is particularly true of white feminists, whose own fights for justice are steeped in a history of segregation and intersectionality. But where is that solidarity with communities of color who perpetually suffer from injustice? Where were white women during one of the more recently publicized incidences of racism: the preponderance of blackface on Halloween?
Halloween conjures up a plethora of imagery: children walking down the street costumed and candied, ghouls and goblins running amuck in haunted houses…and blackface. I have come to dread going out on Halloween not just …
I will never forget the noise that my mother made when she first saw it. We were navigating the streets of New York on a busy Saturday in 2011, running late for a hair appointment. She was walking so briskly that I struggled to keep up. But then she stopped dead in her tracks and made a sound of absolute disgust. I looked around, trying to figure what would make my mother risk being late for an appointment. Then I saw the massive billboard with a black child and the words “The Most Dangerous Place for an African American is in the Womb.” At the time I didn’t understand the message: I could think of hundreds of places that I felt unsafe as a black child. To me, volcanoes, tigers, …
When the Controversial Decision to Only Cast Women Of Color Makes Sense
Last week, Barnard College/Columbia University’s V-Day organization announced that this year’s production of Eve Ensler’s play The Vagina Monologues will feature a cast entirely composed of self-identified women of color. It has mostly been regarded as a bad decision that excludes a large number of survivors of sexual assault who do not identify as people of color. I overheard one student on our campus ask, “What the hell does race have to do with rape?”
But I’m a white woman and a survivor of sexual assault, and I fully support V-Day’s decision.
Because our lives as women are irrevocably tangled in race, class, gender and sexual identity, discussing any feminist issue is necessarily tangled in them as well. One of the greatest shifts in the feminist movement recently has been
CBS “The Talk” host Julie Chen revealed on Thursday that as a young journalist, she was pressured by racist comments from a boss to undergo surgical procedures to enlarge her eyes.
“He said, ‘Let’s face it Julie, how relatable are you to our community?” she recalled. “How big of an Asian community do we have in Dayton? On top of that, because of your Asian eyes, I’ve noticed that when you’re on camera, you look disinterested and bored.’”
Julie, I admire your tenacity and willingness to do whatever it takes to realize your dream. Thank you for your success, thank you for being an Asian-American role model for girls who look up to you, and thank you for being frank enough to discuss your surgical procedure.
Seth McFarlane has been repeatedlycalled an ”edgy” choice for an Oscars host. The Onion brands itself as a daring, controversial form of satire, steadfastly refusing ‘to knuckle under to pressure from the community.’ Unfortunately, there is nothing edgy, nothing daring, and nothing unique about an hours-long fest of sexist, racist, and objectifying “jokes,” comments, songs, and tweets.
As charming and incredibly talented 9-year-old actress Quvenzhané Wallis was at the Oscars celebrating being the youngest person ever nominated for Best Actress (and only the tenth black actress ever nominated), the Onion, a satirical newspaper, put out the following tweet:
Reducing the incredible achievements of a young girl of color down to a highly gendered insult isn’t edgy or daring. It’s reinforcing sexism, and that’s the opposite of risky humor. …