Category: women of color

October 18, 2011 / / black

by Guest Contributor RVC Bard, originally posted at Ars Marginal

What do Martha Jones, Tara Thornton, Guinevere, and Mercedes Jones have in common?

  • If you answered that they are major supporting characters in hit TV shows, give yourself 1 point.
  • If you answered that they are among the few fictional representations of Black women on major network television shows, give yourself 2 points.
  • If you answered that fandom, for some mysterious reason, hates the shit out of them, give yourself 5 points.
  • If you answered that fandom’s hatred of these characters are particularly gendered and racialized along stereotypes about Black women, hand yourself the internet.

The level of hatred spewed at these characters sometimes even manages to spill over onto the actors who portray them. Poor Rutina Wesley can’t do anything right in True Blood fandom. And according to some Merlin fans, Angel Coulby is probably the Antichrist. OK, I exaggerate. But not by much.

Read the Post Fandom and its hatred of Black women characters

October 13, 2011 / / activism

By Sofia Quintero, cross-posted from Black Artemis

Who spiked the Evian? Lately, there’s been a rash of White women using the n-word – including self-professed liberals and progressives. As if that were not bad enough, they act shocked, defensive and even downright nasty when told by women of all races that they should cut that shit out.

First example: a few White women made and carried signs that stated Woman Is the N***** of the World for Slut Walk in New York City on October 1st. (We found out it was two women carrying the same sign.–Ed.)

While some White women including those among Slut Walk NYC’s organizers and participants have stepped up to condemn these actions, there are too many who have come to their defense, ranging from the naively privileged to the unapologetically hostile. I’m talking Facebook posts such as, “It is NOT racist, and anybody who thinks so is a fucking idiot” to a White woman telling an African American woman to go fuck herself. (I’d post links, but in no surprise to me, the posts have conveniently disappeared.)
Read the Post They’re Going to Laugh at You: White Women, Betrayal, and the N-Word

October 11, 2011 / / activism

By Guest Contributor Stephanie Gilmore

Some background on Stephanie’s post: Shit continues to hit the fan regarding the racefail not only from SlutWalk NYC and the now-notorious sign, but also from another SlutWalk–that in Philly. Several anti-racist feminists, both women of color and white (me included), called out Jake Aryeh Marcus, the main organizer/legal counsel/”intersectional partner” of SlutWalk Philly about her defending some of the marches’ racism and using common derailing tactics to do so. Her response in her final post on the thread was to tell me to “go fuck yourself.” (After the call to archive the thread, said organizer removed her comments from it. However, Sydette Harry, the thread’s moderator and author of the original post called “Open Letter to SlutWalk,” assures us she’s got screencaps of her comments.) During this–except for a very few–those white feminists who profess to be anti-racist remained publicly silent even as us women of color kept asking, “Why aren’t the white anti-racist feminists saying something publicly about all of this??”

Jake posted her thoughts about the sign and the continued racialfail at SlutWalk USA, which is not affiliated to the pages of official SlutWalks. 

 “Using the “N” word in this context may or may not be appropriate. There will always be things that make some people uncomfortable. Yes, SW is working on making the inclusive nature of the marches better . . . but, when thousands of people arrive it is “tough” to vet what each person is going to say in advance. “Ultimately, SW will not be something that speaks to EVERYONE. That should be OK; there is enough room for many different approaches to ending rape….Let’s stay focused on the primary goal of SW; ending rape.”

Filmmaker/activist  Aishah Shahidah Simmons, who has spoken at and about SlutWalk, posted her objection to the Jake’s comment. According to people who’ve been on the page, some of the commenters made racist statements in response to Aishah. Crunk Feminist Collective made this clarion call: 

“Calling all anti-racist allies: It has unfortunately come to our attention that the creator of the SlutWalk USA FB page is making racist comments in the discussion that follows its link to Aishah Shahidah Simmons Cultural Worker’s piece about the unfortunate racism at last week’s SlutWalk NYC. While we would be perfectly happy to go get #CRUNK with this clearly misguided individual, this is the time for our anti-racist allies to step up and do some of the labor of teaching this person where and how their thinking is so ridiculously, offensively, and dangerously wrong. We also hope that organizers of various SlutWalks will officially condemn this page. If you have time and energy on your Sunday, your labor of anti-racist love in this matter would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks from the CFs.”

Several white anti-racist feminists responded on SlutWalk USA’s thread. Stephanie, who took part of SlutWalk Philly, went a step further and wrote this response, not only answering the question “where are the white anti-racist feminists?” but also answering Jake, who claimed to be speaking for/with her.

The essay, after the jump–AJP

Read the Post Am I Troy Davis? A Slut?; or, What’s Troubling Me about the Absence of Reflexivity in Movements that Proclaim Solidarity

October 5, 2011 / / activism

Over at Parlour Magazine, I spotted this photo yesterday:

Slutwalk NYC Woman Is the Nigger of the World Sign

Lord. The original reference is from a song written by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and performed mostly by John Lennon. At the time, Lennon and Ono justified their decision openly, using both the “my black friends said it was cool” defense as well as a more substantive critique based on ideas of “niggerization” – that nigger can be redefined to include anyone who is oppressed.

But can you appropriate a term like nigger if your body is not defined/terrorized/policed/brutalized/diminished by the word? Can we use it in a context that is supposed to belie gender solidarity, without explicitly being in racial solidarity?

I think not. And I am not alone. Read the Post Which Women Are What Now? Slutwalk NYC and Failures in Solidarity

September 19, 2011 / / academia
September 14, 2011 / / arab

By Arturo R. García

On Sunday, three passengers at Detroit’s Metropolitan Airport were detained after someone reported “suspicious activity on board.” Not long afterwards, one of those three passengers’ story has gained national attention after blogging about her treatment by Homeland Security officials.

According to The Associated Press, Shoshana Hebshi and two men were detained and questioned after the crew on their Frontier Airlines flight “reported suspicious activity on board.”

Hebshi, an Ohio resident who identifies as half-Jewish and half-Arab, wrote on her blog that she was sitting with two Indian men from Detroit when the flight was first diverted to a different part of the tarmac, then boarded by armed personnel. She and the two men were subsequently “pushed off the plane” and detained. Hebshi wrote that she asked, “What’s going on?” but did not get an answer.
Read the Post A Racial Profiling Victim on 9/11 Shares Her Story

August 31, 2011 / / We're So Post Racial
August 17, 2011 / / activism

By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid


As I said on Twitter, Gloria: In Her Own Words, the new documentary about feminist activist Gloria Steinem running exclusively on HBO this month, is a “precise” work on her life and The Second Feminist Movement (and what I mean by this is the mainstream Second Wave Movement) in the last 60+ years.

Dana Goldstein took the doc to task in The Nation for not addressing race and racism in the movement Steinem helped shape:

Though there are interviews in Gloria about how upper-middle-class, straight feminists came to embrace lesbian rights and economic justice for poor women, there is no explicit discussion of an equally enduring and arguably more fraught issue: the relationship between feminism and struggles for racial equality. The film does feature archival footage showing 1970s white feminists arguing that men’s only bars are the equivalent of Jim Crow lunch counters. Doesn’t that contention cry out for debate, for analysis—for something? We see Steinem appear alongside her 1970s “speaking partners,” the black feminists Flo Kennedy (pictured above–Ed.) and Dorothy Pitman Hughes, but we don’t hear much about how these women (who were so often overshadowed by the more famous Steinem) navigated their dual identies as women of color within the feminist movement.

Steinem notes that her own brand of feminism was more radical than that of her elders, women like Betty Friedan, who were concerned mostly with the plight of white, college-educated housewives. Yet there are no interviews with either Steinem or other movement veterans that reflect explicitly on the relationship between feminism and civil rights. We hear about how Steinem’s sexy good looks helped propel her to prominence, but not about how her whiteness helped make feminism seem less threatening. We also learn nothing about the sophisticated set of critiques women-of-color, such as Angela Davis and bell hooks, have long made regarding mainstream feminism: that its focus on abortion detracted from their own struggle for maternal rights and that the assumption that women represent a united interest group often downplayed the struggles of non-white women in overcoming racism.

Read the Post This Isn’t That Documentary: Gloria: In Her Own Words