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metocin wrote (edited )

I feel there is some nuance and explanation lacking here. I understand the need to address white feminists, but what is being said here that hasn't been said before? Besides all the ranting the point is that white women can't talk about intersectionality? Like not even utter the word, lest they be 'stealing' the work of black women?

I find it difficult to interpret and internally respond to articles like this as a white man. I find it hard to be critical of pieces like this while still being aware of my own biases and privilege and how it affects my line of thought.

Personally I don't like the overall tone of this article, it feels counterproductive. Not to say that confronting white feminism isn't necessary but strawmanning and claiming a word (that describes a huge amount of theory, writing and activism) as a cultural product beyond appropriation doesn't seem like it is going to win over many white feminists.

In my experience, the white feminists who talk about intersectionality are the ones who are actually reading Crenshaw, bell hooks, Angela Davis, etc. They're the ones who are already listening to black women. So why is this author targeting this demographic over the more ignorant segments of white feminism?

I wonder if this author has thought of the implications of their demand. What if white women stop saying 'intersectionality' just to please this one writer? How will that affect the way they are able to communicate their ideas? What is the precedent being set then? That certain racialized groups can claim ownership over a theoretical term? What would this author say if Crenshaw herself asked this writer to stop using the term she invented?

I just have so many questions about pieces like this. I'd love for someone else to let me know if I've misinterpreted this or could help me understand this point of view better.


existential1 wrote

Painting all people who share a heritable trait with a broad stroke will always lack nuance to reflect reality. Some people on the left use such broad strokes just as wildly as those they attempt to antagonize.

WYVM tends to have a few gem articles that address nuance but most tend to have these broad strokes. I'd argue that articles on the site often cross the line into outright bigotry. In the US, we like to say "Black people can't be racist because racism implies the power to systemically enforce or act on your bigotry." That's very true. But you can still be BIPOC and a bigot. That's what anti-Blackness in non-Black BIPOC communities is, bigotry. My grandfather (who would've called himself a negro given the times) was a bigot towards Mexicans in particular. Thought they were lazy, etc etc etc. If he were White, we'd call him a racist. But he isn't White.

When some ethnic or racial minority claims any form of "All [insert ethnic/racial group] is [insert claim]," it's a bigoted statement. That isn't to say it isn't understandable how someone would come to make such claims. When Maya Angelou wrote "I know why the caged bird sings," she made possibly the highest form of analogy we've seen of how hurt people find reasons to live. This is the positive side of the coin. The negative or darker side of the coin would be something like, "I know why the abused dog bites the hand of the new owner who is trying to feed and love them." This article chooses to engage in the latter form of poetry while acting like it's the former. That's the dissonance you feel when reading it.

I'd just end with, not all "critical" writers are equally talented. Hopefully this article is just one of many for the author on their path to a better form of analysis.


metocin wrote

Very insightful and I agree. It's a shame that many "critical" writers and activists end up with rhetoric that sounds like that of those they oppose.

It's just very hard to justify my position in my head with stuff like this because with the tone of the article, I often feel that a writer such as this would not even want a constructive conversation with a white man. So when I'm trying to analyze it on my own I'm constantly thinking that my identity prevents me from forming a critical opinion that isn't racist.

It's good to know that others take issues with pieces like this though. Thanks for the reply.


existential1 wrote

Thanks for the compliment, and you're probably right about you not being able to have a functional conversation with the author as they present themselves in the article. Maybe they're different in person, who's to say? But that projected hostility, to my mind, doesnt do anything but keep the cycle of those who agree with you doing so, those who dont, not, and those who are genuinely interested scared to partake.