The feminist movement is generally periodized into the so-called first, second and third waves of feminism. In the United States, the first wave is characterized by the suffragette movement; the second wave is characterized by the formation of the National Organization for Women, abortion rights politics, and the fight for the Equal Rights Amendments. Suddenly, during the third wave of feminism, women of colour make an appearance to transform feminism into a multicultural movement.
This periodization situates white middle-class women as the central historical agents to which women of colour attach themselves. However, if we were to recognize the agency of indigenous women in an account of feminist history, we might begin with 1492 when Native women collectively resisted colonization. This would allow us to see that there are multiple feminist histories emerging from multiple communities of colour which intersect at points and diverge in others. This would not negate the contributions made by white feminists, but would de-center them from our historicizing and analysis.
Indigenous feminism thus centers anti-colonial practice within its organizing. This is critical today when you have mainstream feminist groups supporting, for example, the US bombing of Afghanistan with the claim that this bombing will free women from the Taliban (apparently bombing women somehow liberates them).
White privilege is saying something disgustingly racist and hurtful and then deleting your online account to avoid taking responsibility for it and moving on with your life because you don’t have to actually examine your position or suffer any consequences in real life.
A great article about the backlash against those POC who were racially profiled at Barney’s for “spending money on items they can’t afford”
[TW: description of racist violence and brutality]
Australia’s history of racism towards Aboriginals is absolutely disgusting.
Until the mid-60s, indigenous Australians came under the Flora And Fauna Act, which classified them as animals, not human beings. This also meant that killing an indigenous Australian meant you weren’t killing a human being, but an animal.
To this day, Australia breaks every code of the Geneva Convention when it comes to indigenous Australians and their human rights. The “public housing” that the government has given them are one-bedroom shacks with no running water, no electricity and no gas, that entire families are forced to live in. These shacks are in communities in the outback, as far away from “civilised” society as possible. Out of sight, out of mind.
Indigenous Australians that live in the city are commonly forced to live in very dangerous and derelict areas that the government gives very little funding towards. Redfern in Sydney is a highly indigenous Australian populated suburb that is rife with crime, unemployment and horrendous living conditions. The government does next to nothing to help these people, either.
Whenever riots have broken out as a result of incredibly low morale, the police and the government are very quick to point all the blame at the indigenous Australians and say that they are the cause of their own problems, rather than looking at what the actual cause is.
Unemployment rates amongst indigenous Australians is astronomical. Crime rates are astronomical. Suicide rates are extremely high within the indigenous Australian community. Death from inadequate living conditions and inadequate health care is common. Brutality towards indigenous Australians is common.
The way many indigenous Australians are forced to live is equivalent to that of what one would expect from a third-world country. Indigenous Australians are considered by the UN to be one of the most horrendously marginalised groups in the world.
And how does the government amend all of this? With a national “Sorry Day”, where white people plant a hand in some designated area of soil as a token of their white guilt, and then continue going about their white privileged day.
On top of that, white people here commonly bitch and complain about how “good” indigenous Australians have it and how “thankful” they ought to be to the white man for improving their quality of life. Meanwhile, indigenous Australians have lost almost all sense of identity and culture because of white colonisation.
What is left of Aboriginal identity and culture has been nearly completely destroyed. And most people in this disgustingly privileged country do not give a single god damn fuck.
Australia is a disgusting country when it comes to racism. I am disgusted by my own country.
I have always believed Australia is the most racist country in the entire world. Not “one of”, but “THE” most racist. This is true of both their history and current behaviour, as well as at institutional and individual levels.
And for anyone who doubts this, I present two examples just off the top of my head:
In one a 12 year old boy was detained and prosecuted for ‘receiving stolen goods’ after a friend gave him a 70 cent Freddo chocolate bar stolen from the supermarket. SEVENTY FUCKING CENTS.
Oh look, here’s a man who was literally BOILED to death in a police van after being arrested for drink driving. Charming.
White convicts regularly hunted Black people for sport, casually shooting, spearing or clubbing the men to death, torturing and raping the women, and roasting Black infants alive.
ETA: Just want to link to some additional commentary made after I posted this.
Actually, I agree. White people do experience reverse racism, because they literally experience the opposite of racism.
That moment when a statement is so truth that your brain explodes a little bit.
"I will give you an example of how race affects my life. I live in a place called Alpine, New Jersey. Live in Alpine, New Jersey, right? My house costs millions of dollars. [Whistles and cheers from the audience] Don’t hate the player, hate the game. In my neighborhood, there are four black people. Hundreds of houses, four black people. Who are these black people? Well, there’s me, Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z and Eddie Murphy. Only black people in the whole neighborhood. So let’s break it down, let’s break it down: me, I’m a decent comedian. I’m a’ight. [Applause] Mary J. Blige, one of the greatest R&B singers to ever walk the Earth. Jay-Z, one of the greatest rappers to ever live. Eddie Murphy, one of the funniest actors to ever, ever do it. Do you know what the white man who lives next door to me does for a living? He’s a fucking dentist! He ain’t the best dentist in the world…he ain’t going to the dental hall of fame…he don’t get plaques for getting rid of plaque. He’s just a yank-your-tooth-out dentist. See, the black man gotta fly to get to somethin’ the white man can walk to.”
~ Chris Rock
“The black man gotta fly to get somethin’ the white man can walk to.”
By not seeing that racism is systemic (part of a system), people often personalize or individualize racist acts. For example, they will reduce racist police behavior to “a few bad apples” who need to be removed, rather than seeing it exists in police departments all over the country and is basic to the society. This mistake has real consequences: refusing to see police brutality as part of a system, and that the system needs to be changed, means that the brutality will continue.
The need to recognize racism as being systemic is one reason the term White Supremacy has been more useful than the term racism. They refer to the same problem but:
A. The purpose of racism is much clearer when we call it “white supremacy.” Some people think of racism as just a matter of prejudice. “Supremacy” defines a power relationship.
B. Race is an unscientific term. Although racism is a social reality, it is based on a term which has no biological or other scientific reality.
C. The term racism often leads to dead-end debates about whether a particular remark or action by an individual white person was really racist or not. We will achieve a clearer understanding of racism if we analyze how a certain action relates to the system of White Supremacy.
D. The term White Supremacy gives white people a clear choice of supporting or opposing a system, rather than getting bogged down in claims to be anti-racist (or not) in their personal behavior.
"Operation 8: Deep in the Forest"
On 15 October 2007 activists around New Zealand woke to guns in their faces. Black-clad police smashed down doors, dragging families out onto roads and detaining some without food or water. In the village of Ruatoki, helicopters hovered while locals were stopped at roadblocks. Operation 8 involved 18 months of invasive surveillance of Maori sovereignty and peace activists accused of attending terrorist training camps in the Urewera ranges — homeland of the Tuhoe people. Operation 8 asks why and how the raids took place. How did the War on Terror become a global witch-hunt of political dissenters reaching even to the South Pacific?
Thanks for your comment.
I agree there are many, many problematic aspects to Miley Cyrus’ behaviour: racism, ableism, transmisogyny, and so on (I had a small tag-rant about her here). However, I don’t think it’s necessary to address them all in the same post. I also don’t feel that calling someone out implies that is the only thing they’ve done wrong, or even that it’s the worst thing; it’s just a comment on a particular aspect of their behaviour.
Having said that, the main point of the post wasn’t criticising Miley Cyrus at all. It was a response to the holier-than-thou types who think she’s a “bad influence” on young girls while overlooking the sexualisation of non-consent by Robin Thicke. In other words, the post was chiefly a criticism of Robin Thicke. As a result, I worry it would be derailing to add disclaimers to the post. But I am happy to listen to more feedback if you think that’s short-sighted of me.
[Hopefully you’re okay with me publishing this. I thought it would be good to clarify for anyone else who thought I was condoning Miley Cyrus’ behaviour. Let me know if you would like it unpublished.]
ETA: Just looked up the stuff you mentioned about her cissexist comments and…just…wow. She needs to learn to shut her mouth all the time.
I know that wasn’t the point…? It’s not required to address it all in one post, but the post is literally saying you don’t need to talk about how Miley’s being oppressive to your kids. There’s nothing indicating it’s speaking solely on rape culture. Since I’ve seen legions of cis, abled, white feminists saying Miley’s a great feminist and stuff, the post really comes off to me as an intersectionality failure. I didn’t think you meant it that way, but I think it’s used that way.
Point taken. What made it solely about rape culture for me was the reference to Robin Thicke (who personifies rape culture in my mind) and the author being Jackson Katz (who writes extensively about masculinity and rape culture). But I can see that’s not clear to everyone. And I agree with you about certain feminists portraying her in a positive light, and I have witnessed it myself. I’m sorry for contributing to that; it’s definitely an intersectionality fail on my part.
I will add this discussion to the original post for clarity. And thanks again. I appreciate you taking the time to explain.
R. Young (1987). Racist society, racist science. In D. Gill & L. Levidow (Eds.) Anti-racist science teaching (pp. 16-42). London: Free Association Books.
Remember that time when they made up a disease for black ppl when we didnt wanna be stuck as slaves?
Remember when they operated on black women with no anesthesia to get modern gynecological surgical procedures?
Remember when they sterilized poor woc without consent to keep us from ‘creating more undesirables’?
Remember when the government allowed Black men to go untreated with Syphilis even after a cure was discovered?
Remember when minority heavy areas in cities were sprayed with radioactive material to ‘test’ how America could handle a nuclear fallout?
Oh, you dont? Because I do…
Go look it up. Every single one was done by a white supremacist nation called America.
|—||Patricia Hill Collins|