5 Easy Ways to Deal With Criticisms of White Feminism

This post was written by Kate†Alessandri and was reposted with permission from the author’s Medium page.

Are you a white feminist? Feeling†upset about white feminism getting a bad rap following the Women’s March? Here are 5 easy steps to move forward:

Step 1: Chill out.

Not every attack on white women is an attack on you. If you are marching in Black Lives Matter protests and fighting for immigrantsí rights, then youíre probably not the white person that post is referring to. No need to reply and list your accomplishments or use hashtags like #notallwhitewomen — just simply keep it up! Youíre not doing this to be congratulated on being a decent person, but because itís right and whatís best for everyone. Right?

If youíre really offended by that post because youíre really, really busy and you canít spend all day worrying about how you might be contributing to systemic racism, then you might want to ask yourself how you squeezed in the time to take out your frustrations†in the comments section of approximately 15 posts. No one is asking you to quit your job and throw your kids out of a moving car to embrace a life of social activism. Just think about it once in a while.

Step 2: Try to have a sense of humor about yourself.

This is really crucial. I was part of a discussion on one of the Womenís March websites in which a (white) woman posted an image of other (white) women holding a sign that said, ďWe should add pumpkin spice to racism so white women will care.Ē The offended responses came pouring in.

White Liberal Feminist #1: Whaaaaaa? Iím not a racist but this is reverse racism! I canít believe someone would make a sweeping generalization about me and my good intentions because of the color of my skin! This sign only divides us!

First of all, if you say this, you will sound like a Trump supporter pretending to be liberal. Second of all, see Step 1. Third of all Ö címon. Admit it. Pumpkin spice is delicious and that was kind of funny. Itís going to be a long four (hope hope!) years if we canít laugh at ourselves.

Step 3: Address the difference between the individual and the institutional.

Is is possible to be racist against a white person? Sure, within the context of the dictionary definition of racism. But, before you write an impassioned speech beginning with ďWebsterís Dictionary defines racism asÖ,” remember the difference between someone attacking white women and someone attacking people of color.

When someone makes a statement about white women, it does not affect the way society sees white people. Your hurt feelings wonít make you get passed over for a job, a bank loan or a part in a play because of your skin color. Your hurt feelings wonít erase your raceís accomplishments from history books, and your hurt feelings wonít enslave you.

I have to give cred to my husband for making this statement when I asked him to discuss so-called reverse racism. He said, ďWhen someone makes a comment about my skin color, it doesnít change my life.Ē Thatís a really perfect, simple way of putting it.

If, 200 years down the line, we are the oppressed minority then maybe we can talk about it. But letís deal with the racism thatís been going on since the founding of our country first and put a pin in the potential racism thatís been happening for like two minutes.

Step 4: Turn every hurt feeling into a question.

When I write these articles, itís not to condescend to other white feminists because I know it all. Itís because this is what I must remind myself every time Iím stung by what I read. This has turned out to be a pretty handy trick. Whenever you feel hurt or defensive about something you read, try and find a question for everything that makes you feel that way.

Ask yourself questions every day, such as:

  • ďAm I including people of color in my voice when I talk about feminism?Ē
  • ďDid I get that job because I was the best person for it, or because a white Human Resources Director saw herself mirrored in me?Ē
  • ďWhy are all of my close friends white?Ē or
  • ďDid I get served first because I am loud and tall, or because of the color of my skin, even if the person serving me isnít aware of it?Ē

You donít even need to answer these questions, but itís a good idea to pose them, if only to make you think about the world differently.

Step 5: Keep working, and striving for a better world even if you feel unwelcome right now.

If the articles Iíve seen posted by WOC on white feminism and fragility are a test, many of us arenít passing. Time spend defending yourself on an issue you actually support is time wasted.

White Liberal Feminist #2: Well, if Iím going to feel so excluded, why didnít I just vote for Trump, then? Might as well do the crime if Iím going to do the time.ÖĒ

Yeah, this is nonsense. This was an actual response I saw to an open conversation about white feminism on one of the Womenís March pages.

If weíre only doing this to get our white egos stroked or to feel like the best person in the world because we donít treat someone poorly, then weíre not in it for the right reasons. If someone tells you youíre not welcome, keep marching alongside them anyway. Keep telling people black lives matter because they DO. Keep standing up for whatís right, because itís RIGHT. You donít need to be the mouthpiece for these issues and, to be frank, you probably shouldnít be the mouthpiece on issues that deal with people of color if you are white. But be the backup singer, the sidekick and the trusted friend. Be the change you want to see in people who look like you.

White Feminist #3: B-b-but anything I say is attacked because Iím white! I just canít win!

So maybe we donít win for a while.

Photo Credit: Instagram

66 comments

Siyus C
Siyus C6 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Chun Lai T
Chun Lai T9 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Chad A
Chad A9 months ago

Thank you.

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John W
John W9 months ago

Agreed Amy!

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Mariana L
Mariana L9 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Amy L
Amy L9 months ago

Thanks for the butterfly points I received for reading this stupid ass article.

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Philippa P
Philippa Powers9 months ago

Thanks.

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heather g
heather g9 months ago

This article deserves all the criticism levelled at it....
People believe in a cause - that's it !

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Donn M
Donn M9 months ago

What kind of idiot writes this crap? Are feminists really divided into racial camps? And whoever made the sign, what does BLM have to do with feminism? Maybe the colored feminists should just "chill out" if they are criticized by non-colored feminists. This is a seriously stupid article.

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JT S
JT Smith9 months ago

Regarding Step 2: Feel free to remind everyone that there is NO SUCH THING AS "REVERSE RACISM"! Racism is racism. Period.

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