Weekly report of a young feminist #17: In the light of the current events, we must raise our voices and reject the inequal system hurting those in powerless positions. Black people are dying on the streets, women are killed in their homes and we still blindly consider it a blissful world…
In the past few weeks, we experienced lifechanging events. Firstly, the whole world witnessed a brutal murder of black man in Minneapolis. This cold-blooded act of slow killing changed our perspective on current model of society we live in. We’re all to blame, unfortunately. Police brutality is known for such a long time indeed, but how come we never protested with such intensity as we do now? So many people, so many names with history and family are no longer with us because of the system. Therefore, the protests are requisite and much welcomed response to such horrifying systemic flaw. We were aware of misconducts performed by authorities mostly in the US already, but I have the feeling that the video of ordinary citizen slowly dying on the street opened our eyes more widely than anything ever before. Us, white people, can’t properly imagine that he died because of his skin colour. And now, when he died, we all know his name – George Floyd.
Our white privilege is nothing but toxic and harmful and we have to do something about it. I’m not going to describe ways which have to be implemented in our behaviour in order to erase differences between people, I don’t know them myself, but I’ll rather advise you to learn and improve. And don’t be a fucking racist. Since I come from extremely white country, I haven’t been quite familiar with political correctness or appropriate behaviour until I’ve travelled and lived in a diverse country. But I’m still grateful that I’ve been raised to be friendly to everything what was unfamiliar to me. I thankfully never lacked empathy with different races, genders, or sexual orientations. But I rather belong to a minority of such people living in the Eastern Europe. However, I still notice massive gaps in my behaviour. The other day, I read a book by English author Reni Eddo-Lodge named Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race and I think every white person should read it too. Her book inspired me to write a post called Why I’m no longer talking to men about gender, where I discuss the male dominancy the way she talks about the white supremacy.
These spheres are not far from each other. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, American lawyer, civil rights advocate and philosopher, developed a theory of Intersectionality. It’s a theoretical framework describing “how aspects of a person’s social and political identities (e.g., gender, race, class, sexuality, ability etc.) might combine to create unique modes of discrimination”. The notion of intersectionality partly caused the rise of black feminism. Because as the white people will probably never understand problems of black people (we just try to solve them because we are those in powerful positions), the same applies for white feminism, which will never be suitable for dealing with problems of black women.
Moreover, that happens to be a reason why many activists would like to see the system of multiple feminisms rather than one unidirectional movement. I think that people in 21st century don’t dare to state that women’s rights are not violated nor oppressed in the mainstream culture, or that black people don’t face racism throughout their ordinary lives. Then imagine, what it must be for a black woman, who’s rights are being oppressed because of both factors, her gender and her skin colour. Many black female intellectuals already shared their opinion on how the system fails to defend them in a day to day situations and how the ideological movements which aims to protect basic human rights betrays them equally. One enlightening article written by Guardian columnist Lola Okolosie illustrates the struggles I’m mentioning here, when the author describes how contemporary feminism focuses mainly on lives of the white majority. Women surely need allies because we, in desire to improve our lives, have to fight the system, but the truth is that battles we’re wining are usually the battles of white feminist mothers who started the movement. When she says that feminism won the fight over Page 3 (this is very interesting case, if you haven’t heard about it yet, Google!) or online misogyny, women like her mother are left to face abusive husbands and racist police officers.
Despite the fact, that I belong to a group of people who are discriminated and silenced, there are lives of others which are abused and mistreated even more. In times like these, lives of black people are in real danger and we have to show the racist part of our society that all lives matter. Especially that the BLACK LIVES MATTER. Because it’s not only sick police officers doing horrible crimes, it’s also your neighbour, your colleague or your taxi driver who believe in their white male supremacy. Eventually, the responsibility for wrongdoing falls into your hands and you have to be prepared to fight the inequality.