Racism and Anti-Racism: Why they matter to SlutWalks

… and if you don’t care, why you need to start caring.

The Protestor at SlutWalk NYC – Why this was not, and is NEVER, ok.

In the past month there has been significant discussion, anger and sadness regarding an incident perpetrated by a white woman who participated in SlutWalk NYC. She carried a sign that read “Women are the [racial ‘N’ word] of the world.”

Some have used as an explanation and ‘defense’ that this quote is from a Yoko Ono and John Lennon song from the late 1960s when the intent was to draw attention to women’s maltreatment and oppression in the world. Having the ‘N’ word enmeshed in song lyrics did not make it ok then, and does not make it ok now.

When this song originally was released over 40 years ago, several women of colour and black feminists spoke out to challenge Yoko Ono and John Lennon. For instance, Pearl Cleage is cited as a black feminist who challenged this phrase as racist, saying, “If Woman is the “N” of the World, what does that make Black Women, the “N, N” of the World?” The challenges leveled at that problematic quotation then for racism still stand, and in fact, draw deep angst because that sign being displayed publicly by a white woman now makes the case that little has changed and the lack of awareness of racial oppression in protests, activism and radical statements then still permeate protest culture now.

SlutWalk Toronto does not support the actions or language of this SlutWalk participant. The ‘N’ word has been used historically, and still is used culturally today, as a racial slur that has been a weapon of degradation, oppression and violence. The word in question is connected to race because of the way it has been used against marginalized people of colour, namely black people, to perpetuate hate, disrespect and racism. A few further points on this particular sign and incident:

• This was racism then. It is racism now. We do not support any white people using this racial slur or any others, no matter what point they’re hoping to make.

• This protestor’s intention may have been coming from a good place, but her actions were misguided, and are not excusable, because they perpetuate racism, entitlement to using this word, and negating the experiences of black women.

• We understand the ‘N’ word as a word that was not this protester’s word to use (or ours if we are white women), because she is not a person who this word is used against, or has a history of being oppressed by.

• Not only is this word steeped in a history of racial oppression and violence, we must never forget that racial oppression and violence are still occurring. White women – and beyond that anyone that is not black, including Yoko Ono and John Lennon – are not the people who should be making the decisions on how to use this word or how to change its meaning if that is something that people want to do. Many black women have denounced any use of this word and we support them in this.

• It is not enough to refrain from using racist language. It is imperative to call out individuals who are doing so. Within and outside of SlutWalk protesting and organizing circles, if you are witness to this type of behaviour and you’re in a safe position to do something about it, don’t stand by. At SlutWalk Toronto we commit to address and, if need be, call attention to displays of racism that we see and that are brought to our attention.

This act of racism happened at a SlutWalk and we are truly sorry and deeply saddened that it did.

Language Parallels – the ‘N’ word and ‘slut’

Some people have suggested that the ‘N’ word and ‘slut’ are similar because they are both insults thrown at people and both have been used in re-appropriated ways by various groups of people with various intents. However, these words are not the same and this is important to recognize. They may both be examples of harmful language that is used to degrade, oppress, damage and justify violence but this still does not make them the same. Here’s why:

• Sexism and gender-based violence are not racism. These things may be connected and overlap but they must be acknowledged as different for each to be addressed and taken to task.

• ‘Slut’ is a word that is predominantly used against girls and women, and many different women have experienced it in many different ways. The use of ‘slut’ is indeed contentious, but there are many different stakeholders. A racial slur and determination of its use belongs to the people that it has been used against exclusively. That’s how we’d suggest language be approached. If it’s not an epithet used against you, it’s not yours. For anyone else outside that group of people to use that kind of language is perpetuating the systems of oppression that slur created and entrenched in the first place.

As women who have experienced and been impacted by the damage and violence of the word ‘slut’, we wanted to interrogate its use. This word, and the degrading intent behind it, are too often used to justify treating women as less deserving of respect and safety, too often used casually, overlooked and accepted without question, or used as justification for the sexual violence and harassment we and so many others have experienced.

We acknowledge that we have received concerns from women of colour about SlutWalk and the word ‘slut’ outlining that this word can also be a part of the racism and violence they face or it can be a word that doesn’t represent their experiences of oppression. Some feel that for them this word cannot be discussed and utilized in the same ways as it can for many others in SlutWalks. This is something we take seriously and we are working to address these concerns by recognizing them, and taking on learning curves so we can understand them and include them in our efforts. We’re also seeking ways to learn from and be accountable to criticisms so that SlutWalk can make changes to become a safer space for more people as we continue and grow.

But wait, I still don’t get why we’re talking about racism when this is supposed to be about sexual assault and gender-based violence?

Let us draw your attention to…

‘Intersectionality’ or the concept (and reality) that it is not enough to take on one kind of oppression without acknowledging other kinds of oppression that interlock and fuel one another.

It is reported that indigenous women and women with disabilities experience sexual violence at 2-3 times the rate of other women in Canada. Some reasons why these experiences differ are:

• A history of (and nation built on) colonization
• Discrimination based on race and ability
• White privilege
• Able-bodied privilege

As many women of colour have said, they wake up women AND black (or brown, or Asian, or aboriginal, etc.) everyday and one does not override the other. There is no ‘choice’ to overlook and ‘get over’ racism because it is a built-in reality many people have to face as an inseparable part of their existence. This existence determines how the world, and all of these interlocking systems of oppression, including gender-based violence, treats them. Racism is everyone’s problem. People of colour are not solely responsible for fighting racism or educating about racism. White people need to be a part of the solution.

This understanding, background, or as you may hear it referred to, ‘framework’ is an important dimension of understanding the intersections of how people experience sexual violence and how and why we have to work to fight against it holistically.

Things to take away…

• When racism is an integral part of how some women (and some of any gender) experience sexuality, sexual violence and harassment, it must be discussed, acknowledged and part of the work we do.

• When ableism is an integral part of how some women (and some of any gender) experience their sexuality, sexual violence, being treated as more ‘justifiable’ to assault and treated as less able to consent it must be discussed, acknowledged and part of the work we do.

• This recognition is no different than how we acknowledge that women are disproportionately affected by sexual violence and we acknowledge sexual violence as a gender-based system of violence and oppression, though other genders are also affected. Recognizing oppression means recognizing oppression.

• No group of people are a monolith. Humans are not. Men are not. Women are not. Women of colour are not. We must acknowledge this and include the reality of experiences; which is the diversity of all of our experiences, wherein different factors intersect to create different histories of oppression for individuals and groups.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
 

This is all nice and well, but what are you going to do about it?

• We want SlutWalks in general and SlutWalk Toronto to be a safer space for all women and people and we acknowledge that is not what is happening, with the above incident and with other issues around the messaging, construction and approaches used within many SlutWalks, and we need to be accountable to this. We are so sorry this is not a safer space for all people, all women and all survivors.

• SlutWalk was an idea that began in Toronto and has spread across the world at lightning speed, which has and does limit our reach and influence over other SlutWalks, especially since everything we do is volunteer-run. Each SlutWalk is independently based and organized. However, though we at SlutWalk Toronto may not be in other cities as organizers, decision-makers or participants, what happens under the SlutWalk label or idea connects us all, and we absolutely feel it is our responsibility to speak up more when racism and other forms of discrimination, whether intentional or not, are occurring.

• We also hope to do what we can, with help from others, to foster a culture throughout SlutWalks internationally where racism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated, where all participants and supporters are willing to work to understand that discrimination is their business beyond and not limited to discrimination that they feel affects them directly as individuals. Some things we have in the works are toolkits, modifications to messaging, and helpful resources for organizers and supporters.

• We will continue to strive to make this a safer space for all women and all people. One way we hope to be able to do this is by framing more of our work to be based in and understanding of anti-sexism, anti-racism and anti-classism. This is in understanding of the fact that gender, sex, race and class (or socio-economic level) are lived experiences that impact how sexual violence is justified, perpetrated and responded or not responded to.

• Our first (but not only) step in these efforts is to engage directly with our community in Toronto to get feedback on what changes Toronto would like to see happen at SlutWalk Toronto. We are having a community open forum in Toronto on Sunday November 20th at The 519 and plan to work together to deconstruct what has happened, and work together towards making SlutWalk Toronto more aware, inclusive and safer. Grassroots organizing means that we need to start in our own backyard and work from the ground up.

From the beginning of SlutWalk, this has been about fighting sexual violence and damaging ideas around victim-blaming and slut-shaming. We have supported an interrogation of the language used to address these issues and the idea that ‘slut’ can be, and has been in some instances (including years prior to any SlutWalks), reappropriated but this has never been something that everyone must agree with or support to participate in SlutWalk. People, sexuality and experiences of sexual violence are not monolithic, nor should identity be monolithic. We have always respected that many people hate the word ‘slut’ and do not want it used upon themselves in any way. We try to acknowledge the privileges we do have (if we are white, able-bodied, cisgendered, heterosexual, class privileged, etc.) and the oppressions we may face and in what ways this affects our activism and identity. We also support critical reflection and discussion around SlutWalk, because criticism is necessary in continuing to grow, evolve and do better.

We hope that you will continue to have patience with us as an organization that is still only months old, and that you will approach us in the spirit of collaboration, even in disagreement, and the understanding that we are all working to end sexual-violence and victim-blaming.

Please stay tuned for our upcoming post about Privilege – what it is, how it works, why you maybe didn’t know you had it, and how it situates everyone’s experiences.

767 Comments

  1. Inez Northover says:

    “We try to acknowledge the privileges we do have (if we are white, able-bodied, cisgendered, heterosexual, class privileged, etc.) and the oppressions we may face and in what ways this affects our activism and identity.”
    I dispute the notion of heterosexual and cisgendered as a privilege. It is no more a choice than any other sexuality or gender-identification. Able-bodied? It can change at any time, so shall we class those who have ‘become’ disabled as having less ‘privilege’ than those born with a disability? How disabled does one have to be to COUNT? Class privilege? Is there a ‘work ethic’ privilege?
    What happens if one is ‘differently privileged’? What is the correct combination of privilege or lack thereof?
    At this point, I am angry at misogynists, Slutwalk, rapists, police, pseudo feminists, good ole boys and all this anger is NOT HEALING!
    I no longer know what or who I’m fighting, who or what to support. So much of this simply makes me angry , dismissive and hopeless.
    You want dialogue? Try this. Hurting PEOPLE is wrong. No matter what the reason is, hurting anyone is wrong. Implying that ANY victim is to blame for their injuries/ pain is wrong.
    Putting all these bloody labels on every difference ( to acknowledge differences?) simply makes us ALL littler. And makes it easier to ‘divide and conquer’.
    You want self-identification, so you know how to pigeonhole me? Female, born that way, hetero, AB for 25 years, disabled for 29,victim and perp of violence, employee and business owner, immigrant, white by definition, woman of colour by colour. Victim and perp of profiling. Feminist from an early age, wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece.
    And the only thing I ever, really wanted in this life was that people didn’t hurt each other, nor imply that anyone who was hurt ‘deserved ‘ or ‘contributed’ to their own hurt. I think I have finally seen that this is never going to happen, because we all focus on our differences. This breaks my heart.

    • The Questioner says:

      I dispute the notion of heterosexual and cisgendered as a privilege. It is no more a choice than any other sexuality or gender-identification.

      And many men would argue that being male is not a privilege. Many men also deny the reality women’s experiences with gender oppression. If we followed your line of argument, feminism itself is “divisive.”

      I kindly suggest that you read the “Intersectionality” portion again.

      • Maritza says:

        And I suggest you to read again what Inez is trying to say. Recognizing differences is something important to do. So, I can not really get your point about intersectionnality. With this approach we must be supposed to try to understand and even better, to try to listen the others … the different others … and I’m not so sure if White Occident (and you) is prepared to do … Maybe because my logic is so simplistic and I grew in a different country, I think that we could accept our differences knowing that even if we are in the same fight we don’t share all the ideas (something normal considering we are just human beings).
        In the text I read, I can see what I admire the most of Occident: the desire of knowledge and the good intention to fight injustice. But I really don’t know if it’s possible to see real kindness and desire to listen. Maybe because most of you are whites, I don’t know … and personally I think that even, if you can try to understand what different people think, you are not still capable to accept that you can’t feel the same way others feel … I do believe Canada is a wonderful country, but I’m not so sure what it is happening. In some way there is a lot of openness, but in the other way I feel fear. And I can feel it not only in these words, I can feel it in my everyday life as sociologist who has come from the South, as a non white immigrant (labelled as visible minority), as a non Anglophone nor Francophone, and even though as a women who doesn’t share all your values (abortion, and “Occidentallity to see and analyse social reality” for example). Anyway, I have also learned that in this country we are capable to ask ourselves if what we think is right or wrong… and what it’s more important, that we can change of mind, every time, because what if it’s true it’s sometimes relative. I’m happy to see all this efforts, really happy … but It’s so painful that some women can not understand other women. As a feminist I can understand so much of your points, but, as a catholic non white immigrant heterosexual feminist I just can not feel representation!
        And yes, you can say I’m so ignorant because I come from South. I will assure that I will try to read everything you can recommend me… Good luck !

        • The Questioner says:

          So, I can not really get your point about intersectionnality. With this approach we must be supposed to try to understand and even better, to try to listen the others … the different others … and I’m not so sure if White Occident (and you) is prepared to do …

          The intersectionality portion; is in the open letter above. If you didn’t read it, why are you commenting?

      • michele says:

        What is “cisgendered?” I haven’t heard this before.

        • Heather says:

          Cisgender or cisgendered refers to people who are living comfortably within the gender that they were assigned at birth, related to their sex (biology). If someone is born with female anatomy they are going to be assigned a female gender as an infant and raised that way. If they are not transgender, two-spirited or gender non-conforming they are cisgender. This language allows cisgendered people to be named without it always having to be trans people who are discussed with different gender language.

          Here is a helpful quick link: http://www.videojug.com/expertanswer/transgender-what-does-it-mean/what-is-cisgender

        • hesham says:

          once you say women can do things to prenevt rape, that women shouldn’t wear certain clothes, then you move into victim blaming territory. It’s as simple as that. No, you don’t. And no, it’s not as simple as that.Women can do things to prenevt rape. They shouldn’t have to, but they can. For example, they can carry a gun. Or take a self defense class. Or never leave the house. There’s a whole spectrum of things they can do. All of these things are a compromise, all of them are unfair, and some of them (at least one that I mentioned) is completely untenable. The point is, women can do things to prenevt rape, and it’s not victim blaming to say so. On the contrary, it’s the opposite. It’s a form of empowerment.Now, whatever a woman CHOOSES to do to protect herself is her own damn business, and if that choice is to do nothing, then that’s as valid a choice as any other. In the event that someone making that choice is attacked, their attacker should feel the full force of the law, to no greater or lesser degree than had she been packing an uzi. But it’s societies job (especially as concerns educating young girls) to make sure that that choice is as informed as possible. Therefore, in as much as there is a demonstrated correlation between style of dress and victimisation (and there is, though not between style of dress and rape) then women should be aware of it. Not because they should be dressing demurely as a matter of course, but because they are ENTITLED to all the facts that are potentially relevant to their protection. This isn’t about limiting women’s options, or it doesn’t have to be. It SHOULD be about extending them. It’s about empowering women with information, so whatever choice they make will be an informed one.

    • Heather says:

      The idea behind all of this is that privilege is not a choice but it is something that disadvantages some while bringing certain advantages to others. Privilege is the built-in advantages we may have with the ‘un-chosen’ things that comes with who we are. No one chooses to be heterosexual or transgendered or white or indigenous or born into an industrialized economically-rich country or not. No one chooses to have a disability. None of these things are choices but all of them come with a kind of privilege or an oppression and set of barriers to face.

      When someone is able-bodied they will not face the barriers of not being able to access certain public spaces, including transportation and washrooms, and they will not face the scrutiny of being the person who is seen as ‘other’ because people who are able-bodied are viewed as ‘normal’ in the world. Disability itself is not as simple as many people think it is. It’s not just about having a physical disability, but about speech, hearing, having a strong reaction or sensitivity to smells or chemicals that doesn’t allow some people to be in public spaces. Disability is about the challenges one faces when they may be HIV+ or living their life with another illness. Bodies can change over time and someone who may have once been able-bodied could later certainly be someone with a disability but this possibility does not negate this privilege when it exists. Here’s a good article that discusses disability, ableism and privilege: http://www.perspectivesoninclusion.blogspot.com/

      Class privilege is having more income and socio-economic status which in turn offers more advantages to employment, education, access to resources and services. Does someone choose what kind of wealth or poverty they grow up around? No, but it shapes people’s lives from the very beginning.

      Privilege is not a simple yes or no check-box. It is complex and interwoven into the differences of who people are. Someone may have gender privilege – whether as a man or being cisgendered – and still face the barriers that come with having a disability or ableist oppression. Someone may have able-bodied privilege and still face class oppression in living without access to much income or a secure job and dealing with the barriers of poverty.

      This is not about pigenholing anyone. This IS about not hurting people and instead supporting people. To do that, we have to understand the different experiences people have, the different oppressions people face, how they connect and influence each other and how we are all individually situated in this world in mixtures of oppression and privlege. We have to work to understand the privilege we never knew we had and how to stop making all those built-in advantages what remains “normal” and “right” and understand how privilege, when it goes unacknowledged, can mean we’re continuing to hurt people even when we never mean to.

    • Brody says:

      Girls everywhere and all you emasculated “men” who are trying so hard to be politically correct at the expense of your masculinity, listen up.

      Men and women are equals. This does not mean that they are equal in every single aspect. For example, men are, on average, physically stronger than women. It is much easier for a semi attractive (even a 6/10) woman to go out and get laid. The same cannot be said about men. Men have to work at it, have some skill (game) and thereby get a woman to sleep with them. It is a LOT harder for an equally attractive man to get women than it is the other way around. This is one of reasons behind why we, as a society, naturally celebrate men who are successful in bedding multiple women; while at the same time shame women who bed multiple men.

      Let us briefly visit the topic of virginity from both perspectives. Virginity in a man is not a desirable state or label when it comes to an attribute that the opposite sex wants. This is because he has obviously not been preselected by other women. However, female virginity is not looked at negatively in the least by men. If she looks decent, no man cares if the girl is a virgin or not. In fact, a female virgin is often wanted more.

      Now don’t get me wrong, men LOVE sluts. We will never turn down an opportunity to sleep with a good looking slut. Partly because she’s good in bed, partly because it’s sex. But any decently intelligent, self-respecting man will know that it is a terrible idea to emotionally involve himself with(i.e. date) a slutty girl. That would be a very dumb move. Why would any man want to get emotionally involved with a girl who’s had 15+ sexual partners? We would just be setting ourselves up for failure. There are many nice worthy girls out there who don’t have daddy issues and haven’t slept with an entire fraternity house. But, by all means, fvck the brains out of sluts in the meanwhile.

      Most guys can detect when a girl is a slut by the first few dates and by what he hears about the girl from other people and from the girl herlself. We put this information together and figure out if she is dating material or not. If not, I like most guys, will still go in for the prize but have no intention of following through with dating the dirty little tart.

      To put it simply, a lock that can be opened by many keys is a useless lock and of little worth. But a key that can open many locks is a master key and is valuable.

  2. Krissie says:

    I applaud this statement. I’ve not been supportive of Slut Walk for many of the reasons addressed above, and I’m glad to see you guys taking action. Definitely a great start.

  3. Margaret says:

    I also applaud this statement. I was originally very interested in Slutwalk, but in reading about it learned that there were a number of activists who were decrying the people involved in the movement for their unawareness of priviledge and exclusion of women of color and other groups. My desire to understand the issues many people raised has led me to be MUCH more aware of my own privilege, intersectionality and particularly racial issues. As a result of my new understanding, I decided not to participate in my local Slutwalk. I am so happy to see that you, Heather, and the other Toronto organizers have been making a similar journey and are really trying to make a change in the movement you started.

  4. AlleeDew says:

    Great work Toronto. I am pleased and relieved to see this step in a positive direction. And many thank-you’s again to BlackWomen’s BluePrint for their open letter on this topic. Keep up the good work, and I look forward to the post on privilege.

  5. S.Y says:

    Good work, ladies. Very good work.

  6. Kat says:

    While I can see where this author is coming from, I do not appreciate the constant reference to whites as the only race capable of racism. The author didn’t quite come out and say it, but that is definately the feeling I was left with after reading this. I am a white New Yorker and I have been on the receiving end of racism quite a number of times. I’ve been mugged and molested for being a ‘rich white bitch’, when I was in High School I was repeatedly verbally attacked by black girls who apparently didn’t like that I was dating a black guy, as well as other incidents.
    Although the sign this woman marched with wasn’t the smartest move and I do believe everyone should do their best to educate others about their circumstances to form understandting, I do not believe she should be treated as a pariah for what was basically a faux pas, it wasn’t an attack steeped in hate meant to cause pain and suffereing. I just can’t quite see something like this as racism. Ignorance? Yeah, I suppose so. Hateful racism? No, not by a long shot.

    • Khelvar T. says:

      Kat, intent is not magical. While your friend with the sign may have meant well, the N-bomb is not hers to drop. Nor is it yours. Your insistence that you OUGHT to be able to drop it for the shock value says a lot about you that I don’t think you want to say.

      She is not being treated as a pariah. She made the choice to exclude herself when she chose to make excuses and get defensive rather than going ‘damn, sorry, my bad’. No one has attacked her character. No one thinks she’s evil. Your problem seems to be that you believe racism’s all beatdowns and white hoods, and only evil sons of [expletive goes here] are ever racist. I’m sorry, but that’s not the case. Society as we know it is racist. Racism is insidious, and it’s everywhere. Much racism is subtle. The fact that your friend with the sign believes she has every right to use a word she has no business waving about, and the fact that she – and you! – think her stung pride is is MORE IMPORTANT than the words of many, many WoC who have said ‘no’, for example…that’s insidious, institutionalized racism at work. Neither of you consciously set out to say you are more important, but your actions reveal society’s racist notion that white folks’ opinions are more important than those of PoC. Why else would you keep insisting you ought to be able to use the N word?

      I’m not even going to address your ‘reverse racism’ business as it proves to me you didn’t do your homework at all. Racism = prejudice backed up by societal clout. That is the definition this discourse is based on. Dictionary flames will do you little good, as dictionary definitions are not the sociological ones we’re talking here. And no amount of copy pasting from Webster’s is going to change that.

      As well? No one will ever say that you deserved to be hurt as a result of your social status or ethnicity here.

      If you continue to thrash about as you are, you will do your friend with the sign and yourself no good, and will only alienate yourselves further. And yes, I damned well meant what I said there. No one is excluding you. They’ve laid out the terms and conditions very clearly. By pointedly failing to adhere to these because you think you shouldn’t have to follow the same rules as everyone else, you alienate yourselves. This is the equivalent of ‘no shirt, no shoes, no service’; it’s not the least bit unreasonable, and the fact that you;re essentially arguing that you should be allowed to go barefoot and topless just ’cause…? Yeah. Consider what that says about your mindset.

    • Angel H. says:

      Something that wasn’t in the OP, but really should have been (if it’s in there and I missed it, I apologize), is that the only people who get to define the oppression are the oppressed. A White person doesn’t get to define what is and is not racist because they do not experience it on a sytemic, institutional level the way that People of Color do. I’m not saying that you weren’t assaulted and that you weren’t called those ugly names. But racism is more than name-calling, assaults, and the KKK. It’s born out of colonialism and White privilege. Speaking of White privilege, your comment here:

      …I do believe everyone should do their best to educate others about their circumstances to form understandting…

      Is another example. It’s not the job of the marginalized persons to educate the privileged. POC have had to learn about racism by living it. It’s not going to kill you to open up a book or two.

      • michele says:

        I think what she meant by this statement was moreso a reference to the necessity for us as women, to create opportunities to form conscious raising groups that include all representations of women. Only by sharing our individual experiences within a safe and accepting space can we create a dialogue, (not based on our differences), but upon our common bonds that transcend the lines of division (that have previously kept us separate and therefore unaware of eachother’s experience). By sharing our stories, and agreeing to join together in solidarity, we learn that although we come from different backgrounds, places, experiences, etc., it will benefit us all to reject the socially indoctrinated dividing lines that have separated us into all these little groups and subgroups which have isolated and separated one from another. All of these divisions were products of colonization, racism, sexism, ageism, classism, etc., and we’ve been fed misinformation all of our lives with regard to all of these other groups from which the dominant white male patriarchy constrtucted. Stereotypes, stigmatizations, hateful words; all of these things are tools to further divide people which creates hatred and ‘othering” and isolation, and pain. As long as we continue to operate within the divisions constructed by the dominant group, the ugly constructions of their oppressive subordinating systems continue to be reinforced. The more we break down the barriers that divide us, and create common grounds and causes upon which we can unite, the more we will become empowered through our collective unity. If you recall from our readings of the first feminist movement; there were articles written in which a woman of color expressed how women of color were excluded from the NOW feminist conference. we learn from these readings, and from the mistakes of the past, that in order to truly have a women’s movement, it must be inclusive, representative, and welcoming of all representations. We must work hard to ensure not to exclude the voices that need to be heard. When we share our experiences, we begin to realize what things are most limiting our ability to make progress in our lives and we collectively discuss where change needs to be made, and we plan collectively how we can bring about this change. there is strenght in numbers, and the more inclusive we are, the harder it is for them to shrug us off with one of their hateful stereotypes that so often can delegitimize us with one word. It is easy for them to shame and scare one woman away when she is alone. But if we represent great numbers and are inclusive of all the representations you can think of, and if we are all in solidarity and all speaking out regarding our cause; they cant’t deny us.. They can’t ignore us. They can’t oppress us and repress and stifle, and treat us unfairly anymore. It’s time we got together and start to address the issues that prevent us from leading productive successful lives. We need to fight for living wages, and for part-time jobs that provide benefits; education, healthcare, childcare; we need to analyze and change policies that further victimize women in areas such as domestic violence within the court process, as well as we need to insist on public service workers being trained in the dynamics of domestic violence as is stipulated in the VAWA, to that these women are afforded dignity and respect and care as opposed to what we’ve seen in the last 30 years. We need to analyze and revise each and every public system and office and policy that is structured to oppress and marginalize us. It’s time we let them know that enough is enough and we don’t want to live like this anymore.. We need to set our terms, and bring them to the bargaining tsble, otherwise, we will continue to experience injustices such as the the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops overstepping their boundaries as a tax exempt organization that has no right or business writing, dictating, and influencing and lobbying legislation that violates our rights. And the fact that Congress, by catering specifically to the catholic church is violating our first amendment rights under the establishment clause because by favoring the catholic church, they are othering everyone else and i refuse to stand for this. ok i’m done.

    • Kitty says:

      Being called mean names by black girls isn’t racism. Its when the whole system and the world you live in is set on making things harder for you at every step. Though anything done in hate, for whatever reason, is never right you have to see the difference between two different actions.

      Since whites are the majority in the US its clear as to why the author keeps referring to them. Whites are seen as the norm and if you don’t look, talk and believe in the same things they do, 9 times out of 10 you’ll always be the outsider.

      The woman that made that sign made it with no thought of black women at the march. Sure you could argue that it was a harmless mistake, but its clear to see that many white women have a hard time understanding and accepting that black women struggles are very different than theirs.

      When they were fighting for the women rights to vote do you think they were thinking about black women? No. Its always white male, white female, black male, black female. And that is something that def. needs to change.

  7. Violet says:

    So what are we going to do? It’s been acknowledged. It’s always been there. There is this unspoken rift between white and black women.
    Are we ever going to address it? Because I believe that when that does happen the World shall turn right side up again!

  8. Kellyann says:

    I want to commend SWT, I am inspired by your use of this blog to educate the movement on important issues! Here is a letter that Andrea Bredbeck, who was the keynote speaker for SlutWalk DC, wrote in response to criticism of SlutWalk – please read!

    http://www.jointheconversation.me/Site/Writings/Entries/2011/10/19_I_AM_SPONGE_.html

  9. answer btwn the line says:

    once this young woman express her symbolism of achor she should had been respected. Blacks do injustice to themselves including others when internalizing negatives: What happen to the positives you claim to possess: Could this woman Pearl Cleage a past protestor had also conveyed nigger is not a race but a filty word? so lets see it for what it is. seriously give the gift of the original intent back. I am convince people just like to fight! If it’s not about nothing then its about a speck in my soup!
    p.s excuse me:
    Pearl cleage is cited as a black feminist who challenged this phrase as racist, saying ” if woman is the “n” of the world, what does that make black women, the “n”, “n” of the world?” OOps! well there you go! does she really believe this? No. another thing YOKO ONO & John Lennon history may had fought for peace/human rights in their own way. so be careful you don’t weaken your support.

  10. Atlanta Wales says:

    Black Americans do NOT get to own a word.
    They are wrong to demean and dismiss the artistic expression of someone who’s CLEARLY fighting for their cause.

    Too often Black Americans take pride in their second class citizen status. When gays try to compare their political struggle to black Americans, then Blacks get up in arms.
    When a white woman makes a profound statement, like women are the niggers of the world, Black Americans get up in arms.
    It seems as if no one else is to challenge the authority which Black Americans have to their second class nature.
    It seems that when someone does, it’s time to fight.

    These Black Americns say that no one else can understand their struggle. It’s incomprehensible, according to them.
    Then when someone asks “So what do you want me to do about it?” The demands are vague such as “Educate yourself” or “There is nothing YOU can do!” or “Accept that you don’t and can’t understand.”

    To any rational mind, this makes absolutely no sense UNLESS you see that it’s used as a political tool to garner special favor. This tool of 2nd class citizen is used by Black Americans as a source of Pride. It’s not even a very effective tool poltiically.
    However, I have noticed that white people at restaurants are quick to discount food when Black patrons complain or other stores are quick to offer discounts to “keep the customer happy.”
    Is that really the best usage of 2nd Class Citizenship Black America can come up with? It serves no other meaningful political purpose.

    In the 60s and 70s, this all made sense. The Civil Rights Act, the abolition of Jim Crowe and Affirmative Action all were political wins. Now, institutionalized racism is fundamentally gone in 2012. You Won!
    You’re NOT 2nd Class Citizens any longer, nor do you need to secure additional special rights.

    Most racism I see now comes from the Black American community towards Caucasians and towards themselves. ONLY in the Black American community will you see hatred from one Black person towards another Black person because that Black man is high yellow or they’re a sell out (because they decided to go to college and get a decent job).

    The Black American communities I see are like crabs in a barrel. They pull each other down by reinforcing that education is bad, anyone non-black is bad and the system is against them. This is community takes pride in keeping their own selves oppressed. But hey, you can complain and get a free meal. And don’t forget to undertip your server!

    I see a White Woman holding up a sign which articulates the sexual double standard to which women are held. Instead of understanding the meaning of the sign, immediately Black Americans say “Oh no! You cannot take our place as 2nd or 3rd Class Citizens. We’re the low man on the totem pole. You have to make sure you realize that you’re afflicted less than we are. We are entitled to our reduced status. We fought for it and we’ll continue to fight for it!”

    When I look at corporate leaders, I see accountants, CEOs, lawyers, managers, etc. There are many men, women, caucasians, blacks, Asians, Latinos. I see a lot of people in those positions … but the first thing most everyone sees is the position.
    There are positions in this world. A certain position might happen to be filled by a caucasian man but that doesn’t imply sexism or racism.

    If the Black Community would stop feeding off the scraps which fall from someone else’s table and as a community seek to build their own seat at the table, then they would immeidately get more respect. Why? Because they’re black? NO! Because of the position that they hold.
    In my experience, if you see any “racism” … it’s NOT racism. It’s experience from dealing with black people who have attitudes which are consistently entitled, negative and condescending. Those attitudes come from the internal community, NOT from the external community.

    You do NOT see this in any other country. I have continually said Black AMERICANS. I am NOT talking ALL Black Americans. I could just as easily say Ghetto-culture Americans. That would be more accurate.
    I’m certainly not talking about Black Canadians. I’m not talking about Black Europeans.

    I’m talking about a specific culture here in American which those, like me, descended from African slaves who have lived generationally here in the USA, have embraced.
    Like me, there are MANY other black people who vehemently abhor and distance ourselves from this 2nd Class Citizen mentality.
    We think of those Blacks as Niggers. And we have no affiliation with Africa, so we’re NOT African-Americans. That’s an insult to those with true dual citizenship and true cultural connections to Africa.

    And I do see that women are put down for their sexual natures. I do see that in South Africa there is “Corrective Rape” to transform lesbians into hterosexual women. I see that men prey on women who are weaker using the excuse “She’s a slut!”
    I see that in many cases, women are the Niggers of the World. I get the point and the message.
    I do NOT need to embrace myself as the lowest Class of Citizen to understand that woman’s message. I can also see that in the environment of the Slut Walk, that message is appropriate.

    I am making a stand for Black Americans who refuse to see themselves as anything except Americans; Americans who like all Americans have a mixed and intriguing heritage.
    I am making a stand for Black Americans who realize that bigoted jerks exist but that my challenges do not make me special or especially weak. I realize that bigotry and racism are different and that racism is virtually dead in the USA.
    I am making a stand for Black Americans who realize that it’s ridiculous for me to have to use the term Black American. We’re proud, 1st Class Citizens of this great country and of this amazing world.
    I am making a stand for these Americans who will gladly claim this greater truth and this honor. We can give the womn at Slut Walk the word Nigger for the day. We can even stand up behind her and say “Yes! I get it!”

    • Auth says:

      made me wonder if onnaye else had called Palin on it. (I admit, rather than listen intently, I tend to go to a happy place when Palin attempts to talk politics.) He said when Bristol Palin got pregnant with her boyfriends baby (not by rape) Palin came out and touted to all who’d hear how proud she was of her daughters CHOICE. Yet, she would mandate that no woman have a choice AT ALL. So what on earth is she so proud of? (Aside from you know getting knocked up as a teen and keeping the baby, all political fodder for Mummy and her abstinence/anti-choice line) And because YouTube do that whole Clips like this one thing, after the TYT clip, the next one looked like a tutorial on how to defend yourself against bedroom rape .would the douchecanoes mansplain that one to me please? Because if the clothes I wear in the privacy of my own bedroom (ie. PYJAMAS DIP SHITS) cause me to be raped, how does that not sound like the stupidest thing ever? How about we have a flood of tutorials that show men how to behave appropriately around women and girls?A vagina is not a cock holster.

  11. ME says:

    I was wondering about the comment of how the “N” word and “slut” are not the same. If black people “own” that word, why don’t women “own” slut? Should it be called the “S” word for everyone that is not a woman, who this word has not been used maliciously against?
    I understand that they are different words, and that racism is different than sexism. But it seems to me that the intentions and results of the words are very similar, and therefore the words should be treated with the same attitude.
    Sorry if I misinterpreted what the author was trying to say about this portion, just wanted some clarification.

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