Some tips for white feminists

Hope everyone is having a nice holiday! I am, except for the whole issue of my new laptop refusing to turn on so now I can’t play FFXI until it’s fixed. My only solace is that my old laptop works, so it’s coming back to Japan with me so I don’t have to be sans-computer.

Anyway, I came across a post called How to Stop Being an Ignorant/Indifferent White Feminist… from a blog that’s new to me, Leftist Looney Lunchbox. I’ve added it to the links, but I thought it deserved a highlight as well.

Here’s just one of her many great points:

4) Don’t use us as tokens. This rarely happens in blogistan, but it does happen more often than not in the ‘real world’. Many of you feminist bloggers are quick to point out that ‘your blogs are not educational resources for men’, instead men should take it upon themselves to educate themselves about their own privilege. Likewise, you as white women need to do the same. We are not your token pieces. We are not ‘obligated’ to ‘educate’ you about race relations or anything else for that matter.

She also talks about being more analytical regarding news stories involving people of colour, not just reading white feminists but all kinds of feminists, stopping defending one’s white privilege, and, well, not saying racist things.

Via feminist LJ.

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5 thoughts on “Some tips for white feminists

  1. Well see, that’s kind of a double-edged sword too, isn’t it? If I deem myself ignorant about something with which I have no first-hand experience, my first instinct is always to ask someone who has had that experience. It’s fundamental communication, it’s how we learn about each other. Yes, you don’t exist to be anyone’s repository, but I hope I would be able to ask for clarification about something you raise on your blog that I don’t quite get, same as I would expect you to do the same on my blog. For instance, Kai Chang did a post a couple months back about Chinese music and stereotypes, and I wasn’t sure what he meant by non-stereotypical (non-racist) Chinese music so I asked him provide examples, which he did and which I was happy to discover matched my suppositions about what he meant.

  2. Elayne, I guess it really comes down to asking rather than expecting. And yes, that can sometimes be a tricky distinction, because it often comes down to tone and phrasing, but for meit comes down to being respectful when you ask for clarification, and not getting indignant when the person you’re asking goes “y’know, I really don’t feel like fielding this question today.” (not making a comment on your behaviour since I don’t know you well enough to do so, but it is something that happens) Also, I think that’s what some people tend to have a problem understanding. We’re often expected to assume whites are well-intentioned when they say something that’s insensitive and more than a bit dumb, and when we call out the result rather than assume good intention makes it all okay, and get frustrated because it’s the fourth time this week we’ve had to deal with whatever it is, we’re suddenly all horrible.

  3. Thanks for this link – its a fantastic post and something that I think everyone needs reminding of on a consistent basis – to do self-analysis of our own privileges and so how do we contribute to the patriarchy on different levels? I am a middle-class, educated, white woman who has a good home. How do I benefit from these? Something I struggle with as much as I can – but do forget my own privilege at times and an article like this is a great way to stir up new self-analyses.

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