Silly Allen

Privileged white feminism has struck again sisters. I haven’t seen the video or taken a trip to the usual suspects profiles, I haven’t needed to, they’ve been RT’d into my TL even though I have most of them blocked and so I have been subjected to their bullshit through no fault of my own. I REALLY didn’t want to respond to this but here, rant I shall anyway.

White fems, here’s the thing. WoC don’t need you to speak for them, we don’t need you to give us your perspective on race or racism because white people have been doing just that for thousands of years. Instead why not try listening, it’s not like we haven’t asked you again and again. It’s almost like you’re not hearing us on purpose. Lily Allen may have had her heart in the right place (I literally couldn’t give a shit) but she does not speak honestly for black women. She can’t, she’s white. It is because of this fact that even something produced with the best of intentions comes across as racist and misogynistic (against black women) because it is still the white narrative. Why is this fact so hard to grasp?

I am hella not surprised at white feminism’s reaction to this. Ever since they suggested we support white cis columnists, despite the horrendous misogyny levelled at many of us by THEM, they have consistently supported any bullshit they spew out. They know it’s an attack on white feminism and that frightens them. They’ve grown used to having relative power and control and of course, they are the most oppressed of all. So oppressed they can point out how oppressed the rest of us are.

IT DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT.

For centuries we’ve been told what to think, feel, eat, wear. You tell us when we’re not like the others; meaning we have brown nosed you sufficiently that you’ve grown fond of us, kind of like a pet. You tell us we’re shifty looking or ugly or not to be trusted. You can’t tell us what upsets us about these things or how to feel about them or react. Black people need to tell that story. You need to STFU and listen. By actively failing to do so time after time, you send the very clear message that you believe in your white supremacy, it is more civilised and rational and capable of analysis. We’re angry or crazy, literally The Worst. Trauma does that to people. Every day we face the prospect of leaving the front door and possibly being murdered for who we are, whether we are black or trans* or disabled, anything other than perfectly ‘normal’ in a white cis society. How could you dare to frame it in the way you see it with your blue eyes?

I’m still reeling from the anxiety borne in me the day I supported Southall Black Sisters at their demo against the UKBA for its racist ‘Go Home’ campaign, white people in cars almost foaming at the mouth, their bodies jerking with aggression that a few uppity brown women would dare challenge white supremacy with their chants and clappy hands. Make a video about that Lily, but talk to us first, won’t you? Heck, attend one of their demos why not? Do something that will really help not leave an internet full of people talking about your very latest capitalist venture. Controversy sells doesn’t it?

5 comments

  1. I’m a white middle class feminist, and if I’m honest, I don’t know what I should say or do to recognise that you are fighting a different fight. Or rather, you’re fighting the same fight, but with added racism. So I normally stay silent, because I don’t want to seem patronising or illinformed, because I don’t know your experiences. I feel like whatever I say is coming from a position of white middle class privilege.

    I can agree with you as a woman. But I’ll never know how it feels to be you, as part of a group of people so often marginalised and dismissed.

    So talk to me. Tell me about your life, your experiences. I want to support you, I want you and people who feel like you to open up, so that those of us who don’t have your experiences can understand you, support you, and learn from you. The words need to come from you, so that we who are outside your experience can understand. The power is with you.

    1. Hi Lucy,

      You acknowledge that women of colour face greater challenges than you, so why are you asking them to take up the burden of responsibility to educate you? When you do this, you re-centre yourself in conversations about racism, and derail the efforts of women of colour to make their voices heard in the way they choose. We have no right to demand to be taught by women of colour. We have no right to demand that women of colour make efforts to include us or to answer our questions. We have no right to suggest what they should write or talk about. Women of colour, their bodies, voices, their spaces, DO NOT BELONG TO US

      It is very easy to just listen, read and learn. Please do so.

  2. I think I was quite clear that I want to listen to women of colour talk about their experiences, I’m sorry you saw that as me demanding anything. I don’t think I asked a single question in the above comment. I was placing myself as a passive listener, wanting to learn. Again, I’m sorry if you see that as me shifting the debate to centre it around myself, because that really wasn’t my intention.

    I was writing in response to the post and to Sam. To ‘Black people need to tell that story. You need to STFU and listen.’ I thought that what I wrote was supportive of that. I wasn’t approaching random women of colour and barking ‘TELL ME ABOUT RACISM!’ in their faces.

    1. “So talk to me. Tell me about your life, your experiences. I want to support you, I want you and people who feel like you to open up…”

      Intention is not magic. I know your intentions are good. But in effect you are making the discussion about you, your wants, your needs, your learning, and your comfort

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