Picking things up from where we left them in the last post, I want to draw your attention to the idea that journalists reporting their views from national platforms to international audiences via the web are the true victims of oppressive forces, among them people of colour, trans people and a bunch of *others marginalised by the meta-narrative. We’ll focus on the words they used and measure that against their actions in order to demonstrate the dissonance.
When I first discovered feminist spaces on Twitter it felt revolutionary to have a forum where feminists from all over the world could congregate and share their ideas. We built networks and had big plans for the future for all women. I actually joined around the same time as Caroline Criado Perez who was known as Week Woman back then, communicating via Twitter but also various mailing lists where the idea for a new feminist party was conceived. Caroline Criado Perez personally recruited me.
She used words like ‘rousing’ and ‘inclusive’ when she raved about my work.
That is until we objected to a survey that was sent out to all members including one of our trans friends, on the subject of trans women and whether they should be included.
Obviously we objected. Not only had they othered one of our group, reinforcing existing prejudices, they spoke about women on the margins as if they needed to fill quotas for policy makers and were not invested in achieving real equality (there was a call for more woc, disabled representation and accountants, in that order). We were operational, not crucial, this wasn’t an organic coming together of likeminded individuals but a kyriarchy, where the nice white middle class ladies gave orders to the rest of us. Of course they didn’t like it when we pointed this out and so feminism was fractured, and the imbalance was apparent, all the nice white middle class ladies held all the power.
Around the same time we heard of a brutal gang rape in India, the victim had died and the international community was baying for blood. Western nations condemned the savagery of India’s rapists and a few good Indians were only to happy to oblige, commenting that India had fallen from grace, as though this was the first rape to have ever occurred in India’s history and she was and had fallen short of some gold standard that all other nations on earth adhered to.
I thought this was wrong, speaking as someone who supported hundreds of women through abusive relationships, many of whom suffered sexual violence as well as physical because I had personally witnessed the representation of all peoples engaging in coercive behaviours. It’s not a trait of any particular culture, patriarchy is present in all patriarchal nations, and it is this toxic structure which enables and maintains rape culture all over the globe. It bothered me that nobody paid attention when I, a woc, also a survivor of male perpetrated violence responded to Hundal’s meltdown over his homeland but jumped right on the comment below, perhaps because people actually listen to white men, even when it’s not about them. So you can imagine my irritation upon seeing the racist narratives peddled in the mainstream media. I wrote this and it had 1000s of hits and after the 5th or 6th person suggested I should pitch it to Helen Lewis, I sent it to her and she read it and said this.
This bothered me. Not because, as she has claimed in the past, I wanted to be published and as Cath Andrews once said “it’s all about her”, and my work wasn’t up to scratch but because she had revealed about herself the ingrained prejudices most white people have about non whites. She had commissioned an Indian to write about India’s horror. I had considered it an opportunity to tackle rape culture everywhere, by letting them know we see them pointing the finger at other men to cover up their own abuses. She will have seen me snark about this. She would have also been aware of the feminist party fail and felt protective of her feminism, for white ladies. Perhaps this is why she was the first to respond after the Mary Beard brain fart, where I wrongly quoted the wrong historian and their racist tirade on BBCQT (it was in fact Starkey on a previous show).
I had shown solidarity to other woc who’d been cast aside by Helen and this too will have informed her actions. To be fair if I was a racist opportunist I would have used the Mary Beard incident to silence my critics too. I wasn’t prepared for the number and calibre of white professionals, arguably some of the top dogs in their respective fields, including those skeptical sorts who seem to question everything other than another white person’s prejudices or intentions.
They believed her when she said that intersectionality was just an excuse for people like me to bully people like her and how awful it was to call anyone a racist. They said women of colour like me and my friends were oppressing them and this was having a terrible effect on their mental health. They didn’t once condemn the influx of racist whites keen to white knight for their damsels in distress, all it would have taken was a few words to distance themselves from the knuckleheads but it never happened. It was like they had deliberately constructed a buffer between us and them. They didn’t have to listen to our criticisms of their white privilege, we were too busy trying to stay alive against the tide of death threats, rape threats, attempts to dox and hack our online accounts, cope singlehandedly with the racist and deceitful authorities AND continue to remain active in the various communities we were hoping to bring relief to. Right wingers like Mensch complimented Lewis on her womanhood but couldn’t do it without diminishing ours. Nobody batted an eyelid.
They didn’t care when we were abused online. They didn’t care when racists hounded us off the net. The just carried on talking about things that had nothing to do with them, writing them in their national papers, framing grievances so that they were the victims when it was always us that bore the brunt of online hate campaigns, whatever that ridiculous Twitter silence said to the world.
These folks, with their elite educations and their whiter than white attitudes towards non whites really expect us to believe fascism suddenly transpired and there wasn’t a concerted effort on the part of these pusillanimous fascists, that is to say, cowards, you’ll never find on any front line yet ironically personify the very notion of a keyboard warrior, the Twitter celeb’s fave turn of phrase when they haven’t the first clue what you’re on about.
Paul didn’t reply to my tweet. Standard.