It’s been an odd week on Twitter. I’ve felt reluctant to check in, not least because it’s made me acutely aware of the disparity between the empathy afforded to white women in contrast to women of colour and in doing so, it has made me feel worthless and redundant. I am not sure what the point is to anything anymore.
When I made the mistake of accusing the wrong person of racism, it didn’t matter that I had suffered it for many years before or that I would experience a sudden and severe escalation as a result of a murder that had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH ME, on that occasion white people, male and female, held me up as an example of how privilege politics were deeply flawed, as if somehow my mistake said something about the intentions behind the whole of intersectionality. They manipulated the truth and bullied me despite the apology I issued of my own volition. The person I offended had accepted my apology and I was sincere in asking for forgiveness but it was too perfect an opportunity for people steeped in privilege and power to mock and denigrate our lives.
Intersectionality didn’t cease to exist because I’d got it wrong. If anything, I’ve been made even more aware of how we are all unequal. A white woman with a platform made others like her aware of my existence, a misunderstanding was exploited. They thought that I would go quietly, they failed to reiterate for my benefit how they wouldn’t want anyone to be bullied off twitter, as they did for each other, my thoughts, my feelings were obviously unimportant. I left for a short while but I didn’t disappear. It was as if somehow the worst had happened, as though I’d faced my demons and now I was committed whether or not I was happy about it. I was called names, I still am, I have been threatened with rape and death, I speak about these things candidly on Twitter, but nobody freaks out on my behalf. They objectify me, belittle me for my illnesses, opine on everything from my period to how I’d make a bad mother. It has been sustained and increasingly more personal. The people doing this are mostly men and all of them are white. They say it isn’t harassment or bullying but are keen to point out they hound me for my comedic value. My life and the issues I face are a joke to them. They’re ‘skeptics’ you see, it’s the (mainly) white man’s right to uncover the truth and yet they failed so spectacularly on this occasion because white unity. It’s easy to take my words out of context and glue them onto other words I tweeted, maybe not even from the same week, to make it look as though I am deranged and deserve the nastiness they relish throwing my way but they don’t realise how unoriginal they are. If they thought they would somehow gaslight me into submission and I’d admit that I was a faux forriner then they couldn’t be more wrong. Their actions fuel my anger. As a woman of colour, I am expected to withstand abuse without complaint. I thought at one time that I would keep a diary of all incidents but quickly decided there was no point. What could be done about it anyway? Well, if I were a white woman, the media might have paid a shitload more attention. Twitter would have taken me seriously and I would also probably feel entitled enough to personally approach the most powerful man in the world and ask him what he was doing to protect me. A week of rape threats and misogyny? Try 7 months of racism, sexism and ableism.
Tell me, why should I have to suffer my trolls gladly? Where was your outrage for me? Do I deserve the threats and mockery aimed at me? The treatment I receive is not confined to Twitter or my blog; racism, sexism affects my life everyday. When I reported a fascist to the police for implying he was involved in the firebombing of Muswell Hill Mosque, I was asked about my motivation for reporting him. I’m not sure whether white British people are asked about their motivations for reporting crime but again, it made me question the point of pursuing a charge. Did I really want to provide a statement and risk going to court where a quick google search will reveal the lies posted about me? I am aware that information has made it so that I have to suffer threats in silence because white Britain simply doesn’t believe me.
To endure the unacceptable and have your experiences dismissed, to be accused of dishonesty, to be denied, minimised, made to feel as though you are worthless, that is the life of a person of colour. As one knob put it, even the term PoC, defined by people of colour is not valid: “what’s wrong with non-white?” How any feminist can allow this to happen to another woman and then claim her feminism is for all women, well, can you see why I call bullshit? HOW do you expect I’m going to feel about Jane Austen when prejudice blights my life? Why is this important when women of colour are being attacked on our streets for being a different skin tone?
I didn’t withdraw my support to the feminist cause, I was abandoned. For as long as women like me are excluded from righteous attempts to smash the patriarchy, feminism will never thrive. Instead it provides a constant source of amusement for the white menz in power, they’ve been playing this divide and conquer thing for quite some time.