How Not To Do Feminism and Intersectionality. I Brought Receipts. Part I
Life is indeed a full circle.
November of last year I responded to a tweet written by Amy Siskind, a woman that I follow and that many call an activist and leader in The Resistance.
If you follow the link entitled, How Not To Do Feminism and Inersectionality. I Brought Receipts, you will see two White women harassed me for hours well into the next day about my stance on the 53% of White women that voted for Trump. Amy never said a word. At the time, I was relatively new to Twitter, and I assumed maybe this is how people who are popular do things. Maybe they turn off notifications for a tweet that gets a lot of attention, and she doesn’t see that these two women are harassing me. I have been writing for many years, and as a Black woman I have dealt with White women being hostile towards me, so I didn’t need Amy to step in. I felt like I could handle these two women fairly easily. The thought just happened to enter my mind, “I wonder if Amy sees this and why is she silent?” I collected as many screenshots as I could one, because I knew they would block me because people that behave that way always block the truth and two, I knew that I would write a blog about this incident. I am a firm believer that even someone’s ignorance can provide a lesson for someone else and as it turns out, my blog was read by thousands of White women that expressed their embarrassment and anger at the two women that were harassing me. I was pleased that even in an ugly situation, there is always room for someone to learn and grow.
That blog article is over 9 months old, and I hadn’t given it much, if any thought until yesterday when Amy Siskind’s name popped up in my feed along with 2 threads by @AngryBlackLady and @dianelyssa that revealed tweets, articles and videos that did not align with a woman that is billing herself as an activist that works for the safety and opportunity for all women. I read Amy’s tweets about her support for Sarah Palin and her dislike of Obama as well as her pulling her support for Black Lives Matter. One tweet called on people to join her to “return America to…by voting out Obama.” To what? To when it was White? To when Black people were picking cotton? Return it to what by voting out Obama? She never states what people would be returning America to, but for her to be a voice of The Resistance, I find it funny that her very words sound precisely like a slogan I have come to loathe. Perhaps she wanted to make America great again. I repeatedly asked Amy what she meant by her tweet, and she never responded but was sure to reply to and retweet others that did not challenge her. Imagine that?
Is there a reason you are not addressing any of this? Why are you weaponizing your fan base to go against the very people you claim to support. When you said “return America to by voting out Obama,” what did you mean? Return America to what?
— Hannah Drake (@HannahDrake628) August 14, 2018
When you made this tweet, what were you implying America be returned to? If I inadvertently overlooked the answer in your blog please point it out. pic.twitter.com/23euLNLch7
— Hannah Drake (@HannahDrake628) August 15, 2018
As I continued reading @AngryBlackLady and @dianelyssa threads, it was stunning to see so many White women that follow Amy and claim to be allies, turn on them and vilify and harass them even to the extent of being labeled Russian operatives and being reported to Twitter. In a time where Black women are carving out spaces to have a voice, Amy used her fanbase to try to silence Black women. In a time where Black women are fighting for air to breathe, Amy remained silent. She weaponized her followers to take down Black women because they disagreed with her. Tell me again about how Amy is an activist? Tell me again about how Amy fights for intersectionality? Tell me again about Amy working to dismantle oppressive systems? When she did choose to address the issue once she realized it was not going away, did she apologize to @AngryBlackLady and @dianelyssa? No. Did she speak to her followers and tell them don’t be like her- when you mess up just own it? Nope. Did she tell her followers to stop harassing them? Of course not. Amy did what White feminists that specialize in White Feminism always do. She wrote a blog on Medium calling it, “My Story…” and in one line summarized up everything that I hate about White Feminism, “So about me.”
That’s it. So very typical. The rest of the blog is basically Amy talking about Amy.
Amy is the picture of everything I despise about White Feminism and Intersectionality.
White Feminism is never about the people, it always seeks to serve self. White Feminism always centers itself.
White Feminism is performative. It is manipulative. It aligns itself with marginalized groups only for its benefit. White Feminism uses gaslighting tactics. It plays the victim.
White Feminism uses the, “all the Black girls are picking on me” card. It weaponizes White tears.
White Feminism is dismissive. It fails to acknowledge or correct past hurts or wrongs.
I challenge the real Amy Siskind to please stand up! Are you about resistance and advocating for women’s & LGBT rights, & equality, or are you about dismissing Black women that seek to hold you accountable?
Amy understands that using words like diversity and intersectionality sounds good. It’s profitable. Writing a book about resistance is good for business now. Being down with the marginalized groups is cool now. Everybody has a Black friend. Resistance is all the rage and Amy offers the type of resistance White women can align with. Amy provides lemonade, and apple pie type resistance and Black women like me provides collard greens, cornbread, and hot sauce resistance. This ain’t your let’s sip mimosas and discuss what we are going to write on our protest signs for our Instagram photos while we knit pink pussycat hats type resistance. This ain’t my feelings got hurt because you tweeted something that made me uncomfortable, so I quit type resistance. This ain’t I expect a gold star and a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies for doing the right thing type resistance. This is can you face some painful truths about yourself, White people, and America type resistance. This is can you understand that as a White person you benefit from systems that oppress Black women type resistance. This is can you go into this knowing it is not always going to feel good but is good for you type resistance. This is can you fight with me and for me because Black women are struggling to breathe type resistance.
Can you do that?
Or will you take your resistance toys and go home after all this is over? Will you quit because your feelings are hurt? Will you stop resisting because a Black woman spoke the truth about racism and it made you uncomfortable? Will you refuse to fight because Black women are holding a White “ally” accountable? Will you quit because White people are doing well again? Understand that Black women didn’t wake up in November 2016 and realize this nation was racist and oppressive. Some of you woke up in November, and the only reason you care about oppression now is because the chickens have come home to roost.
I want to know after Trump is impeached or voted out of office, where do you stand? Do you stand with Black women in hashtags only? Do you stand with Black women as long as we are silent about your favorite White resistor?
Do not write one more hashtag about #TrustBlackWomen, #VoteLikeBlackWomen or #ListenToBlackWomen, if you are not sincere. Instead of checking a heart on Twitter and Instagram, check your heart and your motives. It means NOTHING to me if you do not listen to Black women before we are in the fire. Black women TOLD YOU about Donald Trump. Black women told you about Roy Moore. Black women told you about Mike Pence. It would do you well to bet on Black. Black women are TELLING you about Amy. When will you listen?
I have asked Amy repeatedly to answer the question about “returning America to what, and she doesn’t want to answer my question perhaps because she knows the truth and the truth is ugly and makes her uncomfortable. Newsflash, Amy if you’re going to do ANY type of REAL resistance work, it dwells in the realm of being uncomfortable. Amy doesn’t get the opportunity to fool me twice. I believe she is exactly what she has shown me and that is why she will avoid my question.
If people are reading this blog and want to know how to do feminism and intersectionality, don’t be like Amy.
Categories: Current Events, Politics, Race Relations, Thoughts, Musings and Reflections
The mental gymnastics that these white women put themselves through astounds me. How can they be so obtuse??
It’s mind blowing to watch. And they honestly feel they are in the right and are allies. No. I’m good. Y’all stay over there and do whatever it is y’all think you are doing.
I was just reading about this on Medium from Lecia Michelle, and she was talking about this entire debacle.
I have to admit that I have absolutely “no confidence” in White women as a whole. I don’t expect any of their behavior to change since the election of 45. In fact, I expect them to do exactly as they did before and hand the next election over to someone possibly worse. I learned my lesson from the last election, and I absolutely cannot rely on them to have learned anything. I cant afford to trust them because things are just too damn dire.
If they have changed, then good. I’ll accept that , but we should continue doing what we’re doing with no expectation of help from them.
Thank you again and again and again.
I knew the broad strokes of the events discussed in this post, but I ended up doing a deep dive this afternoon because of a discussion with some friends about an Amy Siskind event in our town next week (we pretty much agreed she’s kind of awful and racist and we don’t want to attend). I’m a gay, white male, and I couldn’t believe how a lesbian woman could throw LGBTQI people under the bus so easily by aligning herself with someone like Palin. And then I’m grateful that while we have some “family” members who will vote against their own interests (usually because they’re racist, sometimes because of money, although more and more I understand how those two are tied together), it’s not a large enough number to make any real difference politically. I can’t imagine what it must be like as a woman of color to have to deal with that on a scale that actually matters, and then to have those people try to dismiss you when you point it out.
Thanks for writing this blog.
(Please excuse my late-to-the-party comment).
I find this very useful: “if you’re going to do ANY type of REAL resistance work, it dwells in the realm of being uncomfortable.”
It’s a good reminder to all of us. Different types of discomfort, to be sure.
You’re fine. When you arrived was right on time.
I’m just thinking… not to minimize the discomfort, because it is real, but facing one’s own privilege and pushing oneself, even when defensive, to listen to people with different lived experiences, instead of giving voice to the defensive reaction… is very different from the kind of discomfort that was probably felt by Bree Newsome when she summoned whatever courage was necessary to climb up the state building flagpole and take down the confederate flag in 2015.
“You come against me with hatred, oppression, and violence,” Newsome shouted with the flag in her hand. “I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today.”
Whenever I hesitate to face the discomfort surrounding conflicts on race, power, and privilege, I remind myself about the courage required of people like her to do what they are committed to doing. Sometimes I fail to listen fully; fail to face the demons I inherited from generations of white privilege. And other times I step through an invisible curtain to a new level of understanding. Achieving those new levels of compassion and ownership of behaviors that perpetuate inequality… that is what allows for growth and change. Not easy, but so worth doing. And really, it’s the only option if we want our children to have a more egalitarian society than the one we were given.