Over at Midwest Voices comes the complaint about “the ongoing girl-fight between white feminists and feminists of color.”
Women of all races and ages better find a way to understand one another and move ahead together as genuine equals.
My own personal vignette on the issue:
I spent three years of my academic career living in a co-ed dorm at Bryn Mawr College. In 1969 Bryn Mawr students (and some of us Haverfordian guys) started the “Bryn Mawr College Women’s Studies Group” which did many good things, including agitating to get a Womens Studies curriculum started at Bryn Mawr.
The college agreed, and in its infinite wisdom brought in Kate Millett the following year to conduct a Sociology of Women class and discuss her new book, Sexual Politics“.
A few minutes into the first class meeting, a Black woman, confused by the hate spewing from Kate’s mouth regarding all men, including Black men, and the need to avoid men at all costs, asked Kate, “Are you saying that we Black women have to choose between supporting our Black brothers and our white sisters?” And Kate answered, “Yes, you have to support your white sisters, and you cannot support your Black brothers. You simply have to choose.”
At that point every Black women in the class (pretty much every Black woman at Bryn Mawr at the time) walked out, never to been seen again in the Women’s Movement. And after Kate’s class, the Women’s Studies group lost all the credibility it had started with, and I have no idea how long it took to recover, if it ever did.
The women’s movement, at Bryn Mawr and elsewhere, was never able to come to grips with its Eleventh Commandment, “Thou shalt never speak ill of another feminist,” … no matter how far over the edge someone went. The white women in that class ought to have walked out to support their Black sisters, but they didn’t. They just sat there, in stunned befuddlement at the ironic fruits of their labors of the previous year.
And so, in their inaction, they allowed the forces of hate to become the public face of feminism.
That happened all too often over the years.
And apparently a vocal minority with the desire to make enemies rather than friends is still there. And so still is the desire of the many not to make waves within the movement by confronting the issue.