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Ironically Ignoring Race In The Feminist Blogosphere

Illustration for article titled Ironically Ignoring Race In The Feminist Blogosphere

Womanist Musings's Renee Martin wrote an excellent piece about why she finds traditional feminism exclusionary. The only issue: she called out feminist blogs for being "largely run by white women," including Feministing, Feministe, Pandagon and BitchPhD. The problem: they aren't.

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While some of the blogs were started by white feminists, most of them function as a collective, where those who have the time write when they can. Feministing, which remains an explicit collective, has a new executive editor, Samhita Mukhopadhyay, who has been there for five years. Of the four people on the masthead at Pandagon, two are people of color. Of the two people I know personally at BitchPhD, one is a woman of color. At least two of the bloggers at Feministe — Holly and Chally — identify in their bios as non-white.

Many of those feminists (including myself, a white woman) would likely identify with Martin's critique of academic feminism and the mainstream feminist movement as being too focused on white women's contributions and pushing them to the forefront of the movement without considering the contributions, needs and concerns of women of color. Of course, by ignoring — or remaining deliberately unfamiliar with — the contributions of people of color to the very blogs she identifies as being too white, she's kind of doing the exact same thing.

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I'm Not A Feminist (And There Is No But) [The Guardian]

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DISCUSSION

I don't get it. As white women, we're told we'll "never understand" and that it's futile and downright offensive to even try through our privilege colored glasses. Then, people get mad when we can't consider the WOC's perspective, when we've been directly told that we could never even begin to understand it so don't even try. The only answer, of course, is to have more WOC as writers on feminist blogs, but on the flip side, people can and do get just as easily pissed at others going out of their way to find POC instead of letting the demographics fill themselves out naturally. It seems like nothing is the right thing. I hear other Jezzies complaining about how the threads regarding issues of WOC have low views and a low number of comments...I don't know what you guys really expect. I read those articles but know better than to comment about something I have no clue about. You see, I know that I couldn't possibly understand, so I don't bother to open my mouth. But apparently, that isn't the right thing to do either, because then those threads don't have enough comments to make other people here feel like they're being represented enough.

What is my point? That it's impossible to please. We're told that we could never understand, and that trying to see things from a POC's viewpoint would be offensive pandering. Then we're yelled at when we don't do things from a POC's perspective. I can speak for many in saying we don't know what the fuck to do, because we'll either get called out for ignoring POC, or yelled at for pandering and making assumptions. If we try to address the issues within communities of POC, poverty for example, then we're yelled at as being racist. If we address that many POC do not fit that stereotype, we're yelled at for not addressing the issues of POC.

There is no pleasing anyone, except to just sit here with a sign that says "White Person Punching Bag" and taking every hit anyone can throw at us. I know as a white person, I'm not allowed to feel frustrated regarding issues of POC, but I am.