“We’re” Not Raising Trayvon: The Difference Whiteness Makes via The Feminist Wire
Harris’ essay identifies ways white feminists consistently function as bad allies to Black women and the complex reasons why, but it’s the simplicity of her title that calls to mind a basic but penetrating difference between white and Black feminists.
By and large, our children do not resemble one another’s, and therein lies a critical gap in understanding.
On the heels of George Zimmerman’s acquittal for the killing of Trayvon Martin, I am again worried about white feminists’ silence in the face of brutality driven by racism (in the form of Zimmerman’s assault on Trayvon, delayed arrest, and sickening trial). But I’m deeply concerned about what white feminist non-silence in these moments often sounds like too.
“We’re feeling this exactly like you are.”
“Can we talk about how I can be a better anti-racist right now?”
“But not all white people see it that way.”
White feminist silence and bad allying are two sides of the same coin. Both responses are shaped by the very same problem. White feminists’ indifference and/or anxiety produces silence at the exact moment that solidarity is needed. And white feminists’ egoism and/or lack of empathy drives bad allying when deep listening is what is called for. In both cases, the perspective, emotion, or interests of white feminists trump Black women’s pressing need