White Feminists Have Been Poor Allies in the Struggle for Racial Justice

Keri Leigh Merritt SAVE THIS

Alyssa Milano speaking at Occupy Lafayette Park rally in 2018 (Victoria Pickering/Flickr).

In the wake of the devastating, but not unexpected, news that several states passed incredibly restrictive, punitive abortion bills that function as bans, women across the country took to social media to express their horror and disbelief. Activists immediately set to work organizing and trying to come up with solutions for those most affected by these new laws — poor and working-class women. Given America’s disastrous combination of the racial wealth gap and an unabashedly racist criminal justice system, Black women undoubtedly will be the most vulnerable, at-risk group in these anti-abortion states.

Amid many positive campaigns to help women in these states, tens of thousands of women joined up with actress and activist Alyssa Milano in a sex strike: “until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy. JOIN ME…

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8 comments

  • Historify

    Yes, white women cash in your privilege. Boycott delta airlines, cancel your frequent flier accounts, coca- cola, Georgia Pacific paper products, home depot, ups, Netflix, tourism, etc. Do your research, boycott the top companies in each of these states. Call the companies and tell them why! Vote with your dollars, that’s all these #$%@ers care about.

    • regina.dancy

      What an outstanding article! A true ally is one who stands for solidarity at all times, not just when it benefits oneself. White women must own their stuff and acknowledge a lot of this would not be happening if they did not continue to allow race to “trump” everything. Think about how many white women voted for Roy Moore in Alabama. Yet, our black sisters made sure he did not make it into the senate. It’s time to stop saying one thing in public and then doing something else at the voting booth. Either you’re a true ally or you’re not!!!

  • Robert M Alberti

    I’d be pleased if actual feminists could purge the trans-exclusionary “feminists” from their ranks. That whole Feminism-Appropriating Radical Transphobe movement has been manufactured and promoted to split feminists apart. Don’t fall for it.

    Stop pretending to be sex, gender, and biology experts; acknowledge your cisgendered privilege; acknowledge your bias and bigotry where it exists; respect those with less privileged backgrounds who are willing to risk everything to live their truth; accept the assistance of transwomen with their experience in fighting for rights and challenging patriarchy. Be better than the bigots who would divide us. Stand together.

  • whoschu

    All I can say as a white woman is you’re right and I need the reminder. Most of my friends and family believe and act the same way I do and not are all white, so I forget the rest of the world isn’t the same. There are more things I can do to be an ally and I will.

  • Harriet Garner

    I worked in the San Francisco Mayor’s Office between 1972 and 1977 and witnessed the white-run National Organization of Women (NOW) infiltrate and overtake the Welfare Rights Organization (WRO) formed by Mission and Bayview-Hunters Point women and mothers to improve health, education, infant mortality rates and inequalities. Most of the issues affecting poor brown and black women were muted except for nutrition and early childhood education programs championed by community leaders such as Espinola Jackson, Dolores Huerta, et al, The Black Panthers, La Leche and Mayor Joseph Alioto via the failed urban renewal Model Cities Program. #NoJusticeNoPeace

  • millardjeanette

    Okay, so I asked my friends in Alabama if boycotting companies there would have the impact I want – to withhold my support from these white men (and women) who are making this kind of legislation possible. To a person they said “no, that just increases the burden on the working class people in the state, who are not at fault.” How do I influence Alabama’s corporate and legislative powers-that-be, without punishing people who are already bearing the brunt of these idiotic moves?

  • RuthAnne

    I must admit I was confused when the #SexStrike started. The only way I could see that having an impact is if you are having sex with one of these old white men and/or white women who are taking these rights away from all of us. The whole thing is ridiculous in thinking it would have any impact whatsoever.

  • Kathy

    Tomorrow, 5/24/19, I am going to call the Office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan. I am going to ask her, or leave a message, to someone on her staff, to please pardon or commute the life sentence of Michael Thompson. He has been imprisoned for over 25 years and is 68 years old. He was given a life sentence for selling weed to an undercover officer. If any of you listen to Shaun King’s podcast “The Breakdown” you can hear Shaun tell of this man’s injustice from the state of Michigan. Governor Whitmer’s office number is 1-517-373-3400 or 1-517-335-7858. So, get past Ms. Milano and take some real action to help free this man.

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