We come from the position that it absolutely exists, and then we work from there. Read this post over at Racialicious: Go after the Privilege, not the Tits: Afterthoughts on Alexandra Wallace and White Female Privilege. Then go read the post on Feministe.
Make sure to read the comments. Usually I try not to read the comments because everything starts hurting and itching simultaneously and mostly I want to stick my head in the oven. But there are a couple of folks over at each site who make reading the comments worthwhile.
One more time: White female privilege exists.
White female privilege example: When a discussion about white female privilege does not talk about intersectionality or the kyriarchy but instead is regressed to the position that white female privilege does not exist.
When we talk about racism, we see this position regression all the time. Can’t talk about any issue with any kind of nuance, because you first have to get past all the people who want to tell you that the racism just isn’t there.
In the discussions about white female privilege, you can see that many of the (white female) commenters talk about how this is really “benevolent sexism” or some such. You know, kind of like those positive racial stereotypes. Without any acknowledgment that any kind of -ism always functions best when there is buy-in from everybody concerned.
This is why I have never been able to feel any kinship with white feminists, and why I stopped reading white feminist blogs a long time ago. It’s always felt to me like white people who say my kind are okay, it’s just those pesky black people. And I could go along with that, and talk about how I hate black people too. Asians being the honorary white meat and all that.
But if I position myself above another group, I have to remember my own position. It will never be at the top. I’ll just be reinforcing and reinscribing the hierarchy as the good little model minority. Complicit in the system.
The term “white feminism” seeks to describe a belief system that does not include all women but instead privileges white females. In so doing, white feminism furthers a hierarchy in which white men are at the top. As Audre Lorde says, it’s when white woman ignore privilege and define “woman” solely within the white female experience.
Here are just a few examples of white female privilege as evidenced in the Racialicious and Feministe discussions.
White female privilege: When white women attribute issues to racism, specifically racism as perpetuated by white men, and fail to acknowledge their part in the system.
White female privilege: When white women patronizingly explain to women of color why race or class are determining factors but white women suffer from sexism alongside women of color.
White female privilege: When arguing that white female privilege does not exist is not satisfying enough on a white feminist site, so the same damn argument has to be brought over to women of color in their own space.
White female privilege: When white women feel free to explain the experiences of women of color to women of color.
White female privilege: When white women don’t realize that it isn’t just that women of color struggle to be seen as women, they struggle even to be seen as human beings.
I have more to say about Alexandra Wallace, white female privilege and the video by Jimmy Wong. Which felt like sexual harassment to me. But right now we’re talking about the existence of white female privilege. And everything hurts and itches so I’m going to bed.