On behalf of white feminists everywhere, I’d like to extend an apology. Throughout the entire feminist movement, white women have continually failed to support their racial counterparts. Rather than fighting for gender equality, white feminists have fought for white-washed feminism. White women won the right to vote in 1920. Black women, however, weren’t able to vote until 1964. 44 years passed where a significant portion of women were neglected equal rights, and feminists everywhere stood by, allowing this to happen. I don’t know about you, but I find this utterly disgraceful.
Third wave feminism has not been much better. Urban Dictionary so eloquently describes a third wave feminist as “a feminist bimbo who still believes some how western skanks are still “oppressed”, when white women are the most privileged group in the western world.”
As you can see from the definition above, third wave feminism has garnered a lot of hate. Sadder still, that hate isn’t necessarily unwarranted. Feminism, as of late, has been far too focused on the right to wear short shorts and not shave their armpits, and has focused far too little on what’s really important: the lack of equality experienced among women of other races.
It’s a common fact that a white woman makes $.78 per every dollar a white male makes. However, what isn’t as commonly known is the fact that a Latina woman only makes $.54 per every dollar a white male makes. Under the same proportion, a Black woman makes $.64.
Black and Latina woman face both gender and race discrimination. They face it in the workforce, in the media, and in everyday life. African American abolitionist and female rights activist Sojourner Truth pointed out this disparity between race and gender in her speech entitled ‘Ain’t I a Woman?’
That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I could have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man—when I could get it—and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen them most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?
Although this struggle encompasses all minorities, the most research has been done on black feminism. Black women face the constant struggle: Do I identify as black or as a female? This is due to the fact that society has made it almost impossible to identify as both. Despite efforts to unite these two aspects of identity, black women have become alienated, struggling to fit into a society that simply does not have a box for them. W.E.B. Du Bois named this struggle “double consciousness.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines double consciousness as an “inward “twoness” putatively experienced by African-Americans because of their racialized oppression and disvaluation in a white-dominated society.” Although Du Bois was referring more so to the issue of being both American and African, the sentiment of the phrase carries true for the clash of identity as an African woman.
At 2016, you’d think a woman would be able to be black and still be considered a woman. And yet, minority females still face oppressions white feminists consider unimaginable. That’s not to forget, also, the further discrimination experienced within the disabled and homosexual communities.
White feminists, it’s time we get over ourselves. Forget that Coco Chanel bag you’ve been craving, and focus on the cocoa-colored woman next door who’s struggling to make ends meet due to racial impression. It’s time we create a fourth wave feminism, focused on minority females. Feminism is about promoting equality. How can we have a blameless consciousness knowing that there is a large population of females who still lack rights white females achieved years ago?
You call yourself a feminist? Act on it. If we truly fight for feminism like we say we do, it’s time to stop treating minorities like a separate issue. Minority females have as much of a stock in feminism as every woman with white skin. It’s time for feminism to become blind: blind of color, blind of sexuality, and blind of disability. Fight for rights, and not for whites.