Open Letter to Slutwalk
Dear Slutwalk and all of it’s supporters,
Good luck I mean that ,with whatever you intend to do. However with Shira Tennant now just LYING in print , it is obvious we can not continue to hold a dialogue about this.. It’s not just a disagreement. It’s not minor. It’s resource and class violence that sadly is often the outcome of these “ movements”. Things are being made up , in hopes of “ strengthening your movement” . I am a woman and I am all to familiar with be called a N*gg*r and the only thing I have learned form it is fear.
An apology actually hasn’t been made. “ We’re sorry that sign made it into union square” isn’t an apology. We’re sorry that we created an atmosphere that any one thought that was okay is an apology. It is disheartening and quite honestly disrespectful to pretend you have no idea what critiques you are responding ESPECIALLY on tumblr where they are linked at the bottom of your page. It is not an opportunity to show her it is unacceptable , WHEN YOU WILL NOT SAY THOSE WORDS TO HER. When you allow the behavior that has gone on in your name to continue without public response in the forums it has happened.
At no part of your “ apology” have you stated, that what women have done in your name, the slander and disrespect of black women is wrong. At no point have you intervened to say that whatever we stand for , we also stand for women being allowed to express themselves as individuals, without fear of reprisals not limited to insults, appropriation, and lying. But the women you choose continually to ignore and allow to be disrespected are not part of big name organizations, so it seems by your behavior they are expendable.
I am truly glad for you that it is healing “ work” . I am truly please for you that this is something you can get over. But for me a woman who has BEEN assaulted with that word hung over me, it is not that easy. It is triggering, it is the skin I am in when I am demeaned. It is the word yelled at women in my family, and my ancestry when they are raped , and instead of treating it with that gravity, it is being treated as a PR flub.
For all your talk not once have you acknowledged that the people who have challenged you are feeling real pain. You have yet to extend the solidarity of that respect , allowing comment upon comment and word upon word to cast these women, which as you should know sadly ARE survivors of the sexual trauma you claim to be against , be portrayed as do nothings, villains, and whatever spewed forth from the mouths of this group you love so much.
From the inception of Slutwalk women of ALL backgrounds have expressed fear at the high handed , unexamined way this has been conducted, fearing that the work put forth would end up alienating and divisive. We hoped it would be merely structural , instead these women , black women especially were treated over and over again, by that sign, and by the cruel and unkind “discussion” that followed to the visceral nature of those failures.
Now the only thing you have to offer is the hope that we will put ourselves into hostile unwelcoming situations where we have been guaranteed no comfort, support, or basic respect, to do the work you have so obviously avoided doing and continue to avoid. With no assurance or parity, clarity , or reciprocity. So you may grow and we may hurt for your growth.
As a survivor and speaking with many of the survivors that word has jarred and cut so deeply, we require a movement of vision and love. That moves beyond reactionary measures, and proactively envisions, places of care, support and growth for us ALL. When someone can NOT or WILL NOT extend a very simple apology for that most hurtful of phrases, they assure me that their space is NOT the space , I can see that happening.
Thankfully there is more than one way to work towards reproductive justice and there are many places where many of the voices you still seek to drown out and erase are doing that work.
May we get to that goal where ALL women feel safe and supported and free in their choices to maintain the safety of their bodies, minds and spirits. You have made it obvious that your space does not and truly does not seek to include me and those like me but I hope it still works for you.
Bolded emphasis made by me.
I’ve been seeing posts about this all week (haven’t been really participating in too much discussion though). I recall seeing one where some white women, who were still denying the racism happening in slutwalk, said that black women just don’t know what it’s like to be a survivor of sexual assault, or they never speak about it or work against it. Which is a load of bullshit, and it’s just more exclusion. Exclusion done in one of the most hurtful ways. White feminists, if your response to criticism of racism is to erase and minimize black women’s experiences and efforts (which you probably don’t know squat about), then no, I won’t waste my time with you. Neither should any other WoC.
Some similar things have been thrown at me by white feminists I dared to criticize when I finally got a clue and sensed something was messed up with white feminism. If black women talk about race and their experiences with their oppression (where white women benefit), or if they dare point out that white feminists’ racism, then they’re often turned anti-feminist in white women’s eyes. And that gives white women an excuse to exclude, demean, and erase, trying to just wear out black women so that they will submit themselves to a hostile environment where white women benefit from their pain. If that’s not white supremacy and abuse, I don’t know what is.
Reasons why I don’t call myself a feminist anymore….
Bolding mine. I can’t fuck with the kind of people who say this dumb shit & then want to bleat about sisterhood & solidarity. Mammy issues make my slapping hand itch.