Thank you, SlutWalk, for posting the piece I wrote for Crunk Feminist Collective this past week. The willful ignorance of so many commenters in this thread, who want the right to use the n-word, for I know not what reason, disgusts me and offends me. I say that as both an African American person, who has in fact been called the n-word by white folks, multiple times. And I’m only 30, which means that those slurs happened long after the Civil Rights movement was over. By contrast, I’ve never been called slut. Even still, I stand in solidarity with the SlutWalk movement.
But I stand in disgust at the racism that keeps rearing its ugly head. The sign in question is only the most obvious instance. I also say with certainty, based on my expertise as a Ph.D. in American Studies, with a concentration in African American and Women’s Studies, that white use of this word is offensive and should not occur. (As if one really needed a Ph.D. to say that. :-/)
I also know that that expertise doesn’t matter at all to those folks invested in defending this privilege based on the 1st amendment. I mean, I defend your right to engage in ignorant hateful speech all you want, but I call into question your commitment to social justice if you do so.
To suggest that sexism and rape matter more than racism is to fundamentally not understand the positionality of women of color who deal with racism and sexism at exactly the same time. To ask us to put aside racism for the larger cause of sexism is an act of white privilege that bespeaks the utter ignorance that many white folks still have about Black people generally and Black women in particular. For the record, I will not excuse racism in the feminist movement in order to stand in solidarity with anti- rape activism. I will not do it, because rape is no more a threat to my daily existence than racism is. I will not do it because I shouldn’t have to.
I don’t put up with racist knuckleheads anymore than I put up with sexist knuckleheads, and I certainly wouldn’t show up to a march that claims to care about making the world safer for me, when their are women who show up there with the privilege of not thinking about how their careless uses of language make the space less safe and invoke a history of raping Black women that was done to us because we are both Black and women. To not acknowledge this is to forget the very ways in which rape has been experienced by Black women historically.
I certainly don’t expect white men to get that, and I do hope the white men in this thread who are vehemently (and subtly) asking for and defending the right to use the n-word see the historical irony of that position. But since white women claim to care about the universal woman struggle (whatever the hell that is), then I expect y’all to get a specific clue about the ways in which your racism is divisive and my/our outrage and disengagement completely warranted…” ~ Brittney Cooper ~”
CLICK HERE TO READ THE SLUTWALK THREAD (on Facebook)
Trigger warning on the page because it’s actually making me feel physically sick. I can’t believe how racist people are. It’s fucked up.
Reading the Slutwalk FB page just proves all over again that this is a performance of progressiveness, not actual progressiveness in action. These people want to say they were part of something big (see folks who claim marching during the Civil Rights Movement makes them not racist now, no matter what they say about *those people*), but they have no interest in actual change for everyone. Just themselves.