Foolish Child #17: White Feminism 101

Foolish Child is a biweekly comic series by Dickens

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I am a queer coparenting mama to Dickens Jr. Doodler by day, 911 dispatcher by night. All my favorite shows look better on Tumblr. I am two years and 450K words deep into constructing a fanfic called Ages and I'm never giving up on it. Bering & Wells.

Alana has written 123 articles for us.


    • What I got out of it is that a lot of us never showed up for “solidarity” before and now that we discovered it for ourselves, we’re insisting on it.

    • Well, it sure shouldn’t be, but I think a lot of white women have been acting like it is. Some (I want to hope most) unconsciously, but the point is, we need to own this to avoid it.

    • Black women have been doing a hugely disproportionate amount of the labor in activist communities, including queer and feminist communities, so being told to ignore the issues that directly affect them in favor of “solidarity” (aka prioritizing white women and ignoring intersectionality) must be pretty insulting.

      • Yeahhh, like how when we as a group say “solidarity” what we really mean is “make space for us and/or prioritize us in this, your lifelong fight for rights/equality”

    • Thanks for all your comments and for letting me ask a question! I’m always trying to be better.

  1. I love this so much it hurts. Too many moments of “for one second, could we just stop being dismissive and celebrate other people? Acknowledge that there’s a problem?” Granted, a lot of women are terrified of letting go of the one bit of privilege they have and really want to feel good, like a united front, and are ignorant of history and how they themselves are used to perpetuate racist institutions. They just didn’t get it yet that all forms of oppression and subjugation are just more parts of the overall system (don’t get me started on how many of my white female friends will be progressive right up to the point when you start talking about economics and income inequality). It’s sad that it took people being threatened themselves to finally get it, though I’m hopeful that this is just part of an overall awakening that won’t disappear. I do worry, but it’s not hopeless. Someone I know was more than willing to be vocal and angry about homophobia and racism on TV shows, but when it came to protesting she was absolutely against it, calling protesters violent (because breaking a window is somehow violence) and protest meaningless. I just couldn’t understand it. But she went out and marched and she learned. It’s a start. We get lumped into a category of “White,” which is a colonial invention, and while our history is refashioned into a mythic happy colonial vision of America we are sheltered. A lot of us were left ignorant in schools while enculturated heavily by family, institutions, and friends, to believe that everything was “mostly OK” and any complaints about America were either fake, anti-American, ridiculously radical, or disingenuous. Hopefully, now that illusion will finally get shattered.

  2. This is great, Dickens.

    Also? It’s like you’ve been reading my mind.

    I just sent a friend this picture of a customized USWNT jersey that I’m thinking about sporting for the next four years.

  3. Great comic! I’ve been doing my best to make my feminism inclusive with regards to race and other minorities. I was reading about the word “intersectionality” yesterday and came across some sites that stated that the word shouldn’t be used by white people – because it was part of the black feminist movement. I was wondering if other ‘stradlers had an opinion about this and if so – why it should or shouldn’t be used. Thanks!

    • At the very least, spending some quality time with Kimberle Crenshaw’s work (she came up with it) should be a prerequisite for white people using it. There are youtube videos of her talking about it and her academic papers, and I’m sure other media in between. Her work is really helpful and helps keep ‘intersectionality’ complex and challenging, and keeps it from becoming the new ‘inclusive’ that is the new ‘diversity’ that was the new ‘integration’ etc.

      • Thanks for pointing this out, Yasmin, and for giving me a place to start, dev. I had been blindly using the word intersectionality so now I have my homework for today.

      • Thank you for this. I was aware it was her idea but hadn’t explored her work in more depth until now. She’s an amazing speaker.

  4. Also a POC, and I have been in just about every one of these situations!!! Thank you for this.

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