I’m a Black Feminist. I’m a White Feminist. For the last time, I’m FUCKING mixed.

The other day I thought about making a “race issues” section. I’ve been wanting to incorporate this topic more into the blog, but I’ve hesitated as my original goal was to have this be a “purely feminist” blog. Yes, it’s okay. White cis-hetero issues are important. These issues matter. But I’m mixed. In the last few days I’ve realized that by keeping this a “feminist-only” blog, I am ignoring an entire side of feminist issues that directly impact me and those like me. I’m half-white, and by remaining reserved on black feminist issues, I am by default engaging in “white” feminism. I am just as white as I am black and so I am a black feminist as deeply as I am a white feminist. I’m mixed, people, I’m mixed.

For 20 years I’ve looked out of my eyes and seen a mostly-white world looking back at me. I never thought about the impact an upbringing like this could have on my world view. How could I? This was my norm. I was lucky enough to go to a very diverse school and live in a small multicultural oasis in the US. Still, there were a lot of white people, and we all learned the white narrative: Things were bad before, but in the 60s everyone had their movements and now everything is fair and beautiful. With the onset of adulthood, I moved to Europe, and out of the curiosity that comes with such extreme independence, I began to learn extensively about current black issues… and that’s when the holes in this American-Dream story I’d grown up believing were immediately exposed. Before educating myself on the very real, very common, very deadly current state of white supremacy in our culture, I was able to live in a world without any. Is that not the ultimate white privilege?

My true turning point was Trayvon Martin. Trayvon Martin changed my life when he lost his. How could a guy, just 17, a year younger than me at the time, be killed by a neighbor while all the other neighbors were in their homes on the phone with the police? I listened to those tapes. I knew there could have been more to the story like mass media continued to suggest, but a neighbor gunning down a kid who was walking home after buying some skittles and tea from the convenience store seemed pretty straight-forward to me. When George Zimmerman walked out of our “Justice” courts free, the illusion of my pseudo-white privilege died forever.

I’m mixed.

I realized the “justice” narrative that I’d been told my whole life — that the system is responsive, fair, and dependable — did not actually apply to everyone. With the deaths of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, Jessica Hernandez, Aiyana Jones, and countless others, it became clear that a very dark narrative currently governs the lives of People of Color in America (as well as globally), and even as a member of the educated upper-middle class, it probably doesn’t apply to me either.Because I’m mixed.

Like global warming, it’s not a discussion. It’s a fact:
Social oppression exists. Still.
Posts on this topic will be written on this basis.

I cannot be fully white, because I am half-black. I cannot be fully black, because I am half-white. I was raised to be proud of this and I feel good about “who” I am racially. But the truth is, I’ve never felt fully accepted by either group. And when talking to one group about the other group, I always find my credibility being challenged once the conversation has reached a certain depth. “But you’re only half?

Some people are confused, especially those who know me personally or from childhood — I’m friendly and energetic and have friends with backgrounds from all over the world. We lived harmoniously, and now I’m so charged about racial issues that have never so directly applied in our narrative. To many, my passion has been received as aggressive and unnecessary. But you’re only haaaaaalf.

This leaves me in a situation where I’m forced to “prove” myself and the issues I bring to the table. It’s not just white people. I have memories stemming back to elementary school where black kids would dismiss me as “too white” for them. The truth is, I still do have a lot to learn about blackness. My white family did not (could not) prepare me for the realities at the other side of the spectrum. That doesn’t change my blackness or my whiteness, and having to “prove” either is just a distraction to the revolution.

It’s bullshit. And I’m not engaging in that type of interaction any longer.

I also get the impression that some people — white, mixed, and black people — feel personally attacked (“Well I’m not like that!”).

I have news for you all:
Of course not every black person is defensive towards me, the same way not every white person is violently and blatantly racist. Racism does not live exclusively under a pointy white KKK hood. It is a social construct that anyone can be affected by. Many people aren’t even consciously racist. The most powerful racism today is the apathy towards the gentrification, rape, murder, job/housing discrimination, and police harassment of people of color.

My entire genetic make up stems from a long lineage of slavery, rape, dehumanization, and the installation of global systems that cause mass destruction in marginalized communities, from the perpetual poverty and state violence that black people face in America to the overwhelmingly unstable, corrupt, and dangerous state of the original black home: Africa. Black issues are BIG and COMPLEX and are inseparable from WHITE PEOPLE.

As a black and white person, I cannot turn a blind eye to these atrocities. I will not condone or participate in a system I know my racist, slave-owning, colonizing ancestors set up through some of the worst violence known to global human history… violence enacted upon my OTHER ancestors. <- That is my feminist mantra.

The remnants of these historical infractions not only lie as scars on white society, but are visible in black America in the perpetuation of wounds cut by a new, but just as racist, mutation of the Jim Crow system. The system we live in today is paranoid and aggressive. It shoots first and asks questions second. It has created laws of “justice” that throw millions of marginalized peoples in prisons for decades and decades and decades. It executes family members and friends on faulty evidence. It rapes. It murders. It destroys.

The fact that skin color can still evoke such violence in America has set off wild alarm bells inside of my soul. This is not an active attack on anyone personally, but a direct challenge to everyone systemically. I can’t erase the depths of history, nor can you, and if we try, we are only erasing identities. That is genocide.

We currently live in a society that does everything it can to convince us that it’s a perfect system, ordained by god, superior to all other cultures, and never to be questioned. It works to ensure that white people put their heads in the sand and people of color remain self-hating, self-denying coons.

True feminism refuses to be silent on this ENTIRE situation. It takes all of this into account, and fights. If black feminism is not white feminism, there is no real feminism.

Truly, I am surprised by the feminist community when it comes to this. I feel like the LGBTQI community are able to express who they are, be accepted, and then talk about issues and be heard by their community with empathy and support. I don’t see the LGBTQI community sticking their noses up at intersex lesbians, asking to see their credentials on intersex and lesbian issues. Are you lesbian enough? Are you intersex enough? Why do I have to do that as a black and white person? Why do cisgender-hetero women need to compartmentalize the cause? Are not all of us fighting for gender equality for all people, regardless of skin hue, ability, sexuality, education or finances?

Yes? Show of hands.

THEN, hear me:

Race issues and feminism are inseverable.
There is no one on this earth personally responsible for 600 years of global colonization. But every decision we make that ignores the problems that exist today because of this history is actively perpetuating a racist, sexist, destructively phobic system. There’s a difference between passion and anger. There’s a difference between hatred and determination. I’m not making a “race issues” section for this blog, the same way this is not going to be a “black feminist blog” or a “white feminist blog”. I’m a mixed feminist. And with being mixed comes intersectionality. Whatever color. Whatever economic status. If we see injustice, all of us must stand up and fight it. That is who I am as a mixed person. That is how I’ll address feminism.

Welcome to the Fourth Wave. We will be the Wave fighting for Intersectional Justice. And for intersectional justice, we must acknowledge the social systems in place for the oppression they construct, and fight to dismantle them. These systems include police brutality, mass imprisonment, and mass detainment. These include anti-choice laws, anti-feticide laws, trans-defense strategies.
But this is also a fight against the culture, too. A culture where rape jokes are made on television like they’re funny when 1 in 5 women (of all COLORS) are sexually assaulted. A culture where although we have the medical, educational, and technological advancements to ensure all women have reproductive rights, our politicians continuously try to police our bodies. A culture where the lowest women on the labor totem pole (African, Native, and Latina women) make between 53 cents and 64 cents of a white man’s dollar.

White women aren’t paid a full white-man’s dollar either. Their 22 cents lost matter too. Their cries are no less valid. But the struggle must be taken into context. We cannot fight for one woman’s 22 cents and not fight for another woman’s 47 cents. Fourth wave feminism does not take the babies and leave their mothers in a disaster zone. We will not ignore the woman locked away in a cold jail cell for miscarrying her baby, or the woman who spent 6 months in an all-male prison. We will not dismiss the 20 women who have been killed in Philly, Miami, and New Orleans just this year.

Feminists need to embrace intersectionality because people like this really exist and spread their ignorance:

That is a white girl attacking me and my sisters. It’d be no different if she were a black woman attacking me and my sisters. I am both black and white and here’s the truth: There is no gender equality for white cis-hetero women without the liberation of black women, women of color, and LGBTQI people. And liberation starts with a paradigm shift in the dominant society (aka white mass America).

Black feminists, white feminists, we are all fighting the structures of White America. Fighting White supremacy does not mean hating white people. I can explain this best with an anecdote:
I study in Germany and one of the best classes I’ve taken here was called “US Society and Culture in the 1950s”. Essentially, for a semester I learned all about how the end of WWII, the Civil Rights Movement, and The Cold War changed American society. The good, the bad, and the ugly that can still be seen today. Now, most of my fellow classmates and professors are white. But because they’re German white, we talk about race issues in America very neutrally. No one in the class has slave or salve-owner ancestors (except me). We can talk openly and critically because nothing said makes anyone feel personally uncomfortable. Saying “black” racist, and saying “white” hate. That’s the space I want to exist here.

I’ll bring balance to this rant by finishing with a Buddhist quote I learned from a woman in Northern Thailand: A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, rather it’s a person with a certain set of attitudes.

I’m not fighting just for the conditions of equality, I’m fighting for the mass frame of mind that accepts only a world in which everyone is seen as equal and valid. That takes intersectionality. Let’s do this.

2 thoughts on “I’m a Black Feminist. I’m a White Feminist. For the last time, I’m FUCKING mixed.

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