(The Root) — Helping someone recognize their privilege is always a difficult, uncomfortable process. This is especially true for women of color, who often have to educate white women on the racial privilege they enjoy in the course of pushing against the misogyny they all face.
The trending topic #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen, which trended nationally for two days on Twitter and has since spread to other social media platforms, sought to do just that. The tag was started by writer Mikki Kendall during a discussion of the downfall of “male feminist” Hugo Schwyzer, an admitted manipulator and antagonizer of women, especially women of color.
Many women were put off by the way some white feminists dove in to defend Schwyzer against the women of color he said were now bullying and attacking him. That rift is indicative of the one that has long existed in feminism: the prioritization of white women’s issues and stances over those of women of color.
#SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen vividly illustrated the ways in which white women shut out, silence and ignore women of color, intentionally and accidentally. It was an uncomfortable conversation, as conversations about privilege with a privileged group usually are. But it was a necessary conversation, and while some weren’t able to grasp the point, labeling the hashtag racist and divisive, some took the opportunity to listen and learn.
#SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen is when Femen gets to decide the Muslim women’s attire.
— فَرَحْ Farah (@RoadToPalestine) August 12, 2013
— Ayesha A. Siddiqi (@pushinghoops) August 12, 2013
#SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen when you idolize Susan B. Anthony & claim her racism didn’t matter.
— Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) August 12, 2013
#SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen when “sexpositivity” never includes women of color.
— SaltedCarmelSouthron (@deluxvivens) August 12, 2013
#SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen white feminists get seen as ‘heroes’ for starting feminist societies,but WOCs are brushed off as ‘aggressive’