Friday, December 23, 2016

Intersectionality & Problematic White Gaze: Pantsuit Nation

It is less than two days before Christmas and we have yet another perfect example of what I have been saying about White Gaze and how people like to separate Blackness (to be bluntly specific) from being marginalized. Whether it is done maliciously or with good intention, it is offensive and proves that folks often do things from a place of privilege. Feminism is and can be a touchy subject, I personally know for a fact that I would not be who I am or where I am without the Black women in my life. With that said, this post is NOT about me. This post is intentionally meant to signal boost Black women who have been silenced by men of all races and their white women counterparts.

Before I continue do you remember or know what White Gaze means? Here is a refresher:

"The white gaze is looking at the world through a white person’s eyes. In America it is everywhere. It is in history books, on billboards, on television, in films, in fashion magazines, on the Internet. It is the world as told by white people for white people...

Most White Americans do not see it that way: they are just presenting the world as it is, the way anyone would who was being fair, honest and open-minded. Any twist it might have is purely a personal one.

They fail to see how the colour of their skin colours their view of the world. That is for two reasons:

Many live in such a white world that their white gaze is rarely challenged and so they do not even notice that it is there. Only certain black voices make it through into that world, mostly those of Rented Negroes.

Whites like to believe “I do not see race” and “we are all the same”. In a colour-blind world there is no white gaze. They believe, want to believe, in a colour-blind world, which means the white gaze should not be, therefore must not be."

Often times Whites in general and for the context of this post, the mainstream feminist community always commit the crime of exclusion to take the moral high ground. They say that "this isn't about race, it's about hate toward ALL women. But women are Black too and the "I don't see Race," erasure that inspired this post is at an all time high. Enter the highly popular Facebook group Pantsuit Nation with nearly 4 million members.

A good friend of mine, Roni Dean-Burren posted a status on her Facebook page that caught my eye. I never like friends and Black folks to feel alienated and that is what I saw...

After seeing Roni's post, I decided to do some research once I remembered that I am actually a member of the group. What I found was not surprising, but still irritating as hell. As we all know, "Progressive," "liberal" white spaces claim to all inclusive and then that white fragility, privilege, and ultimately salty tears show up.  In a recent post by a woman who identifies as a "Person of Color" describing how she was disheartened by the comments on a post that was intended to center non white women came off:

These were some of the salty ass responses:

There were over 1,500 comments with a great deal of remarks that were similar to the ones above. The amount of Gas Lighting, Tone Policing and attempted Derailing that took place on this one post prompted several Black and non Black members to leave the group. The post made by an admin that Jenny referred to in her status above was actually very interesting:

There were over 1, 500 comments with similar vitriol and white fragility in response to this status. The fact that the admin made this status/post is commendable, however there will never be unity in groups that are predominantly white. The narrative of whiteness will always matter much more than ours and I outlined the reasons why in a recent blog post:

"White People,

When we speak or post about you and whiteness in any venue, especially social media, it really isn't intended for you to share or express your opinion about the subject matter. Seemingly, you appear to have this need, a need to have a say, to give permission in order for our Black words and thoughts to have weight. The FACT is that your opinion is not the one that matters, we say what we say without need of your acceptance or approval. Our posts, blogs and other expressions regarding our experiences with you (even this one) are not an invitation for you to opine a counter argument. What y'all like to do is spew vitriol, show your fragility and tell us how we should view our experiences. You don't get to tell us how we process the experiences of our blackness and you can keep that white gaze bullshit to yourself. We did not give you permission to defend yourselves to us. We really don't want to hear it, you don't get come talking that "not all white people" bullshit while trying to claim acceptance of our experience with your racist ass counterparts...

A lot of you whites think that you "accept" our thoughts that we share, but you really don't! You spew micro-aggressions by pointing out shit like the Black on Black crime myth while still feeling like YOU somehow have a right to our bodies and minds, to give us permission. You like to think that you are more intelligent than us, but your mediocrity always shines through when you use terms and phrases coined from your white gaze. Take the example of Black on Black crime that y'all like to lean on so much, it is actually called intra - racial crime and pretty much occurs at the same rate across racial groups. But I digress, for too long we've had to go along with what white folks have told us about who we were, are, and should be. Because of this need to tell us who we should be (you know, for your comfort) tone policing and gas lighting have become tools to protect your white privilege.

Tell me the last time you went into white only spaces an attempted to correct your cohorts like you attempt to do in black spaces. You don't get to tell us how we should speak about an issue, you don't get to tone police us. You don't get to gaslight us. NO, You don't get a say on how we say or do anything. You are being told NO, and you probably should have gotten used to it years ago. Unfortunately your whiteness is..." CONTINUE READING HERE

Let's keep it real, we have to have spaces where we can be us and Pantsuit nation is not one of them.