Tag Archives: women of color

In Solidarity With #ThisTweetCalledMyBack

18 Dec

Last week, a collective of the seven of the most incisive and insightful feminist/womanist social and cultural critics working in contemporary digital media, who are Black Women, AfroIndigenous and women of color, began a social media blackout. Over the past five years, across various social media platforms, they have created what they describe as “an entire framework with which to understand gender violence and racial hierarchy in a global and U.S. context“, one which is deeply analytical and highly critical of mainstream feminism and heteropatriarchy, as well as cishet activist movements. We at Sisters of Resistance have often engaged with, been challenged by, and learned from them and their work.

And yet, as they explain, far from being celebrated and embraced for the enormity of the work and contributions they have made to 4th wave and digital feminism, their body of work has been colonized, plagiarized by mainstream white feminism and mainstream media while they themselves have been vilified, said to constitute ‘Toxic Twitter”, had their livelihoods threatened and their physical and mental welfare put at stake. Rejected, harassed and provoked by people in mainstream media, academia, and the non-profit industrial complex, who at the same time hijack their prolific and movement-inspiring thought and theory, this collective of women is taking a stand against the status quo with this statement and their conspicuous absence from Twitter.

Here are some of the questions that they ask:

In an age where young women often have cell phones with internet access before they have access to healthcare and social services, why are so many so quick to demean the work of digital feminism in the hands of Black women? When depression, anxiety and disability make it so that getting out of bed, much less into the streets, is a debilitating challenge and risk, why do we demean social media and tell people they cant fully engage without taking up physical space? Whose interests are we centering if we constantly hyperfocus on the limits of grassroots social media, instead of the impact and possibilities, while not making the physical spaces safe or accessible for these women?

They point out that an expanded understanding of violence is necessary to address the kinds of issues they and many others like them/us face and experience, even within “leftist” and “activist” circles:

Once we expand our understanding of violence to include plagiarism, harassment, gaslighting, emotional abuse, ableism and exploitation of labor, we find huge fissures in a movement that the women we are prescribing solutions for fall through on a daily basis. We find a replicated system of violence that prioritizes those closer to systemic and hierarchal values of bodies rather than anti-violence.

They challenge those who will listen to consider the following questions, which are incredibly necessary for our time:

“How do we, as a movement, engage unaffiliated women with no institutional covering or backing, on the grassroots level? How do we close ranks around these women in both digital and physical spaces so that they can continue this work? There is a refusal to legitimize the words of women of color without the backing of academia, established media, and non-profit monikers. How do we then legitimize the lens with which marginalized women of color view their lives and the spaces where they are actually allowed to assert their agency?

The collective includes: @tgirlinterruptd, @chiefelk, @bad_dominicana, @aurabogado, @so_treu, @blackamazon, @thetrudz

Those who have signed in solidarity include: @blackgirldanger, @cheuya, @notallthots, @jazzagold, @natashavianna, @mizzblossom, @sarahkendzior, @scATX, @lilybolourian.

At the same time, we wish to call to mind @redlightvoices, who we believe has been very much a part of this same wave of work, and who expressed many of the same sentiments during the time that she was still on Twitter.

We have so much respect for all of these women. We offer them our solidarity and support in their decision to step out of the Twitterverse and assert their humanity in the face of such despicable systemic discrimination and harassment. We stand with you! #ThisTweetCalledMyBack

READ THEIR FULL STATEMENT HERE.

Individual personal statements are also being posted here.

Read more about the groundbreaking work by radical women of color, This Bridge Called My Back, the 1981 anthology, to which the conversation #ThisTweetCalledMyBack refers.

Reality TV Exploits Women, People of Color, & Children

6 Nov

Sisters of Resistance have long opposed the misogynist, negative portrayals of women, working class people and people of color in reality TV shows. That circle has recently expanded to include children, exploited in such shows as “Toddlers and Tiaras” and its follow-up, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” We would like to call your attention to this clued-in article by Jennifer Pozner for the New York Times Opinion Pages in which she looks at this disturbing cultural phenomenon.

so much wrong with this picture.

Read the article in its original location at the New York Times here.

London 2012 Olympics: Unwrapped

27 Aug

In the wake of the 2012 London Olympics, we are cross-posting Ashok Kumar‘s radical analysis of the elite-serving “tradition”/distraction of the masses that is the Olympic Games. You can read the complete article at Ceasefire Magazine.

We close with links to a number of articles from various sources who don’t all agree with our stance on the Olympics, but provide critical insight into the ways women athletes of color are scrutinized rather than celebrated for their accomplishments, a particularly ignominious trend in light of such overwhelming successes this year.

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Hosting the Olympics is often presented to us as an ideologically neutral opportunity to boost tourism and sports. In a thought-provoking piece Ceasefire Magazine’s Ashok Kumar outlines a clear and consistent, yet barely noticed, pattern of the Games being used to fundamentally restructure the host City to the purposeful exclusion of its working class and ethnic minority residents.

As London prepares to host the 2012 Summer Olympics, startlingly little critique has surfaced in the mainstream press. With the exception of the trivial issue of ticket prices, most of the city remains transfixed, internalising the dominant narrative. This process precedes each Olympic games, one that is written and distributed by and for the real Olympic profiteers; a nexus of powerful interests that sees both short and long term gains in each host city.

This highly profitable, publicly subsidised, sporting event always attracts the major, and wannabe major, cities of the world, using any and all methods to entice an unaccountable Olympic committee, each flexing their political muscle to ensure theirs is the next chosen location. The Olympics take billions of pounds, yen, dollars of their host countries’ tax revenue to build magnificent stadiums and housing facilities, militarise the city, trample civil liberties and construct elaborate installations with shelf lives of a few weeks.

Read the rest of Ashok Kumar’s article at Ceasefire Magazine.

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Haters Need to Shut the Hell Up About Gabby Douglas’ Hair [Jezebel]

The Gabby Douglas Hair Controversy…Unwrapped [Sporty Afros]

Caster Semenya and athletic excellence: a critique of Olympic sex-testing [Somatosphere]

UK weightlifter Zoe Smith responds to criticism of women’s weightlifting as “unfeminine” [Zoe Smith’s Blog]

Racist/sexist/ageist disbelief  of Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen’s world record [The Guardian]

Racism and prejudice against Serena Williams’ celebratory dance [The Guardian]

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And to anyone seeking to belittle the great feats of athleticism these women have achieved, we got one thing for you:

Why White People Talk Shit about “Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls”

16 Jan

“Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls,” parts 1 and 2, by actress and comedian Franchesca Ramsey are recently released YouTube parodies of the “Shit Girls Say” series that have gone viral. Predictably, the videos are causing an uproar amongst white people attacking what they see as Ramsey’s “racism”, when in fact what she is doing is illustrating, in no uncertain terms, some of the many ways racism continues to be inflicted on people of color.

Sisters of Resistance read an excellent article over at New Black Woman critiquing these kinds of responses, some of which we would like to share with you here. In it, she explains why white people have reacted so vehemently to what Ramsey has brought to the surface with her videos, which are the”microaggressive” forms of racism experienced by people of color on a daily basis. She also reminds those who took offense of the historical and structural context that makes it impossible for Black people and other people of color to commit racism against white people. We encourage you to read the whole article for its insightful analysis.

And for further info on the topic, check out this article by Jamilah King, over at one of our favorite anti-racist news sources, Colorlines.com, and hear what Franchesca Ramsey herself had to say about the reactions.

Continue reading

Women We Admire: Wangari Maathai (1940-2011)

16 Oct
Wangari Maathai

Africa's Green Queen

WHO SHE IS: Wangari Maathai (1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011), Kenyan feminist, environmental and political activist.

WHAT SHE HAS ACCOMPLISHED: In the 1970s, she founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental organization that empowers women by planting trees to restore their environments. She was one of the first to pioneer this practice among  grassroots campaigns for environmental conservation.  According to The Guardian, “Her disdain for the economics promoted by Britain, the World Bank, and the west was huge: ‘The people at the top of the pyramid do not understand the limits to growth and they do not appreciate that they jeopardize the capacity of future generations to meet their own needs,’ she said.

Her solution, to work with the poorest and most vulnerable women to repair their own degraded environments and empower themselves, proved inspirational. Planting trees became a worldwide symbol of hope and community regeneration. The Green Belt Movement she started evolved into one of the first truly worldwide, grassroots, self-help organisations.” (John Vidal, Guardian, 27 Sept. 2011)

Women of the Green Belt Movement planting trees

Over the next 20 years, tens of billions of trees were planted by women as a direct result of her work. For this, she became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize (2004) for “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.”  She is known as one of Kenya’s greatest heroes of the last 50 years.

WHY WE LOVE HER: Mathaai’s politics was on point and her principles were put into practice. She combined environmentalism and feminism; she built an ecofeminist movement that went worldwide, united female poverty and environmental concerns to fight against patriarchy and for climate justice.  She was fearless, responding to extreme political repression with public acts of resistance, such as home barricades, hunger strikes and clashes with the police. Through it all, she wore traditional dress, repping for her culture. She remained defiant in her personal life as well, refusing to allow her husband to control her. Her passion, her example,  and the grassroots model she used will continue to inspire women as we fight for revolutionary change.

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