I kind of feel like maybe I'm shooting myself in the foot about the whole whiteness vs. intersectionality thing, but I just read a tweet that I think maybe helped me figure out how to explain why I am hesitant to release BW's claim to the term intersectionality.

Intersectionality was coined as a term to address race within feminism. It is specifically meant to address the experience of black womanhood. It has come to be accepted as a catch-all for anything that isn't cis/het, able-bodied, middle class white women.

While in theory that's... okay I guess, the reason it bugs me is because of the larger context of erasure of WoC from feminism. We already had to kind of separate ourselves out in order to be able to get a word in edgewise about race, and this word addresses that experience.

There is a long history of colonizing the work of WoC and erasing them from the narrative. And by that I mean all WoC, not just black women. Why it bugs me that intersectionality just gets opened up as this broad term is because as I said in some of the comments, it ends up being a buzzword label that WW get to use to declare themselves allies without any required change in ideology. It ends up just being used as a defense against criticism of racism, and then gets used against us.

See, the first step in erasing our contributions to the narrative is to change and redefine the idea so that it's no longer at odds with the idea it was originally aimed at. That's already happened. Intersectionality now means anything from race to class, to disability to gender and that's not necessarily bad. But it was meant to address RACE. And now it no longer does that.

Advertisement

So now what we have is a bunch of WW declaring themselves intersectional and enlightened, without ever having to deal with or tackle their own racism. And that's not good. Because that's what being intersectional means. So they get to say they're progressive and enlightened without actually living the theory as it was intended. There's that quote that says you can't use the master's tools to destroy the master's house. We've effectively created our own tools, had them stolen, and then had them used to renovate the master's house.

And while I'm not about to around policing WW's use of the word, I am wary of people using it devoid of context. I have already had to tell at least on person here that intersectionality does in fact refer to black womanhood, and not just random broad strokes of intersection as she claimed, regardless of what the mainstream definition currently is. (This was weeks ago)

Honestly, it's a hard discussion, and I can't pretend that I have the answers. I'm sure there are WoC who feel differently than I do. All I really wanted to do was kind of open up the dialogue a bit. I just feel like, opening up the definition is the logical conclusion of putting this thinking into practice, but we're not there yet. And by trying to force that change to early, we're basically once again demanding that WoC put their issues on the back burner to their own detriment. Because guess what? Do you know what poor women and sex workers and gay women and trans people and disabled women and women with mental health issues all have in common? LOTS OF THEM ARE BLACK. And we should be allowed to used a theory that we came up with to address our issues, without being forced to let other people in.

Advertisement

Now that I've (hopefully) cleared that up, here to lighten the mood, are all the reasons why Tina Fey is terrible, and exactly the kind of white feminist I was talking about in my essay. Seriously, I knew she was problematic but WHOA, she's way worse than I thought.