Over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of discussion in our Facebook group about intersectionality and the Women’s March held last Saturday. Today we’re sharing excerpts from posts by members of our community, with their permission.
I’m not attending a women’s march today because I’m tired of being expected to show up for things that don’t take all my identities or that of the people I love into account. I’m tired of how non-intersectional feminism works to erase my story and force me to identify with femininity that does not work with or for my black queerness.
Some of you are conscious of this and are marching for your rights, the identities you hold, and for your sisters and femme siblings who too often find their voices silenced or shouted over in space that works to uphold a vision of white, middle class narrative of womanhood, femininity and feminism.
But others of you need to be reminded that possessing an ethic centering women is not monolithic in nature and there are women who don’t feel safe, valued, or acknowledged in your midst…
Anne Dunlap, a United Church of Christ pastor and activist, marched in Denver, where she received this response to her buttons at the march.
It’s not even 9am and I’ve already gotten an “all lives matter.” From a white woman. In a pussy hat. Please, white women, learn about intersectionality. Our work is incomplete and even harmful without it.
Kwame Pitts, an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America pastor who blogs at Trybal Pastor, marched in Chicago. She shared her thoughts, both misgivings and hopes, last week via Facebook Live video.
Maggie Jorgensen, a pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA) who marched in Cleveland, got pushback on this post when she shared it in a Pantsuit Nation successor group.
Reflection on the (white) woman’s march: it seemed like a party or a social event. I thought about Standing Rock and Black Lives Matter. Women there are putting their LIVES on the line. We just wore cute hats, carried fancy signs and saw our friends. We had nothing on the line. My hope is that we will listen to our friends of color, we will follow their leadership, we will go to their protests, we will support them with our lives.
Wil Gafney, Episcopal priest and Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas, reminded us:
Not all folk are equally imperiled in this nation. Not all folk are equally targeted by the new administration. Any work that doesn’t start with these truths is not justice work.
Erin Counihan, a Presbyterian Church (USA) pastor who marched in St. Louis, responded to praise for how “peaceful” the marches were.
It is easy to protest “peacefully” when the full weight of government and society aren’t standing on your neck. We white, straight, cis women have no business “celebrating” how “peaceful” it was yesterday. That’s our privilege talking. And we need to recognize that.
Katie Mulligan, a Presbyterian Church (USA) pastor in New Jersey, offers some post-March thoughts about the commitment needed in learning to do anti-racist work.
“Don’t shame the first steps of resistance.”
Look. Don’t spend a lot of energy being defensive.
Listen to the critique.
If it applies to you or stings a little, quietly do some self-reflection.
Change course as needed.
If it doesn’t apply to you, then water off a duck, carry on.
You’ll find out soon enough if you were right about that.
It isn’t news that white women are late to the party. It isn’t even really news to you, which is why you’re feeling shame.
Just nod and say, “Ok, yeah.” And do better.
And for the record, there is no magical point where you don’t fuck up anymore. You’re not going to get there. But it’s for sure that the deeper you get into this, the sharper the critique. So practice resilience.
And I wrote this for our Weekly e-Reader before the march:
Some voices say that we cannot afford to be so hard on each other in a time when there are forces we must resist, but I would amend that.
We cannot afford to forget each other in a time when there are forces we must resist. We must remember that there are life experiences and points of view different from our own, open conversation instead of assuming it will arise, inviterelationship instead of taking it for granted. The responsibility to act always lies with those of us who benefit from privilege, whether it derives from our race, our level of education, our economic advantage, our orientation, our gender identity, our ability, or our religious identification.
About the RevGals Anti-Racism Project: As a majority white organization incorporated in the United States, the leaders of RevGalBlogPals feel called to confront systemic racism in the U.S. As a global ministry, we feel called to oppose minority oppression and racial injustice in all nations. We hope this book discussion will be a step toward awareness and away from unconscious centering of whiteness.
Our discussion of Threading My Prayer Rug: One Woman’s Journey from Pakistani Muslim to American Muslim, by Sabeeha Rehman (Arcade Publishing, 2016, available in hardcover or for e-readers), will begin next Wednesday, February 1.
RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.