Black feminism vs. white feminism

Kyra Robinson | Opinion Editor

Feminism has become prominent in our far more liberal society, but like many social justice issues, there still remains a racial barrier that is very difficult to penetrate.

Mainstream feminism history begins with women such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who were leaders in the suffrage movement and Margaret Sanger who was the founder of Planned Parenthood. However, this history does not resonate with black women because black women could not even vote until the 1960s, and the origins of Planned Parenthood are not exactly so kind to the black community with the founder being a supporter of eugenics, according to Time.

Junior Political Science major Aman Tune works with Planned Parenthood and finds the history to be alarming.

“I think it is unacceptable,” Tune said, “We can’t change the past, but we can change the future, and I think it’s important we acknowledge that past so we can continue to move forward with a brighter better future for Planned Parenthood.”

Even today, though a lot of white female political figures promote equality of the sexes, they fail to acknowledge the disparities between the plight of white women and the plight of black women.

According to Vox, white women are paid 79 cents to the white man’s dollar, while black women are paid 63 cents to the white man’s dollar. However, the lack of acknowledgement that there is a difference between the pay between a white woman and a black woman is a huge flaw in the movement.

What white feminism fails to do is regard the privilege that white women have over women of color. The recognition that there is a difference between what white women experience and what women of color experience could easily propel this movement to where it needs to be in 2018.

“White feminism is specifically geared towards allowing white women into spaces that white men are in, but black women feminism is about uplifting black women and other women of color,” Tune said.

Tune explained that she thinks white feminism is only beneficial for white women, while black feminism is about inviting black women into spaces that have not always been inclusive and making sure their voices and concerns are heard.

Tune is right. What black feminism does is acknowledge the history of the pain black women have endured. Black feminism is why black women turn out to polls in significant numbers, sometimes for candidates who do not even benefit them. It is the ideology that if we help other oppressed groups, we too will be helped.

Unfortunately, it does not seem as though white feminism tries to protect the rights of women of color. And unfortunately, white feminism still takes up a large part of our modern day politics. Black women suffer significantly more in America in various areas, including in the medicinal world, yet it is never discussed at a large enough scale.

The quicker mainstream white feminists directly acknowledge the significant difference between their struggles and the struggles of women of color, black women significantly, the quicker we can truly unite to take down the true enemy: the patriarchy.


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