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Wednesday
Oct302013

SolidarityisforWhiteWomen and Apparently So is Strategy

I was just having a discussion with @RoslynHolcomb and @Zabeth8  on Twitter about my growing hatred of Twitter hashtag activism. It is ranking right up there with online petitions.  I like a good online fight, but hashtag wars rank right up there with watching cat videos. Hashtags are basically Twitter's Dewey Decimal System. They are quite useful, but they are still a tool.

I was on blogcation when the whole #solidarityisforwhitewomen hashtag broke out. #ThankYouLAWD! For those who missed the earlier uprising, the hashtag was basically a laundry list of grievances Black feminists have against White feminists. The grievances range from the substantive to the petty - real and imagined.

Well apparently NOW/Feministing/ the NSA/Who Cares At This Point  hosted a panel and they discussed #solidarityisforwhitewomen. I actually got an email invitation to the event, and I ignored it:

When the hashtag #solidarityisforwhitewomen was created this past summer it caused an uproar on Twitter, with Women of Color questioning their position within the feminist movement.  Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 22nd, the National Organization for Women (NOW-NYC) will host a conversation that will explore how Women of Color feminists navigate their experiences within a society where solidarity has been commonly defined by white women. We will discuss recent developments within the feminist movement as it pertains to Women of Color and how race, politics/policy, pop culture/media and economic developments affect their lives. Panelists will participate in a roundtable discussion, engaging in conversation with one another conducive to defining Solidarity for Women of Color by the end of the evening. I am excited and so honored to share that I will be one of the panelists sharing my thoughts on this provocative topic. This is a FREE event so if you can, please join us. 

Well they didn't get pre clearance from the creator of the hashtag and they didn't invite the creator to be a panelist and another round of online sniping ensued.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So apparently you can't discuss a hashtag on Twitter unless the creator of the hashtag is present and approves. And I'm being facetious here folks- this is far deeper than the hashtag, but instead of addressing the underlying grievances, we're fighting over a hashtag. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And yes, I like to do my own online sniping, but over things like rape, torture, murder, movies with all-Black casts, but not hashtags. Second, I'm not seeing the connection between Feministing and the panel other than a writer over at Feministing covered the panel and hosted a webchat. 

 

 

If the creator wants to control the hashtag then print up t-shirts sell them for a dollar and then get a trademark with the USPTO.  And if you have not purchased the domain solidarityisforwhitewomen.com - then you're a fool not to.    Too late. Someone purchased the hashtag while they were fighting about it on Twitter. LAWD Have Mercy! 

 

 

Can we be real here: this isn't about marginalized women. Sorry I'm not buying that.

 

 Yep- it's about money. 

 

 

Marginalized Black women don't give a rip about a bunch of privileged BLACK and WHITE women fighting over a hashtag.And if you want to scream "we're not privleged," I don't believe you. I know two things about you right now A) you have an internet connection and B) you can read. You're privleged. 

 

 

And so the way to address this is a hashtag?At least one person on Twitter got it right.

 

 

 

If you want to attack imbalances between Black and White feminists then start carping at the cable news networks who don't book Black feminists.

 

 

Demand that publishers explain why Black feminists weren't offered book deals. But before you demand that information from the publishers, we probably ought to know how many Black feminists pursued a book deal. 

The blood of Black women and girls is running in the streets and out brightest minds are fighting over who can use a hashtag. 

 

 

No, they didn't steal the hashtag, you gave it away. Isn't that the point of a hashtag, to spread a message? 

So folks is there any strategy associated with the #solidarityisforwhitewomen other than using it to memorialize grievances? Is the goal to create solidarity at some point or just talk about its nonexistence? And did anyone get in Michaela angela Davis' grill about "appropriating" the hashtag for her piece over at Jezebel?

Black and White American women were doomed from the start, introduced through treacherous, asymmetric, viciously competitive, inhuman maddening circumstances. And perhaps it’s because we’ve never dealt with the underlying issues of our tragic start a hashtag like #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen can trend in the summer of 2013.

Women’s movements can’t move in America until we have courageous honest discourse about the sadistic historic foundation of the relationship. We were systematically cultured to distrust and envy each other. We were never meant to be sisters.

I say it’s time to define, for the first time, who we are as Black and White American feminists, time to be fearless, fully equal and free for real. #SolidarityIsForAllSisters Jezebel

I don't have a dog in this fight. My only caution to my readers is be careful about pledging allegiance to #hashtags, just because someone is clever and can put a # symbol in front of a catchy phrase doesn't mean you want to ride off to war behind them. 

I washed my hands of Black feminists online when they mocked my horror and sadness over the Dunbar Village gang rapes on the blog BrownFemiPower. August 12, 2007. I haven't forgotten. I'd link to the post where the Black feminists attacked me for not embracing "transformative justice", but the blog was shut down because White feminists made her mad. Yeah, that was a brillant strategy. 

 

 

If "the work" means protecting your #hashtag then you aren't doing "the work." The "work" would have been to legally protect the phrase #solidarityisforwhitewomen to be a steward of its use - you didn't do that. Nor have you paid the $4.99 to reserve the domain name of the same name.   TOO LATE- someone with a clue purchased the hashtag last night during the Twitter fight. If "the work" is monetizing, then you should have already have announced a book deal. The moment the hashtag blew up, you should have been contacting agents if they weren't contacting you first.  UPDATE: My sources indicate that book deals were offered/discussed, but have not been accepted. UPDATE to my UPDATE: No book deal ( source, you're on my list naughty list!)

 

 

I can bet $1000 someone is writing a book called Solidarity is for White Women - right now---while you're fighting on Twitter over a hashtag. So what exactly is "the work" associated with a hashtag once it has been created?

I've been called CRAZY plenty of times online, so I ought to know... Y'all CRAZY!

UPDATE: I woke up this morning and bought the domain name for a hashtag I frequently use- I also checked the availability of solidarityisforwhitewomen.com and it looks like someone out of the UK already purchased it this morning.

 

 

The time y'all spent castigating Feministing.com should have been speant passing a collection plate to protect "the work."

UPDATE: NOW NYC just responded as well:

In response to NOW-NYC's recent event referencing the hashtag #solidarityisforwhitewomen:

On October 22, 2013, NOW-NYC's volunteer Activist Alliance hosted the event, Activist Night: 'What is Solidarity for Women of Color,' an event inspired by the recent conversations relating to the hashtag#solidarityisforwhitewomen started by Mikki Kendall. The panel discussion explored how feminist Women of Color navigate their experiences within a society where solidarity has been commonly defined by White women. Event information can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/465994880174466/

At the event, the hosts clarified that the event was not intended to reapprorpiate #solidarityisforwhitewomen, but that Mikki Kendall's hashtag was inspiration for the conversation. You can view the first hour of the discussion here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgczM5z6Fkc&feature=youtu.be.

Activist Alliance members invited potential panelists by tweeting at them directly or emailing them when an email could be found in connection to their work. Mikki Kendall was invited via Twitter from the onset of outreach. Alliance members reached out to many other influential speakers through the same initial tweet but received a response from only a handful. 

We would also like to clarify that this event was not hosted by Feministing. A representative from Feministing was invited to speak on the panel, who then referenced the #solidarityisforwhitewomen hashtag in her recap of the event on the Feminsting website. 

We hope this helps to clarify the event's production and intentions, and does not detract from the efforts to engage in a critical dialogue.

 

Update of the Update: Here is video of the panel and the first thing out of the host's mouth is that Mikki Kendall started the hashtag. 

Update of an Update of an Update:

The hashtag creator isn't writing a book because it would be controversial and she thinks it wouldn't sell. #GurlStop! #You'reNotSerious 

 

And one more update:

Maam. You have ridiculous sense of ENTITLEMENT. And are seriously detached from reality. In SEVEN years of blogging- I have never gotten pre-clearance to blog about whatever-in-the-hell I want to blog about. And I'm not going to ask permission from you NOW! Get a grip! Your supporters are cheering you right over a cliff. #YouDontWantNONEofThis. Go back to whining to feministing. 

Reader Comments (19)

I am so, so tired of the fighting between black and white feminists.

October 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKali

Me too. Y'all should stop.

October 30, 2013 | Registered CommenterThe Blogmother

LMAO! This is hilarious! Gina you are crazy (in a good way). You never cease to bring the funnies even when you're being serious.

October 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNEECY

A black feminist did start a column for feminists of color on Salon. com. Here is the submissions call:

The #solidarityisforwhitewomen conversation about digital feminism and inclusion has made it clear that more publications need to create opportunities for feminists of color to share their perspectives.
To help create some of that much-needed, inclusive space, Roxane Gay will be curating work from feminists of color (note that this does not limit gender), to be published at Salon. If you’re interested in submitting your work, e-mail rgay@salon.com.

My friend was published on the website. Other than that, she did let a great opportunity get away. I won't bash the creator of the #hashtag, like most internet sensations, she was probably surprised it resonated with so many folks. While she did kind of drop the ball, it was still tacky for them to not ask her to be part of the panel. In the end, it is about getting one's name/work out there.

October 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertj

Karnythia has a history of being all hat and no cattle. Back during 2009, there was a big racefail by some white writers in the livejournal speculative fiction fandom and out of that came the idea from Karnythia of starting a small press for speculative fiction writers of color. Karnythia took a bunch of donations of money, website development time (from white women, no less) and stories, did not do anything with them except go party with the money and nobody ever called her out on it.

The small press never happened, mostly people didn't get their stories back and that is par for her course. Usually her "projects" are smaller-scale things pitched to her livejournal list or flat-out pleas for cash to move/pay rent, but maybe they are tired of bankrolling her and she's finding out not everyone is as easy with the cash infusions for no results as livejournal can be.

October 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterM.

@M I'm going to need some receipts. What evidence do you have that Karnthia took people's money and partied with it. Show me some links!

October 30, 2013 | Registered CommenterThe Blogmother

http://sjwar.blogspot.com/2012/08/what-ever-happened-to-verb-noire.html

This guy sums up how much money they got and the timeline. The numbers are accurate from the funding counter they used (they definitely crossed 10k). The posts she made about using the verb noire donations for living expenses are permission-locked at livejournal.

The website for verb noire is still up, she blamed her partner for why nothing actually happened. I don't know anyone who was able to buy the anthology he mentions.

I am a fandom nerd of color who used to be one of her hundreds of livejournal "friends" (on livejournal this just means you follow the journal, not necessarily e-friend) and thought at the time that it would lead to something cool-- a new small press. But when the whole thing fizzled out, I went back a little and finally started seeing the pattern of her talking up something on livejournal and then shaking the old tin cup.

I guess this is how livejournal hustlers can keep it up. The relevant posts are locked and when people get disillusioned, it's difficult to retrieve the relevant posts, if at all.

October 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterM.

Honestly? I think it's pretty funny that she was bitching on Twitter all day about them not including her, when they DID invite her and DID give her credit from the get go. You have a solid point. IT IS A FREAKING HASHTAG. IF YOU WANT TO OWN THE IDEA BEHIND IT THEN GO OWN IT. DO SOMETHING WITH IT. ffs. Yes, part of the problem in mainstream feminism is that white women appropriate things from black women. This is also a huge problem on THE INTERNET IN GENERAL, where we have bred a culture wherein it becomes cool to NOT cite your sources (because you seem more in the know by withholding that information and ensuring that others cannot get to it protects your image of superiority). That does not mean it is okay to not include the original author on the conversation but ffs, they tried. SHE DID NOT RESPOND.

So many excuses for why you're not doin' anything but yelling about crap on Twitter. All talk no action. Maybe she just doesn't white women around at all, and that they actually took notice and started to listen to her just upset her because it gives her less freedom to openly bitch about them at all hours of the day.

October 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterOh Please

I don't understand why she is mad about not being invited yet didn't have the smarts to buy the domain name. To me, this appears to be all about money from speaking & appearance fees, so one would think she would at least be business savvy enough to buy the domain name at least. She didn't have to add content right away.

I understand why they are angry they have not been able to monetize their content online. There are some white feminist blogs with money behind it but they aren't getting a cut. Gossip, sports and rap websites seem to dominate in the black web world

October 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterblkchik

No one has ever cared more about black women than other black women. So is it any surprise that white women, black men or anyone else that's not black have done little to nothing for black women since the beginning of time? I think its time for black women to create their own networks, communities with their families and men that respect them etc. This is the only way that black women will ever have what they deserve in life. Instead of begging other races of people to help them. Because that's never going to happen.

And this hashtag this black woman arguing about she could have easily bought, but chose not to. If she is an activist that only uses twitter or the internet to bicker online like high school, but not actually doing anything in the real world, then she's a hypocrite.

October 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterErin

Well, I haven't seen cat fighting like this on twitter since..hmm yesterday, when I logged on my teenage daughter's account to see what she was up to. Are these women for real?

October 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMonique

@Monique - Yes, they are for real. And their supporters have said I had better stop talking about this issue "for my own good." So apparently they are going to take me out for pointing out their lack of strategic vision.

@Erin I don't get the begging either. if you establish your own power structure, then people can deal with you as an equal instead of a parent -child relationships.

@blkchik actually, she was invited.

October 30, 2013 | Registered CommenterThe Blogmother

There is a heightened sense of emotion online, I suppose because like-minded people are easier to find than ever, and there's no need to verify, validate, or vet anything before jumping on a bandwagon. It's the virtual equivalent of some schoolyard throwdown where people are yelling "Fight! Fight!"and some come running, and no one really knows what the hell is going on, but pick sides anyway. And it's so stupid because, unlike in real life where there may be chaos, adrenaline is pumping, you may not have much time to react, you can step back from the computer, take a breath, verify the facts, etc.

People need to have several seats. Like others, I don't understand begging people to engage and/or acknowledge you. And I have to wonder if Mikki Kendall knowingly and deliberately incited conflict in a need for attention. She conveniently forgot or missed the invitation to the event? Because it's straight up lazy not to verify anything before throwing out accusations. And now folks are threatening Gina? Are these adults or children?

Maybe because I don't engage social media while at work, but I always wonder, "Do these people not have jobs? School? Something? Where do they find the time to engage in 140-character sniping for hours?"

October 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDaphne

I agree with everything you said.Black women routinely have their intellectual property-Wait, I can't say stolen from them because many (not all) of them never do anything with it- appropriated? IONO what to call it but they come up with all kinds of ideas and never get paid from it.Which reminds me I have to get some more money up to buy some books from those smart enough to capitalize off of their writings,as I have directly benefit from what they put out for free on their blogs,Instead of giving it all away for free on the net.

I had a Hallelujah moment @ this-"I washed my hands of Black feminists online when they mocked my horror and sadness over the Dunbar Village gang rapes on the blog BrownFemiPower." I won't call any names out but I have had certain interactions with certain black feminists online and many of them do NOT believe in accountability for black men and boys.Many of them NEVER show up for black women and girls victimized by black men and boys.Especially those who have sons themselves.

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTruth P.

Wait a minute.I missed the part where they threatened Gem.We got photo copies or anything to hold against them in the court of law?I would not put it pass some of the women to harass other black women.Like I said they are not the type to hold black men criminals accountable for their violence against black women and girls.Many of them showed up for solidarity is for white women and said nothing when it came to black power is for black men.Be careful Gem.

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTruth P.

I think what you are saying, Blogmother, is that things like clever hashtags are only truly meaningful in the context of a broader strategic undertaking. That perhaps we're too caught up in the tactical, and don't focus nearly enough on the end game. That the store goes on unminded while we're off engaging in futile arguments with white women about things like the precise level of 'cultural appropriation' involved in some tawdry, utterly boring, white starlet’s performance act.

The black woman responsible for this meme seems to have some talent for generating ideas that resonate with a certain demographic of black people who use the internet. But, for reasons that are not quite clear, has difficulty leveraging these ideas into something that will: a) strategically (there’s that word again) advance her own career, and/or, b) cushion her bank account (at least in this instance, I cannot speak to the above allegations)

I love a trenchant takedown by a black woman as much as anyone. It provides a measure of psychic comfort to know that as a black woman I’m not imagining racism and sexism. And it also helps us to determine the dimensions of the problems we must confront. BUT, what I have come to realize, and what you’ve been preaching all of these years, is that the takedown is not enough—we have to find a way beyond this. We have to find a way to channel our anger, indignation, and exasperation into something that is, quite literally, self-serving. I know that much of our inability to do this is rooted in our collective lack of proximity to power—most of us have only an outsider’s view, and are thus lacking a firm grasp on its internal machinations. But maybe that just means that we have to do some reverse-engineering.

Black women need infrastructure. And even though I’m not even sure that I know what that means, I’ve sure as hell been trying to grapple with it this past year. I’m can’t say that I’m close to a solution, but I can say that my thinking is now oriented towards doing. I’m asking myself what I can do/create/bring to fruition that will both serve my own interests, and constitute some sort of infrastructure that is capable of furthering the interests of other black women. I’m thinking in terms of tangibles.

I know this is way too long and disjointed. But I think it’s the culmination of the emotions that your postings have provoked in me since you’ve returned from blogcation. Anyways, along with a host of others, I do appreciate your presence.

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered Commentershlbshl

@Shlbshl AAAW look at you! Actually it wasn't disjointed, you articulated what I was attempting to say much better than i ever could.

November 1, 2013 | Registered CommenterThe Blogmother

Mikki was asked on Huff Post and several other sites what white woman can do to better support women of color and she could say nothing of substance. It seems really juvenile. Some of the hashtags were non-sensical. For example, one tweet was "#solidarityisforwhitewomen because Madonna is called an artist while Rihanna is called a bimbo." Um, perhaps some of these people are too young to know but Madonna was called a bimbo for the first 2 decades of her career and is still called an (aging) bimbo as often as she's called an artist.
Another tweet was "#solidarityisforwhitewomen when self care is seen as an indulgence"
What exactly does this have to do with white women?
Mikki found that throwing racial bombshells is the quickest way to get attention. It gets a reaction from white women who will either respond by trying (without any success) to placate her or those who get defense (which she and her follows will ridicule). It will get a reaction from WOC some of who have legitimate gripes and some who want to dump their emotional baggage wherever they can, something WW do to men often also.
I am a white woman and used to call myself a feminist. I don't anymore because I have seen the inappropriate amount of blame, manipulative guilt trips and angry mob mentality many direct towards men indiscriminately. I think Nikki and her ilk do the same thing towards white women. It is also interesting that it is framed as white woman vs. WOC as though blacks, Asians and Hispanics haven't had some serious racial tensions and violence. It is also interesting that WW are slurred as racist for being perceived as not doing enough for WOC yet black civil rights activists have a long history of bigotry towards other groups and I don't see the lack of advocacy scrutinized. Sonny Carson (who black Dems in NYC wanted to name a street after a few years ago), Al Sharpton, and recently Marion Barry have ben very vocal anti-Asian bigots. I do not see black women doing much to support their Asian "allies" in these situations, if anything the opposite.

November 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjane

Jane you sound like a Male Apologist trying to throw shots at Feminism (being so mean to the poor men! those feminists!") and the woman of the topic. Take your White Woman's Imagined Oppression elsewhere. You're trying hijack this post and make it about you. I hope you weren't purposely being so transparent (and racist). And I'm glad you don't call yourself a Feminist---the movement has enough apologist like you around..All you would do is whine and shed White Woman's Tears like the rest of the crybaby White Feminists who like being obtuse when it comes to racial issues. You've been seen't.

November 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMissIce

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