October 11, 2011

"…It’s a betrayal when you act as if you have no clue in 2011 about what feminists of color endure within our own community when we make the decision to trust in and build with White feminists. Patriarchal men and women of color are like Piper Laurie, doing everything to derail us whenever we align ourselves with you. When we throw on our jackets to head out to the meeting, they stand at the top of the stairs yelling, ‘They’re going to laugh at you’…

We have faith and show up anyway only for you to pull the cord on prom night.

(Side note to those anti-feminist people of color: now isn’t the time for you to say, “I told you so.” That’s when you go from acting like Carrie’s mother to making like her gym teacher. Instead of joining the laughter, you should be standing with us as we call out the racism rather than using it as an opportunity to gut check us on our feminism. Don’t bother if for no other reason than it’s just not going to work for you. All you do when you attempt to discredit feminism by throwing an instance of racist arrogance of certain White women in our face is play yourself. We’re just not that fickle. With few exception, we’re not going to come “home” like the prodigal Carrie White because, as you’ll recall, her mother pretended to comfort her only to literally stabbed her in the back. Yeah, we’re not playin’ that.)…” ~Sofia Quintero (aka Black Artemis) excerpt from “They’re Going to Laugh at You: White Women, Betrayal and the N-Word”~



October 10, 2011

I’d also like to know who is “we” in this scenario. Because it’s definitely not white women as a whole, and you’re definitely not speaking on behalf of all SlutWalk organizers, nor even all the SlutWalk organizers from NYC.

The issue here isn’t simply ONE woman holding a sign. It is the repeated dismissal of Women of Color’s concerns throughout the organizing process, from the beginning of the Toronto SlutWalk until now. It is the pat excuses given for the sign holder’s actions. It is the refusal to acknowledge error, take responsibility, and apologize without undercutting sincerity with defensiveness. It’s the ignorant and racist comments/responses to the pain that sign (and the dismissal of other concerns) caused MANY people for VARIOUS reasons — all of which should have been and should be taken seriously and given adequate value and respect in a timely fashion. But they weren’t. (Still aren’t, as this newly established Page demonstrates *SlutWalk USA*.)

I find it enormously ironic that SlutWalk claims to want to hold perpetrators of rape culture accountable for their actions, yet many of the organizers and attendees can’t seem to understand that they, too, need to demonstrate the same level of accountability to Women of Color (and other excluded/de-centered groups) for the work to undo white supremacy and racism (and other ignored -isms).

As the organizers of a march where a White woman felt entitled to hold a racist sign, YES, they are responsible to some degree for not ensuring the safety of Black women (particularly after having JUST received an Open Letter telling them that many Black women did not feel safe there). To that end, (to echo Aishah), the use of the “N” word doesn’t make it safe for ALL OF US. (!)

On that note, the use of that word was NOT appropriate in this context and should NOT have been accepted. It should have been recognized as a problem by more people than a WOC ally of the SlutWalk organizers. But it wasn’t — at least not enough of a problem to tell the woman to ditch the sign. Using the N-word is not simply about making some people uncomfortable. It is a threat that comes laden with a history of rape, lynching, slavery, and the dehumanization of Black people in this country. It is a reminder of the reality that People of Color have been and continue to be brutalized by white people, individually and systemically.

Just ONE week before SlutWalk, a Black man (Troy Davis) was effectively lynched in Georgia. The Supreme Court of the US and the citizens of this country allowed this to happen — despite widespread protest and media coverage. THAT is what the N-word means IN THIS CONTEXT. It means not fully human. It means expendable. It means the erasure of Black women from the category of “woman.” THAT is totally unacceptable and inappropriate, and it’s disturbing that a white person would defend it so vehemently.

If SlutWalk’s goal is to end rape, then it damn well better figure out how to speak to everyone. Otherwise, it’s not only counterintuitive (seeing as Black women are raped, Latinas are raped, Native American women are raped, Asian women are raped, Middle Eastern women are raped) but it’s also just as broken and problematic as the rape culture it claims to be resisting, which is a culture that is fed by racism (e.g. the myth of the Black rapist, the fact that WOC are more frequent victims of rape, etc).

So, who exactly does SlutWalk think is valuable enough to gain the prize of NOT being raped?” ~ Mandy Van Deven ~


Mandy Van Deven


October 5, 2011
"…But can you appropriate a term like n****r if your body is not defined/ terrorized/ policed/
brutalized/diminished by the word? Can we use it in a context that is supposed to belie gender solidarity, without explicitly being in racial solidarity? I think not. And I am not alone… ~ Latoya Peterson, “Which Women Are What Now? Slutwalk NYC and Failures in Solidarity,” RACIALICIOUS"

READ IN ITS ENTIRETY HERE http://www.racialicious.com/2011/10/05/which-women-are-what-now-slutwalk-nyc-and-failures-in-solidarity/#more-18267

October 4, 2011
Woman is the “N” of the World?

By Aishah Shahidah Simmons

This short essay is also posted at Ms. Magazine

In 1969, Yoko Ono coinded the term and I quote “Woman is the N****R of the World.” Shortly thereafter, she and her husband, the late John Lennon, wrote and he recorded a song with that same title. 

According to Wikipedia (which is ALWAYS questionable), at that time (don’t know where they would stand today), Dick Gregory and Ron Dellums defended the song… 

Several Black feminists, including Pearl Cleage, challenged Yoko Ono’s racist (to Black women) statement. “If Woman is the “N” of the World, what does that make Black Women, the “N, N” of the World?”

Fast forward 42-years later from when it was originally coined, a White woman decides to create and carry a placard of the quote to SlutWalk NYC

I’ve been informed that one of the (Black) women SlutWalk NYC organizers asked the woman to take her placard down. She did. However, not before there were many photographs taken….

Now, my question is why did it take a Black woman organizer to ask her to take it down. What about ALL of the White women captured in this photograph. They didn’t find this sign offensive? Paraphrasing Sojourner Truth “Ain’t I A Woman (too!)?”


How can so many White feminists be absolutely clear about the responsibility of ALL MEN TO END heterosexual violence perpetrated against women; and yet turn a blind eye to THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO END racism?

Is Sisterhood Global? This picture says NO! very loudly and very clearly.

The fact that this quote originates from a woman of color ~ Yoko Ono, really underscores the work that we, women of color, must do with each other to educate each other about our respective herstories. This photograph also underscores the imperative need for hardcore inter-racial dialogues amongst all of us in these complicated movements to address gender-based violence in all of our non-monolithic communities.

Co-signing with my Sister Andrea Plaid, that at the fundamental level this photograph speaks to the very sobering reality that there is a level of acceptable racism going on within (some?) SlutWalkS (not a monolith).

There is something deeply uncanny, that in 2011, this White woman would think it was OK to create and carry a sigh with the “N” word at a SlutWalk. What on earth was she thinking? Who in the United States of Ameri-KKK-a doesn’t know that the “N” word is NOT okay to use, most especially if you’re not Black.

The StruggleS continue…

POSTSCRIPT: I have supported and I *still* support the premise of SlutWalkS. In August, I participated as a speaker at SlutWalk Philly

I discuss the reasons why I, as a Black feminist lesbian incest and rape survivor, have SUPPORTED the premise of SlutWalkS, in fairly great detail in my September 30 interview with Where Is Your Line? 

At the same time, I think it’s VERY important that EVERYONE read and discuss the very important and poignant concerns raised in BlackWomen’s Blueprint's Open Letter from Black Women to the SlutWalk,” (if you’re not on Facebook, you can read the letter here); and AF3IRM RESPONDS TO SLUTWALK: THE WOMEN’S MOVEMENT IS NOT MONOCHROMATIC.

Clearly there is an urgent and non-negotiable need for dialogues to happen in the immediate future.

Here is a short list of selected essays by some Black (American) Feminists who have weighed in on the horrific impact of both the sign and the defense of the sign.

Crunk Feminist CollectiveI Saw the Sign but Did We Really Need a Sign?

Akiba Solomon’s More Thoughts on SlutWalk: No Attention is Better Than Bad Attention” – COLORLINES

LaToya Peterson’sWhich Women Are What Now? Slutwalk NYC and Failures in Solidarity” | RACIALICIOUS
Slutwalk, Slurs, and Why Feminism Still Has Race Issues” | RACIALICIOUS



On October 6, 2011, Kimberly Acevedo, one of SlutWalk NYC organizers, posted a statement in response to the sign and has announced plans to continue the dialogue:

Here’s an excerpt:

One of our march’s participants last Saturday held up and promulgated a racist, offensive sign. She was asked to take it down by one of our organizers as soon as it came to our attention. This sign symbolizes many of the critiques about SlutWalk not being a safe space for people of color, in particular Black women. We are taking it seriously and we absolutely condemn it and are horrified by it. This sign opposes the mission of SlutWalk NYC and its message is in direct conflict with the beliefs of its organizers. …

We are meeting with many of the groups which have critiqued SlutWalk NYC directly. We are meeting with Black Women’s Blueprint. We are attending an open meeting with Sister Song. We are holding a completely open meeting on October 13 at Walker Stage from 6-8 p.m. in order to discuss how to build a fighting movement. Further, we encourage everyone to take a look at the transcripts and videos of the speeches we have posted on our website and Facebook. We know we need to grow. We have been working on growth from the beginning. There were powerful, diverse and engaging speeches at the rally, many of which directly hit upon critiques of SlutWalk. THESE are the seeds of growth in our organization. We want to start a movement that passionately wants include the voices of all people, of all survivors, of all individuals who see merit in what it is that we are choosing to combat.

We hope you will join us.


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