Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices: Fighting for women's rights doesn’t need to be a group project

Recently, there has been a rise in discussion about women’s rights and, with the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, it’s now more prevalent than ever. Women have been discussing how to protect our rights in all forms and how to take action to help. This has led to discourse about things like protests and who to protest with. 

There have been plenty of conversations on social media, specifically from white women on TikTok. One user, KayStarzy, went viral for her comments on women’s rights and the need for BIPOC involvement, especially Black women.

I believe we all, as women, should be fighting for our rights as a community. The BIPOC community should not be involving white women in a “combined” effort.

Before I’m accused of “hating white women,” let me be clear. I understand it’s not all of them, but frankly, they are always the snakes in the grass we can’t see. As a BIPOC woman, being in beneficial, non-parasitic relationships like friendships and marriages with white women is fine. The issue lies with white women getting involved with BIPOC women in a parasitic way, which typically happens when politics are involved. 

When it comes to politics, white women have denied their participation in our oppression. They’re still stealing our cultures, being exposed for racist behaviors and oppressing us through jobs, social media and voting. They are still using the “white privilege” card in all areas to either oppress or attack other communities.

This isn’t the first movement white women have taken over. Body positivity wasn’t so loved until they colonized it; now, all of a sudden, plus-size is beautiful. They took over the suffrage movement in the ‘20s and in doing so, gained rights but only for themselves. Even in 2020 so many white “allies” went to protest simply for trendy pictures and to agitate cops then pull back and not actually be an ally.

Unfortunately, white women are white before they are women. 

This goes back to the women’s suffrage movement. During the 19th and 20th centuries, Black women played an active role in suffrage. Despite their hard work, white women like the National American Woman Suffrage Association prevented Black women from attending their conventions.

Black and other BIPOC women had to march separately from white women in suffrage parades, though without them, the 15th and 19th Amendments might not have been passed. 

Even women’s rights heroes like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were not exempt. Anthony is quoted as saying, “I will cut off this right arm of mine before I will ever work or demand the ballot for the Negro and not the woman.” 

After working with Frederick Douglass and American Equal Rights Association, Stanton and Anthony later went back on this work, which led to the dissolution of the organization. They refused to support the 15th Amendment, which secured Black men the right to vote in theory.

Stanton sent Douglass an address stating her views, which are filled with racist stereotypes about Black and other BIPOC men and refer to some of the men as “Sambo” and “Yung Tung”. During an 1890’s suffrage meeting in Atlanta, Susan B. Anthony asked Douglass to not appear onstage with white women, because it would seem inappropriate to appeal to white racist voters.

Despite their suffrage activism, Black women didn’t get the right to vote until 1965. Indigenous women didn’t get the right until 1962. Asian-American immigrant women were denied until 1952, and Latinx women didn’t have that right until 1975 when the Voting Rights Act got an extension that prohibited discrimination against language minority citizens. 

Where were white women then? Where are they now, when each minority faces a different — often lethal — set of challenges from our oppressors? Roe V. Wade being overturned is detrimental, it’s truly a female issue but even now it will affect BIPOC women differently than white women. Some people swear it has nothing to do with race yet making headlines is GOP Rep Mary Miller who said the overturn was a victory for “white lives” at a Trump rally.

Now we’re “all together” like this is High School Musical because white women need our help?  

It’s time that white women stand on their own instead of finding a movement and colonizing it.

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