Hello Ms. Young,

I wonder if you would explore this specifically with women of color in mind. Women of color--and in particular, black women--deal directly with both racism and sexism. I often find that, in groups I've attended with different races/ethnicities of women, that WOC tend to focus on racism while white women tend to continually recenter the conversation to gender issues.

Many WOCs, and my experience is mostly with American women, believe the issue of racism affects them more than sexism or gender issues. In fact, many WOCs I have met emphasize that their nonwhite male family members and friends are treated so badly due to racism that sexism seems an aside. They explain this situation as a matter of ALL white people, including women, having an advantage over their nonwhite husband/father/uncle, etc.

Wouldn't a human being who must deal with both racism and sexism have a better sense of which has greater impact? Isn't it MORE likely that a human being with a particular social privilege will be less likely to perceive it as privilege?

In other words, wouldn't women of color — and black women in particular — be appropriate commentators, generally speaking, on this?

I would add something else: WOCs, or for that matter men of color, who can 'pass' as white have yet another unique view on this. Wouldn't it be relevant to ask how a person who is perceived as both white and nonwhite may perceive these things? Women who are perceived variously as white and not--and I am one of them--often notice a significant disparity in how we're treated. My experience is that perceived 'whiteness' has given me things I don't get otherwise. After over half a century of life, I can say without a doubt that looking white has huge advantages, all else being equal, because in my case all else is equal in that comparison. This method is one way to remove all other compounding variables: the nonwhite person who is variously treated as white and nonwhite. This is an anecdotal commentary, but I have heard this echoed from a number of white passing WOCS: we get treated better when perceived as white.

Importantly, how do Black women who can pass as white feel about this? They know what it feels like to be female, black, and be perceived as both black, nonwhite, and white. I would think they would be the best 'lived' authority as to where the intersections lie.

My point is that the intersections aren't equal. White women (c. 5% human race) are the only privileged women, on a collective basis, on this planet. All other women (c. 45% of the human race) do not have this whopper of an advantage. Patriarchy subordinated c. 50% of the human race, worldwide, at an apparently unknown historical point prior to human documentation; we don’t know when it started. White supremacy subordinated c. 90% of the human race, ACROSS genders, for the last 500 years. BOTH of these should be considered. Both are still very active, worldwide.

Making this distinction would allow for some of these racial issues to come out, because women of color--who also deal with sexism and patriarchy--will be able to use BOTH actual LIVED experiences to comment.

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