I had every intention of staying out of the Ferguson debate. Not my arena. I like to hate chickens and pigs, and not other people (j/k I hate everything). So this post is only tangentially about the events in Ferguson and more about white feminism, which is a thing that I may have some personal experience with. Being white. And occasionally feminine.
So here’s what I see when I look away from the news and back at my social media feeds.
Oh look, another race/class/gender debate. OK. Good, we’re talking. But here’s the thing: this is a debate that comes hard on the heels of #yesallwomen. It comes at a time when #yesallwomen have specifically and clearly told #notallmen to shut the fuck up, listen, and stop trying to drive the debate, usually with this soundbite explanation:
Take a minute to read that sentence. It explains why no, at this point the discussion does not need to be about how the victimized class should be aware it also hurts the victimizing class. Because these two things are so far from equivalent that it’s not even funny to me, and I tell dead baby jokes.
Now listen to this:
White people are afraid that the police will detain them unfairly and fine them. Black people are afraid that the police will kill them.
And yet what I’m hearing all over social media is “omgeez, one time the police stopped me for jaywalking and I was very frightened so I totally understand what the people of Ferguson are going through, and I didn’t react violently so they shouldn’t.”
This is exactly the same goddamn argument that every man who bitches about a woman crossing the street to stay away from him is making. But this time I’m hearing it from women who I thought actually understood the laugh vs. kill argument. I’m hearing it from women who had my back on Facebook, in person, in debates about whether women should act differently toward men vs. whether men should change the system.
Dear White Women*: Your fear is not the same. I do not doubt that you once felt fearful, guilty, or uncertain. But I also know, as a white woman that has been stopped by police and been fearful and uncertain, your fear is not the goddamn same. This is not your time to express your fear or to pretend your experience is equivalent. This is your time to shut the fuck up and listen. This is the debate we just had, and you. are. on. the. wrong. side. this. time. You do not get to determine what a reasonable response is to a situation you have never been in and never will be. You don’t get to police other people’s fears or tell them that if they act a certain way or dress differently they will be safe when empirical evidence shows us that no they are not. Seriously, where have we heard that one before? If you really need a rubric to figure out when to shut the fuck up, try this:
If you’ve heard it from #notallmen already? Shut up. This is your chance to get an education. Educate yourself. Your friends have a hard enough time without having to tell your ass stuff you can find out from Google. Shut up. This is not your turn to speak. Shut. Up.