Dearly beloveds, we are gathered here today to put a moratorium on White women equating women’s issues with Black issues.
Golden Globe winner Bette Midler missed the mark last night when she tweeted out a quote, calling women the “n-word”of the world.
The tweet read: “Raped, beaten, enslaved, married off, worked like dumb animals; denied education and inheritance; enduring the pain and danger of childbirth and life IN SILENCE for THOUSANDS of years They are the most disrespected creatures on earth.”
If you can recall, fellow actress Rose McGowan received a wave of backlash just under a year ago for the same foolishness, after she tweeted out a similar sentiment urging her followers to watch a video and replace the word “women” with the “N-word” and then see how it “feels.”
The false equivalency here is that there already are women who are the “n-words” of the world…Black women. And to equate our compounding struggles as both minorities in sex and race with the fight of White feminism is tone-deaf to say the least. White women still carry the banner of white privilege in their fight for equality, leaving WOC and transpeople left silenced as their voices dominate the feminism space. We saw this cycle play out when the #MeToo movement, helmed by Tarana Burke, was co-opted by white famous feminists who used the hashtag to tell their stories. It took the outcry of many WOC and allies to finally center Tarana and other Black women in the public conversation.
In the wake of Midler’s comments, many people took to Twitter to express their disdain for her tweet, and the misguided use of this analogy in general:
To use this saying which has been deconstructed and deemed offensive to African-Americans in this country shows lack of knowledge on issues of race and concept of intersectionality. It also denies Black women agency. I would urge you to read Bell Hooks, June Jordan.
— Rosa A. Clemente (@rosaclemente) October 5, 2018
Sighs…its so disappointing to see you use that quote. Women are highly disrespected – but don’t displace the atrocities that were done to black people by using that quote.
— Jasmine Y Stephen (@j_yvonnes) October 4, 2018
Please stop. I am 100% a feminist but this is quite is awful. It erases the struggles of black women in particular.
We HAVE to do better than this or we uphold the very systems of oppression that we are railing against.
— Nicole Gugliucci, Doctor of the Sky (@NoisyAstronomer) October 5, 2018
Midler quickly apologized for her fumble, saying it was prompted by her frustrations over the botched Kavanaugh for Supreme Court investigations.
“The too brief investigation of allegations against Kavanaugh infuriated me. Angrily I tweeted w/o thinking my choice of words would be enraging to black women who doubly suffer, both by being women and by being black,” she wrote Thursday night. “I am an ally and stand with you; always have. And I apologize.”
The too brief investigation of allegations against Kavanaugh infuriated me. Angrily I tweeted w/o thinking my choice of words would be enraging to black women who doubly suffer, both by being women and by being black. I am an ally and stand with you; always have. And I apologize.
— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) October 5, 2018