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Nicole Bedera @NBedera
, 17 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
Taking a break from my Twitter hiatus to bring you a thread about what intersectional feminism really looks like at a protest---and what it doesn't. @uofusds, I'm talking to you.
Last night, I attended a Kavanaugh protest in Salt Lake City. And I was jazzed for it. Protesting reminds me that there are other people who care about an issue as much as I do. It's a place to get new ideas about how to fight the good fight. It just feels good.
That wasn't at all how last night's protest went.
In the name of "intersectionality," the organizers of the protest put on a cookie cutter protest that barely mentioned Kavanaugh at all. The introductory speaker forgot to mention the one women's organization that was present. Men insisted on taking the mic first and last.
One (white male) speaker actually admitted that he hadn't written a new speech for the Kavanaugh protest. He resorted to his regular talking points, which made no mention of women or sexual violence in any form. Not a single woman of color had been invited to speak.
To put it bluntly, the organization co-opted the momentum from women's anger at the Kavanaugh confirmation for their own political agenda. Instead of organizing a group of motivated folks on issues we cared about and are experts on, they lectured us about what we should believe.
And all in the name of "intersectionality."
To be clear, this is NOT intersectionality.
An intersectional agenda isn't an easy way of glossing over issues and insisting that everyone present stands up for whatever thing you care about. It's the opposite of that. It's the painstaking hard work of understanding how each issue affects people differently.
It's taking an issue--like Kavanaugh's confirmation--and putting in the work to know how it will affect women, people of color, LGBTQ folks, people with disabilities, immigrants, etc. and then talking about each of those intersections to inform everyone in attendance.
It's bringing in experts to speak from each of those perspectives, not relying on the same old boys club (or white women's club) to be the mouthpiece of the movement and take credit for the hard work of multiply marginalized folks.
Intersectionality is putting in the time and effort of to make your protest truly inclusive. That means making sure the pace of the march and the route it takes are appropriate for someone with a physical disability. It's making sure the route is well-lit for women's comfort.
And--I can't believe I have to say this--but your protest cannot be intersectional if it doesn't feature women of color as speakers and in leadership roles. Intersectionality came from women of color. To use the term without empowering them is co-optation. Always.
In the name of uplifting the people doing the work, a thank you to the friends and fellow protesters who inspired this thread through our conversation last night, including @KayelaLB and @sasha_zudova (who always deserved credit, but also a chance to give permission for the tag).
And on the note of empowering women of color, who are the women of color protesters, organizers, and activists who deserve a follow? Give them a shoutout in the comments.
To start, my favorite activist book is by @ProfessorCrunk. For academic work on activism, @BlackFeministMB. @jallicia, @jazdhill, @FauziaHusain, @chriss_in_bloom are great follows, too.
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