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White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism…

White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color (utgåvan 2020)

av Ruby Hamad (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1236176,203 (4.38)2
Titel:White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color
Författare:Ruby Hamad (Författare)
Info:Catapult (2020), 304 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek


White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color av Ruby Hamad


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Dang, I liked that. I don't often read feminist treatises written by people outside of the US, and it was great to get Hamad's perspective. This felt like sitting in on an awesome women and gender studies class--it satisfied my love for academic discussion, while providing relatable read world context. I expected I'd listen to this at quite a slower rate than I did, but I was hooked on Hamad's writing. As a white person, this pushes me further to identify how I utilize white feminism in my own life to transgress against people of color and work towards embracing a more inclusive feminism. ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
Called “powerful and provocative" by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, author of the New York Times bestselling How to be an Antiracist, this explosive book of history and cultural criticism reveals how white feminism has been used as a weapon of white supremacy and patriarchy deployed against Black and Indigenous women, and women of color.
Review from Amazon
  stlukeschurch | Mar 8, 2021 |
Hamad has a great article in The Guardian about how white women weaponize "tears" (feelings of hurt, an injustice, etc.) to protect themselves from criticism of women of color. This book expands upon that idea and takes it further by discussing how dynamic happens and when it is deployed.

Hamad uses examples from politics, pop culture, interpersonal relationships, etc. to discuss the power white women have over women of color. Why white women are often seen as "innocent" or the hurt party. Why women of color are seen as the villians, the party that has done wrong, is wrong in some way or framed to take away from the issue at hand (too loud, over sexualized, too emotional, pick a cliche).

While I agree with many of her critiques and still like that article, this book is not without its issues. There's a review on Goodreads that states the author writes in such a way that the reader is expected to know what she is talking about. This can go both ways. A constant lack of understanding beyond a 101 level is frustrating and doesn't move the conversation. On the other hand, I also got the impression that this was done because the author had a particular theme that doesn't capture the nuances of some of her arguments.

For example, Hamad discusses some of the dynamics in recent presidential elections. She critiques Hillary Clinton and says she tried to contact Australian feminists and writers not to hail Clinton's expected win to be a great win for all women, to no avail. She criticizes some of the cult around Clinton (fair) but does not seem to address that Clinton herself has been targeted for decades of sexism, that she was a "first" in many ways and that Black Women came out in force to vote for her.

Hamad also mentions that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib would go on to endorse Bernie Sanders over Elizabeth Warren (who has similar politics) and the three were criticized for endorsing the "old white guy," while asking in the same sentence that women of diverse backgrounds may have many factors that shape their politics? Again, I certainly don't disagree but Hamad does not seem to understand the particular dynamics and why people were unhappy that Tlaib was seen booing Clinton and that it was not a joke.

The booing incident happened in early February 2020. Hamad's book makes no mention of Kamala Harris or Tulsi Gabbard (who had both dropped out by then). Again, maybe that wasn't part of Hamad's book frame but while I don't necessarily disagree with Hamad's criticisms I also think that as an Australian either she nor the people she spoke to quite understand some of the dynamics and nuances of racism, misogyny, misogynoir, as it is in the US.

Do I think these issues make the book bad? No. Do I think this book should be read alone? Also no. It's helpful if you know more about some of the people, issues, incidents, etc. she talks about and you might get more out of it. I would also say it's probably a book worth sitting with. Books by journalists rarely sit well with me and that's the case here--her Guardian article is really great but this sometimes felt like too much with not enough structure (and perhaps maybe not an understanding that is needed in certain places).

Borrowed from the library and that would be my recommendation. For the right person it could certainly be a great purchase but you might want to read it first before deciding it's right for you or something you want to keep in your library. ( )
1 rösta HoldMyBook | Nov 4, 2020 |
Well this needs to be read by everyone, but it’s white women that need it the most to become aware of their complicity in white supremacy. The subtitle speaks of white feminism betraying women of color, but this book points out the history of all white women (not just feminists) doing the betraying. I have seen the tears Hamad speaks of from white women as a weird defense, and it’s always annoyed the crap out of me. I hope that more self-awareness can be gained from reading this book. As Hamad has perfectly put it at her conclusion: “White women can dry their tears and join us, or they can continue on the path of the damsel—a path that leads not toward the light of liberation but only into the dead end of the colonial past.” ( )
  spinsterrevival | Oct 29, 2020 |
With all the fuss over “Karens”, those insufferably vile American white women whose bigotry surpasses the worst of the all-male white supremacist alt right, it is very timely that Ruby Hamad is releasing her book White Tears/Brown Scars. Its thesis is that white women use tears as a first line weapon to deflect from their racism. This is a new angle for me; I’d never heard of it before. And certainly never seen it myself. It is as fascinating as it is horrifying.

Hamad, and a couple of dozen women of color from around the world whom she interviewed, have long noticed this curious phenomenon. At first, every one of them thought they had overstepped and offended a white woman, and thereby damaged an important relationship with a potentially useful and powerful ally. And so they pulled back rather than hurt their own cause. But over the years, they have come to realize they are not the problem, but that they have been the continual victims of a white female ruse. White women cry when accused of insensitivity or racism. They turn the tables on their accusers: “White feminists have learned to silence us by claiming that our pain is hurting them, “ Hamad says.

It is both amazing and sad how many times and ways this tool gets employed. It seems to be instinctive rather than conspiratorial. And it seems to work every time. Pity the poor white woman. Faced with a real victim – a woman of color – she instead positions herself as a lifelong victim, being accused of victimizing other women! How could anyone think that of her? And so she bursts into tears in the midst of the conversation, effectively ending it before any accusation can be examined for what it might be worth. It is one-upmanship over victimhood, like something out of Monty Python.

Hamad says it shows white women are part of the problem, not the solution. They have decided they are a rung above women of color, and have hitched their wagons to white males on the top wrung. It is more important for them to be associated with white supremacy than female equality. They would rather fit into the hierarchy of the patriarchy where they are a poor second, than with women of color, who are an even poorer third. Women of color are a lower caste, definitely not worth associating with. The result is this odd habit of white women suddenly bursting into tears when accused, challenged or even just discussing their own racism.

Hamad’s book, which evolved out of a magazine article that took her on a whirlwind of global interest, led of course to attracting all kinds of trolls, from whom she learned a lot. But it also gave her thesis depth. It led her to investigate the history of white feminism, going back in history and around the world. She found the same things everywhere she looked: white women dominating slaves and other women of color, crying crocodile tears, and posing as white supremacists beside their white supremacist males. And when it wasn’t tears, it was the damsel in distress. Poor, weak, innocent and fragile white woman in a hostile land. They carved their own little niche in the patriarchy, and defended (and continue to defend) it with every wile and tool at their disposal. Tears are easy for them to produce, and the results are quick to let them off the hook and deflect to another conversation, away from themselves.

To her credit, Hamad also found that racism is not merely white over color. All over the world, as I have written numerous times, master races dominate and discriminate against other races. The Malaysians discriminate against their Chinese co-citizens right in the constitution. Mexico has an entire caste system based on skin shades. So does India, where skin lighteners are in constant demand. Japanese men are simply superior to everyone else in the world, especially their own women. It’s not just American whites.

As for European whites, everywhere they settled, they dominated everyone else, by extreme force. Women could accuse any man of another color of assault or rape, and they would all but automatically be sentenced to death or long prison terms. Protecting the supposed virtue and saintliness of white women got baked into laws promulgated by top wrung white men. Raping a black woman wouldn’t raise an eyebrow (Jezebel that she must be). But accusing young black Emmett Till of just whistling at a white woman, even though it wasn’t even true, cost him his life. Simply bumping past a white woman in a crowded hallway could mean execution.

Hamad, who repeatedly mentions she is olive-skinned with voluminous hair she pointlessly struggled to tame for years, found her fellow victims attacked with the same labels: toxic, bully, hostile, troublemaker, aggressive, irrational, divisive. The coincidences are global. The so-called sisterhood of feminists is an exclusive club for hypocritical white women. They will climb the corporate ladder, pushing women of color aside and burying them, rather than mentoring them. Is it any wonder that so many women leading major corporations has not resulted in equality for women employees?

It doesn’t stop at tears, either. The claimants in most US racial discrimination lawsuits resulting from affirmative action are white women, Hamad found. It appears “We can be both targets of racial abuse and perpetrators of it.”

Ironically, perhaps, it is the women of color, most especially Indigenous women, who are at the forefront of environmental rights,” because their own rights are inseparable from the battle for the environment.” They don’t have time for the games white women play. Their families and their lives are at stake, and they make real headway and real progress without the drama white women engender. Because they have to.

Hamad ends with two contradictory thoughts, as befits this mind-numbing discovery: ”I’d be lying if I said I knew how to reconcile all this,” she says.

And “White women can dry their tears and join us, or they can continue on the path of the damsel, a path that leads not toward the light of liberation, but only into the dead end of the colonial past.”

David Wineberg ( )
1 rösta DavidWineberg | Jul 20, 2020 |
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