In brief: In answer to Professor Brittney Cooper’s call for white feminists to step up and explain Patricia Arquette’s massive backstage fail, Justice and I discuss the reality of the pay gap. (…and a few other things)
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It’s always a pleasure to be on with Justice! After the Oscar’s “Hooray!!” …. “oh wait….” from Patricia Arquette, a discussion on the reality of pay inequality was necessary. I stumbled through a definition of “intersectionality” and explained that if Arquette’s gaff was an anomaly most of us would have simply rolled our eyes. But this is how a big part of White Feminism rolls: call on women of color and queer people when it suits us and disregard their needs and voices when it’s uncomfortable or inconvenient to address and amplify them. With the big audience for this example, intersectional feminists jumped on a chance to utilize the opportunity.
I quoted some friends, rattled off some statistics (most courtesy of my latest Best of the Left Podcast activism segment on #EqualPayDay), and emphasized that it is the job of intersectional white feminists to “collect our own” when this happens. The onus to continually explain the humanity of marginalized people and the way that language and erasure matter should not be on the oppressed groups. White women and professional white feminists as a group have more power and a bigger mic; dissecting the “101” of what’s wrong with Arquette’s comments is on those of us with the privilege to ignore it if we so chose.
Here’s the always awesome Brittney Cooper’s tweet:
Links to on-air references:
“I’m serious abt this #AskAWhiteFeminist thing. I got mad shit to do today & I’m tired of BW always having to explain this ish. Not today.” — @ProfessorCrunk’s call for intersectional white feminists to handle Arquette’s backstage debacle.
“Patricia Arquette’s Spectacular Intersectionality Fail” by Andrea Grimes at RH Reality Check
Also, go read the other scathing pieces that are out there. It’s really heartening that SO MANY outlets — who could have just stopped at the acceptance speech and gushed over her equal pay reference — immediately jumped on the backstage add-on and had them published by noon the following day. A very unexpected B+ overall to progressive sites.
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