Hi Dennett! Thanks for reading and your thoughtful questions. I’ll try to address them as best I can from my own personal experiences, views, and from working with these two groups most of my life.
Women of Color are not involved as much and they often excluded. Come join doesn’t yield any fruit for women of color, so often times they just don’t waste their time. For instance, people of color struggle to vote every election cycle, because White Republican men and women change the rules of the game to suit them. White women are no where to be found. You hear the stories, and see it on the news, but no White feminist advocacy groups activate on our behalf. White female votes are rarely if ever in jeopardy, but Women of Color, in particular, African America and Native American votes are.
Voting is important for us, and could help us get resources for our communities, our schools, etc. But that seems to escape feminist. It’s an injustice. A certain racial in justice. But where are White women and White feminist? Still talking about kids come across the border and being detained, Brett Kavanaugh, Trump, and Dr. Ford. Who cares if Black women, especially elderly ones get to vote? White women (especially those in the media) tell people what (and who) the world needs to care about.
Women of Color are simply tired of trying to get White women, especially feminist to see what White men are doing to us attending marches in Washington, etc., those women are correct. Many women of color work hourly, or must use preserve their time off for things like keeping kids when they get sick, etc. Also, how does spending hundreds of dollars staying in expensive hotels, eating out, paying a baby sitter etc., translate into anything for them? It doesn’t.
As far as the reason we don’t have the resources, support and leisure as the White feminist, just look at history. These women are likely to have families who left them resources, generational wealth. A home, paid for their college, had an insurance policy left for them, stocks/bonds, trusts… White families also always got the better jobs, with better benefits, especially jobs that helped grow the middle class. This was especially true for my family. My parents used to come home and complain about discrimination when it came to promotions, raises, etc.
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Most Black and Hispanic women don’t have those things. Even when we do get a decent education, a good job is not promised to us. We face discrimination (hair, skin color, name, etc). Our birth names get our resumes tossed in the trash. We are labeled. This makes many people of color take jobs that pay less or that we are over-qualified for. Again White women don’t endure the same challenges Women of Color do, and they seem to not care. Let’s not even talk about the undermining and other issues we endure when working with White women, especially feminist. We all have stories.
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If the White feminist of their movement(s) really cared about Women of Color, they would already know this stuff about us and would not add (or be) impediments in our way. White Feminist would help us remove barriers. They would not compete with us, exclude us, ignore us, or distrust us. They would make sure Black fathers get jobs to care for their families so their wives and significant others can join the movement with the time needed to make it better, more fruitful for us all. We feel they don’t care because they have privileges and resources. They also have protections from White men. There livelihoods are okay, so life is good.
This stuff is apart of this nation’s history, and we Women of Color are competing with and fighting against all White women just like we are with White men when it comes to social justice issues, or at least that’s what if feels like. We keep talking about the same stuff over and over again, and these feminist White women tend to be comatose, unaware of much of anything about us. So when feminist invite Women of Color to join them in these movements without taking into consideration of our plights, our slights, our histories, our lack, and our needs…
We stay in home. We stay where it’s safe. We identify more with other women who know what this experience is like, other Women of Color. An experience we endure from birth to death, especially when your skin isn’t fair enough to pass as White.
The problem isn’t Women of Color, the problem is disengaged and unconcerned White women. These women are like wolves in sheep’s clothing, except they have so much history with them we can’t be fooled. Sadly, they have shown us too many times where we stand when it comes to women’s issues. Even the term “women’s issues” needs to be fleshed out. We need poor women’s issues, Women of Color’s issues, etc. We are more different than we are the same most times.
The bottom line is the feminist movement consists of the women just like the ones you describe, educated, upper middle class-wealthy, privileged women. We really don’t have anything in common much. A few basic issues (like caring for kids, child care, maternity leave, reproductive health, violence). After that,White feminists’ issues and Women of Colors’ issues are as different as night and day.
I hope this aids in your understanding of why Women of Color don’t (or can’t) always join these movements.