Featured, Pop Culture, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

This “Debate” Between Jessica Williams, Shirley MacLaine, And Salma Hayek Is Every Frustration I’ve Had With White Women

Women of all colors and backgrounds have been fighting for the right to be viewed with just as much humanity as men since we first crawled out of caves. This is a noble cause that all mankind must take up. We all know this. Or at least we should. But somehow whiteness always finds a will and a way to muddy the waters. Just look at how many of them voted Toupè Fiasco into office. Look, white-cis-hetero women experience gender inequality differently than their counterparts of color in the Western world. This is no longer up for debate! Sure, we’ve all heard the statistical data about the pay discrepancy in Hollywood and Natalie Portman reportedly earned three times less than her male costar in some crappy movie nobody saw. But I bet Portman and her agents would scoff at the prospect of signing the kind of deal most black actresses make per project. Even when we’re the damn stars!

Outside of Hollywood, the wage gap is still stacked in favor or white and white-passing women. While they make $0.82 to the white male dollar, black women earn only $0.65 and Latinas are taking home a measly $0.58 to the dollar for the same work of their white male counterparts*. So yes, life for white women ain’t been no crystal stair, but to disregard the additional hurdles that women of color face every day is wrong-headed.

This, of course, brings us to the recent back-and-forth between Shirley MacLaine, Salma Hayek and former Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams (and star of the upcoming “The Incredible Jessica James” with Atlanta’s LaKeith Stanfield). They were guests at a recent Sundance luncheon where women in entertainment, including Alfre Woodard, Dakota Fanning and Kimberly Pierce, were invited to break bread and discuss female empowerment in the male-dominated film industry. You can read the full transcript here. Go ahead, I’ll wait. I’ll just be over here punching the air like Cuba Gooding the Jr. in Boyz n the Hood and fighting back the urge to cuss out the first white lady in a pink knit hat that I see.

You back?

You mad? Good, me too. I almost expect white women, especially white women of a certain age, to not fully understand the importance of recognizing and acknowledging intersectionality when tackling sexism. I don’t give ladies from Gloria Steinem’s generation a pass but we’ve come a long way baby like them slim-ass cigarettes and sometimes old habits die hard. Ms. Hayek’s ass, though?! Nawl, bonita. I would think you’d know better but just like you should have known better than to do Grown Ups (and Grown Ups 2, what does Adam Sandler have on you?) I guess you missed the memo.

What especially irked me, however, was what MacLaine fixed her mouth to say to Williams:

“Change your point of view of being victimized. I’m saying: Find the democracy inside.“

First. Of. All. When some of your mammas were burning bras and rallying for sexual freedom, women of color were fighting against that plus the over-sexualization and subjugation of our black and brown bodies plus a whole slew of racist and race-related fuckshit. A subjugation created by the very white supremacist, capitalistic system that men who share the same skin-tone as you created. And if it wasn’t for our bodies being used, abused, sterilized and mutilated in the name of gynecological research you wouldn’t have anything to access in the first place. You’re welcome, by the way!

While your grandmothers and great-grandmothers were getting their sister suffragette on and demanding they be allowed to step outside of the kitchen and work for a living, our grandmothers and great-grandmothers were already working. Sometimes two jobs. They were cooking your meals and cleaning your homes and yes even wet-nursing your children so we’ll be good and god-damned if we’re gonna sit here and continue to placate your lilly-white sensibilities while you again attempt to speak over women of color. Especially trans women of color who face each day with their very bodies in mortal danger just for having the audacity to be alive.

I’m sure (by all reports) that Williams was uncomfortable confronting these two veterans of the screen and stage. I would have been. I read her measured replies and understood the delicate act she was forced to play. To not come across too impassioned lest she be labeled just another angry black woman. I silently cheered her on reading as she further articulated her points about her black identity not being something she can just “overcome” or remove like the latest fashion. Hayek, betraying everything Frida taught her about solidarity, missed yet another opportunity to catch the knowledge Williams was breaking down. “Then that’s your journey. But I want to inspire other people to know it’s a choice,” Hayek went on to say.

Doesn’t this sound like the cries of those who blame “identity politics” for the ills of the land and not like actual bigotry? I lost track of the number of times I‘ve been asked to stand idly by or rather behind some black man and support our race while keeping my mouth shut about black women dying by their hands in domestic violence cases. If I were keeping track it would probably be equal to the amount of times I felt silenced by some white woman as she spoke over me and even for me, demanding to be the mouthpiece of the feminist movement. Why in 2017 should this even still be an issue? Why are women of color, especially black women, burdened with continuing to fight with and for people who won’t fight for us? Who won’t even listen to us?

Maybe the myth of the angry black woman wouldn’t be so persistent if we weren’t constantly faced with this ignorance. It’s tiring. But still we find a way to keep going in a world that tells us every day and in every way that our voices shouldn’t carry. I salute you Jessica Williams for daring to speak on what we all know as black women. For having the strength to persevere in a land that seems to hate us from all sides and internalizing that strength and spinning it into black-gold magic.

And because irony: “Can I interrupt, because I feel misunderstood,” Hayek later said.

Jordan Kauwling

Jordan Kauwling is an early thirties Philadelphian but she tells everyone she’s in her late thirties because she doesn’t understand how math works. When she’s not busy writing, singing, eating all the falafel or unsuccessfully finishing another craft project you can catch her talking junk on Twitter.

  • Jennifer

    “Then that’s your journey. But I want to inspire other people to know it’s a choice…” Lord, it angers me just to read those words again.

    Thank you for writing about this. What you didn’t mention — and what really sent my blood boiling — was how Hayek completely belittled her. When she told Williams to look her in the eyes (basically, her version of your mama’s “Look at me when I’m talking to you.”) and then kept calling her “baby,” I had a bunch of flashbacks. I’ve been thinking about this exchange since I read the article over the weekend. I have FB friends who didn’t see the big deal, but there was so many layers to this. Just upsetting. And, they wonder why some BW didn’t march last weekend.

    • miss t-lee

      Yeah, I saw the vid over the weekend, and I was like Jessica is a much better lady than I.

      • Michelle is my First Lady

        I can’t even stomach the video right now. Just reading the transcript got me hot.

        • miss t-lee

          You’ll definitely be fishgrease when you watch the vid.

        • Mary Burrell

          Just reading it grinded my gears glad i didn’t watch the video it would have made angrier.

        • DomiMami

          Yes, I’ve avoided it too. But I read the transcript in the character’s voices, so i think I’ve got the jist of it.

          Lilly white heffas.

          And Cat Cora’s interjection…like bake your Angel Food cake and promptly STFU

      • Jennifer

        She’s young. She’s still gotta work in this industry. Shirley is like Hollywood royalty and Salma comes from an elite family and is married to an effin’ billionaire.

        I understand her desire to just get through the lunch. Here she was probably thinking she could come to a fancy lunch, eat some lobster, and network with these powerful women. Then their azzes start saying dumb ish, and she has to speak up yet again. I commend her for saying anything at all.

        • miss t-lee

          Oh definitely can understand the bind she was in. At that point it was best to just go silent.

          • Jennifer

            I was discussing this with friends and we talked about the amount of times we were in the same situation…and said nothing. The actual discussion can be tiring, but avoiding it can wear on your spirit as well.

            • miss t-lee

              I’ve worked in situations like this. You don’t say anything until you eventually snap, cuss someone out and walk out, never to return.

              True story. ?

              • Jennifer

                “True story. ?”

                We can do an Oxygen network series like “Snapped.”

                • miss t-lee

                  Bwhahah.
                  With plenty of disclaimers.

                • lkeke35

                  “When Keepin It Real Goes Wrong” on the next episode of Dave Chappelle!??

                  • TheUnsungStoryteller

                    Please get in contact with Chappelle so he can do that!

              • Michelle is my First Lady

                Be there.

              • Mochasister

                Mommy, is that you?

                • miss t-lee

                  HAHAHA.
                  I ain’t put together all the way right ma’am…lol

                  • Mochasister

                    Ok, just checking. My mother has done that before. She said one time the white lady made her so mad that it was better for her to come home before she choked the s*** out of her. Another time she threw keys at the supervisor and hit him in his chest. Both times the Lord preserved her job. Lol!

                    • miss t-lee

                      HAHAHAHA.
                      Your Mom sounds like my grandmother. She’s told me similar stories.She worked in a cafe’ once talking about how she threw a whole plate of food at a dude trying to talk smart to her…lol

                    • Mochasister

                      Chile, you ain’t said nothing but a word! My maternal grandmother was a nurse. Some white punk patient decided to get fresh with her and reached out and touched her donk. My grandmother reached back with the rage of all the ancestors and slapped ALL the taste out his mouth. This was back in the fifties. In Cincinnati aka little Mississippi. The Lord looked out for her though. They took her side and didn’t fire her.

                    • miss t-lee

                      Hmph.
                      And some of the youngins wanna act like folks wasn’t with the sh*ts back then.

                    • grownandsexy2

                      My mother certainly was. She didn’t mess around. I used to be afraid many a day that she was going to prison for laying hands on Becky.

                    • miss t-lee

                      Ha! My mother was the same way.

                    • Mochasister

                      Me too! My mother has a temper; she’s mellowed out with the Lord…and age! Lol! But don’t try her. I could definitely see her “moving some furniture up in here” as the late, great Bernie Mac used to say.

                    • lkeke35

                      ????
                      ‘… the rage of all her ancestors…

                    • grownandsexy2

                      Chile, I’m with your mother. I’ve been there. They better be glad that I’m not a fan of being on lockdown cause they can really take you there.

                  • Mary Burrell

                    lol

              • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast
                • lkeke35

                  Ya know White people better be da** glad that those Force Choke powers (from Star Wars) don’t exist in this universe. There’d be a helluva lot of white people walking around wondering how they got asthma. I wouldn’t kill anybody but a lot of white people would find themselves unable to finish a sentence when some fooolishness started to come out they mouth.

                  • “M”

                    Bannon and Trump would be …

                    I couldn’t believe Bannon came all out of his mouth and was like “I believe I’m Darth Vader.”

                    Um, no.

                    Didn’t you hear his voice, boo? Darth Vader was BLACK.

                  • I logged in just to upvote this comment.

                  • Junegirl627

                    The white race would be the most humble because the rest would’ve been offed

                  • Another Man’s Rhubarb

                    bwhahahaha!!!! *dead*

              • My bosses have told me they’re waiting for this exact moment from me. I don’t know if I shouldbe flattered or offended.

                • miss t-lee

                  I’d say both. :)

                  • Nik White

                    Yep

                • “M”

                  They’re waiting?
                  Maybe they need to think about what they’re doing that might cause you to want to act out that far …

                  /i’m just saying

                • DomiMami

                  Sounds like they are trying you! Those are the best challenges that we will ALWAYS win!

                  Bet against me? Bih, what? Lemme show you, watch me work.

                  • they keep trying and I keep passing with flying colors apparently!
                    pow pow!

              • Mary Burrell

                Black pain and rage is very real

                • miss t-lee

                  Very.

              • fedup

                Happened to my mom. Real talk. Walked the fuck out. They called her a week later asking was she planning to come back. That was a difficult period for her emotionally, but the revenge is to see her now! “Been around the world, and iiiiyaya!”

                • miss t-lee

                  It’s so, so sweet.

              • Nik White

                I quit a retail job during the Christmas season after being passed over for the management training program twice. I came back to shop wearing my fur jacket. “No I care about commission.”

                • miss t-lee

                  I LIVE.
                  This is so awesome.

                  • Nik White

                    *insert curtsy here

            • esa

              this happened to me last week. two different white people quoted that #$%%^$#% John Lennon/Yoko Ono song without shame. the first woman was a stranger and had really bad social skills, and i knew if i challenged her she would fight to preserve her ego. the other was a man who i know and have been cool with, so i brought it to his attention and after deflecting for a moment, he was like, you are right and thanked me for calling him out.

              my take away was: don’t waste your time on arguing with fools. in the words of Mark Twain, they’ll only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.

              • Mary Burrell

                Which John/Yoko song Give Peace A Chance?

                • esa

                  the song is titled “Woman is the N* of the World”

            • lkeke35

              Also, it can be terrifying to speak up. I have social anxieties about talking to people I don’t know very well, or just met, and I hate confrontation. I can still do it, because I never let fear stop me, but it can take hours for me to calm down after even the mildest exchange or rebuke to someone. Add anger to that and Jessica may have had quite a bit of trouble organizing her thoughts.

              • grownandsexy2

                I hate confrontations too, but find I’m beginning to just roll with it if they come. It takes me awhile to calm down also which is the reason why I hate to get worked up in the first place.

          • Michelle is my First Lady

            It is sad that our only option is to stay silent.

            • miss t-lee

              Gotta pay the bills. I just think that our ancestors had it so much worse.
              Talking to my grandmother puts things in perspective, although she cheered when I told her that I finally told that waynch how the cow ate the cabbage.

              • Michelle is my First Lady

                True. But there are times where I’m like dang, I should have stood up for myself. Keeping silent is definitely not one of my strong suits. Either way the situation isn’t good.

              • Jennifer

                “I finally told that waynch how the cow ate the cabbage”

                You are so country, lol

              • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

                My family is straight out of Arkansas on both side. I have never heard that saying before.

                • miss t-lee

                  Don’t act like Texas and Arkansas are the same, Kas…lol

                  • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

                    My family was about 30 miles from Texarkana. Now what?

                    • miss t-lee

                      Still ain’t Texas.

                    • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

                      Grumble. Always being exclusive

                    • miss t-lee

                      Don’t hate.

              • Mary Burrell

                Think about the sisters in Hidden Figures they were grace under pressure. Until Taraji’s character got pushed to the brink about the bathroom and coffee pot.

                • miss t-lee

                  Exactly.

        • Michelle is my First Lady

          “Shirley is like Hollywood royalty and Salma comes from an elite family and is married to an effin’ billionaire.”
          All coming from a place of privilege.

          • lkeke35

            I do remember when she was on some talk show about twenty years ago, and the host joked with her about being white, when she was discussing her wealth. She looked him in the eye and very seriously told him, “I am White.” And that has stuck with me forever. In her country she is White. She’s only non-white here in America. In her mind, she’s White.

        • Damon Young

          “I understand her desire to just get through the lunch. Here she was probably thinking she could come to a fancy lunch, eat some lobster, and network with these powerful women.”

          yeah. sometimes you just want to be able to have a good time. and then some f*cksh*t happens and now you’re obligated to speak on it

          • hawkeye

            Yep

        • esa

          Jessica played the scene perfectly. she spoke out in the presence of an LA Times reporter, changed the conversation, and allowed those women to show who they truly are to the world.

          by refraining from escalating, Jessica maintained her grace and walks away better for having the courage to challenge their narrative, and allowing them to fall flat on their face.

        • lkeke35

          Yes, I admire that she tried, but they would not give her time to articulate her thoughts. I felt like these two women were bullying her into saying what they wanted her to say. That’s what pi**ed me off so much. It felt like bullying, at the same time they’re talking bs about supporting women.

      • NonyaB?

        There was a video of the convo? Didn’t see it on the webpage, only short clips of other actors/filmmakers. Maybe it’s just as well, though.

        • miss t-lee

          It was on the page over the weekend, I’m not sure if they took it down. I can’t find it anywhere.

          • Mary Burrell

            glad i didn’t see it.

      • Mary Burrell

        exactly

      • Hiding My ?hide yours 2

        You and I miss, you and I.

        • miss t-lee

          *daps*

    • Brown Rose

      Yes. That was the worse exchange. it was humiliating. She would never have done that to a Jennifer Lawrence or an Emma Stone. Hayek is forever on my sh8t list. But honestly how many have had whites and other women of color pull that on some of us when we were younger and didn’t know any better.

      • Mary

        And in Mexico Salma had to have gotten some mileage out of looking white and being from a Middle Eastern family, since they generally do extremely well for themselves in Latin America.
        Her father’s a wealthy man and her mother is an opera singer, so she’s probably an upper class Mexican (probably Spanish descent) Given that background with extreme class and racial prejudices, it’s hard to give Salma the benefit of the doubt.
        As for Shirley’s she’s obviously has a demon named democracy keeping company with the other ones she has. That woman is so out of touch. Please.
        No Salma or Shirley movies for me, that was humiliating.

        • Mary Burrell

          And that explains why she had no empathy her privilege blinds her.

          • Brambles

            “Her privilege”. That alone stops me from believing or caring whatever else you might have to say. To white folks, or other “privileged” people, it’s like us saying “well, she’s black”, as if that simply explains everything there is to know about you. It’s simple-minded, incorrect, and just plain wrong on so many levels, so STOP it!

        • Shazza

          And Salma is married to a billionaire

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        • Brown Rose

          Salma’s race is White. Her nationality is Mexican. Why people keep calling her a woman of color is beyond me.

          • VJ Gerard

            Ask Hollywood why she’s never portrayed as a White woman.

            • Brown Rose

              not my problem that Hollywood thinks Mexican is not white.

              • VJ Gerard

                Then why bring up something that has nothing to do with why her very line of commenting is why people are up in arms with her. She’s Mexican with a little Middle Eastern thrown in there. NO ONE, not on the street, in Hollywood, and especially not even her very Anglo White husband sees her as a White woman. She has always been and will always be seen as a woman of colour, no matter which side of her dual heritage she claims at any given moment or when it suits her.

          • Tina

            First – Salma Hayek was ridiculous and I am astounded about the lack of insight and empathy and understanding.

            If we are to believe wikipedia, she is potentially 25% native american and half middle eastern . (It lists he farther as Lebanese, mother as mexican with maternal grandparents from Spain). But is that not enough to be considered a person of color?

            Latinos routinely have our identities shoved aside, because some of us have european blood and some of us come out whiter than others. It does not discount our brown-ness. Based on a DNA test, the biggest contributors to my blood are approximately: native american at 47%, Iberian (that’s Spain and portugal) at 27% and middle eastern at 5% (plus other misc. traces).

            • Brown Rose

              I don’t care. Latinos can be any race. On the census, Middle Easterners are considered white. Iberians are racially white. They are not people of color. Go Tell Salma that she isn’t white and see how far that gets you.

              • Tina

                I believe you missed my point :) that’s okay, probably my fault for not clearly stating that I was trying call out a concern where latinos get shoved aside when race is talked about. I was not defending Salma’s behavior nor do I make any claims to be an expert on her racial identity.
                It is not like this was an article about listening to others, making sure races were considered in the woman’s movement and not belittling people for their struggle in that … oh wait….

              • JusticeB

                Middle Eastern people I know do not consider themselves white. Even some West Asians, such as Armenians, don’t consider themselves white.

                • PinkRose

                  ALL the ones I know do, which is new.

                • Brown Rose

                  *shrugs* I really don’t care at this point. Iam not going to keep belabor iing a point about a celebrity who dismisses the reality of black women.

                  • JusticeB

                    I totally agree with you there.

            • I’m curious to why I should care about this when most Latinos I’ve come across are as racist as white people. I’m in Cali by the way.

              • Tina

                I could ask the same thing, really. Why should I care about racism towards black people when, as a Latina, I experience racism from black people towards Latinos. But isn’t that, in fact, just more racism? Blaming an entire race for your encounters with some from that race?
                I think that’s the problem. We should all be striving to respect, empathize with and care about each other and not shutting each other down. Especially as women. I believe if we don’t acknowledge the struggle of race as more than just black and white … then we end up with Salma Hayeks and Shirley McClaines who are by all accounts fairly clueless when it comes to race. How many other Latinas were on that panel? How many Asians (its seems like they are even more dismissed)?
                I feel like I should not be dismissive of any other race’s feelings/realities – I need to listen and try to understand. And I would hope that I get the same respect in return.

          • PinkRose

            Probably because to many people she IS a woman of color.

            • Brown Rose

              *shrugs* just as many people questioned why Obama identified as black, Hayek herself identifies as white as her background reflects.

              • PinkRose

                This idea that everyone who isn’t Black must be White, is relatively knew and IMO, an attempt to make Black folks feel socially isolated.

                People like Hayek can play that game all they like though, people like me will continue to laugh at their desperate attempts to be something they can NEVER be.

              • JusticeB

                I didn’t know she identified as white.

          • Brambles

            Because she’s not white? Is this really so difficult?

            • Brown Rose

              Its not difficult when I was being rhetorical. And she is white. That is how she herself identifies.

        • JusticeB

          Interestingly, this article takes the view that Salma is a nonwhite woman who disappointingly didn’t get it : http://atlantablackstar.com/2017/01/31/debate-jessica-williams-salma-hayek-proves-nonwhite-woman-doesnt-mean-understand/

      • Mary Burrell

        Hayek is on my growing ish list.

    • theworthingtonpost

      “Do you mind if I look at your eyes?” FUCK YOU, SALMA. omg, the rage.

    • LMNOP

      “Look at me when I’m talking to you” is how you speak to a child you are correcting, NOT to an adult and peer. That was really messed up.

      • Mary Burrell

        Hayek was way out of pocket with that.

      • Hiding My ?hide yours 2

        Listen…that China would have been flying somewhere in her orbit.!

        • PhlyyPhree

          That was definitely the point in this article where I had to roll back from the screen.

          • Hiding My ?hide yours 2

            Giiiiiiirl. Nah. Bish watchu not gon do with your billionaires mouth is tell me to look at you. My eyes are fixed on Jesus, mmmkay.

            • Aye Bee

              Exactly…praying to Him that I keep my composure and don’t snap on you. I have most def been there a few times too many. Used to have to look to God during the b.s. meetings my old boss would make me come to, and one day he finally asked “what are you doing when you look up there” (as he pointed to the area I always looked and shook my head to at several times during our meeting) I looked him dead in his eyes with the sternest look I could muster and said “I’m praying”. Pretty sure he thought about how often he found me looking up there and realized how often they worked my nerves and that maybe he should back off.lol

          • Nik White

            I’m reading this in the break room so I didn’t go to the full transcript to remain calm & employed.

    • grownandsexy2

      She was admonishing her like she is an errant child. Oh hayle nah! Not to mention the condescension.

  • Michelle is my First Lady

    “Let’s not just spend all the time in the anger,”

    And, this is where I stopped reading.

    • Maya Wynn

      But their angry a$$es ran out of their penthouses bedecked in pink pu$$y hats shouting at Trump and his big bad men. Smfh. Oh the hypocrisy. Trump is their medicine. For a BW like me, it’s just Tuesday.

  • miss t-lee

    I don’t have the patience nor the care to participate in these kinds of discussions. It’s seems pointless.

    • Question
      • Janelle Doe

        ZzActly

      • Mochasister

        Sis be giving them eye rolls!

      • Mary Burrell

        I love this Viola gif

    • Brown Rose

      Yup. It was a revelation. 2016 was the year that I really understood how pointless it is. It will save your sanity.

      • miss t-lee

        And I’m all about keeping my sanity…lol

        • Mochasister

          Hey, my mother always tells me not to let any man, woman, or child drive you crazy. No one is worth you losing your sanity over.

          • miss t-lee

            Smart lady.

            • Mochasister

              Indeed she is.

      • lkeke35

        Me too! I finally got it.

        • Mary Burrell

          Ikeke, i heard that on the About Race podcast. It’s not our job to educate white people or our job to placate them.

    • Mochasister

      Exactly. I don’t engage wypipo of either gender in discussions about
      racism or feminism. I also don’t discuss politics. At my age I’ve learned better. Conversations with them tend to be brief and shallow for the most part, but my blood pressure remains stable.

      • miss t-lee

        Politics and religion–and I’ve recently added race.
        All off topics.

        • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

          I’m still doing all 3. Mostly because I’m hard-headed.

          • miss t-lee

            You act like fat meat ain’t greasy…lol

            • Nikita Johnson

              You not alone. I swear I try my hardest to skate on past but sometimes…smh

              • miss t-lee

                I understand.

          • Mochasister

            Good luck with that.

            • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

              I don’t argue with people for the sake of it, and I don’t engage with antagonistic people. With those two rules in tow, it’s really doesn’t bother me.

        • grownandsexy2

          Yup. I call them the third rail of convos – race, religion, politics.

        • Mary Burrell

          My father always said never discuss politics and religion and i so understand that now and race is to be added as well.

      • Ms. Odessa

        And hair. I don’t even let it be a subject when they ask. I make a SWIFT subject change.

        • Mochasister

          Yes, yes, yes. I just love how the oh so “innocent” questions turn invasive with a quickness. “Oh, I just LOVE your hair!” “Thank you.” “How do you care for it?” “Very carefully.” “No, I mean how do you wash it?” “I use something called shampoo and conditioner. You may have heard of them.” “Can I touch it?” “Only if you’re able to stand after I kick you in your groin area.” *White woman/ man walks away puzzled,bewildered, and hurt at the unfriendly Negress’ rejection of her friendly attempts at conversation. Decides that the fault lies with the uppity Negro b**** and continues living in white ignorance.

          • lkeke35

            Yeah, they’re still dumb, but your blood is well within normal parameters afterward, which goes in the plus column.

          • grownandsexy2

            Before I chopped my hair off, I used to get those questions. “Is it yours?” “Do black people wash their hair everyday, cause your hair looks exactly like it did yesterday?” “It looks soft, is it?”
            When I chopped it off, it was, “Do you have cancer?” “Does your head get cold,” Why did you cut your hair anyway?” “You’re lucky you got a nice shaped head.” **sigh**

            • Mochasister

              I wonder at how they don’t understand or care how intrusive and dumb they are being. Makes me wanna holla.

              • grownandsexy2

                You roll your eyes enough when they ask dumb stuff, they soon get the message.

                • Hiding My ?hide yours 2

                  Or you just casually state, that’s a dumb question.

              • Mary Burrell

                When they do that i want say and “What color is your underwear? or something absurd to let them know how stupid they are being.

            • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

              You are lucky you got a nice shaped head tho. :)

              • grownandsexy2

                lol

          • Mary Burrell

            I witnessed that this morning in the work place when they did that to a young lady as she was getting her morning coffee in the breakroom. She had her hair freshly braided and they invaded her space and asked the same dumb question how long does that tske and was that her real hair.

        • Mary Burrell

          Our hair is political as well. Jessica’s co host on Two Dope Queens podcast wrote a book, Don’t Touch My Hair and Solonge’s Don’t Touch My Hair.

      • Mary Burrell

        That is very wise but you learn a lot about a person from their political leanings.

    • Agreed, i used to do them when i was younger – can’t anymore. I just get too annoyed.

      • miss t-lee

        Someone else can do the word.
        It’s not my portion.

    • Mary Burrell

      They accomplished nothing.

      • miss t-lee

        Nay.
        Thin.

  • Jennifer

    BTW – I am thankful that Dee Rees stepped in to defend Jessica and Jill Solloway demanded that she get room to speak. Shirley and Salma still kept missing the point even though they had giant nets to catch up, but that’s what I’ve come to expect.

    • fedup

      Let’s not let Cat Cora off the hook either.

      • Jennifer

        Oh! When she ran in the room and tried to derail the conversation? Cat should have stayed in the kitchen and finished that lunch.

  • Michelle is my First Lady

    This reminds me of the time I was dealing with an absolutely nutcase for a boss. She was definitely a racist and as the other only black person on the team, she treated me differently than everyone else. I brought up how I was feeling to my manager – who was a WW – and the only thing she said to me was, “There’s so much anger in your voice. I can hear
    it.” I was not expecting it so I completely shut down. Here I am representing your firm as best as I can, dealing with a racist manager, and the only thing you can do is stereotype me as an angry black woman. I called HR immediately!
    This goes to show as BW, we are not allowed to express how we feel whether we are in agree or are in opposition. I find myself learning how to keep a balance between expressing how I feel and feeding into the “angry black woman” stereotype.

    • Brown Rose

      Mammies. They want Mammy robots.

      • Mochasister

        Mammy sexbots who will raise their children and reply “yassuh, massa” on loop.

    • Maya Wynn

      But when white women shout and protest, they’re brave feminists fighting against the man. When we do it, we’re angry black women. *eye roll*

      • miss t-lee

        The jig.

    • Mochasister

      They get on my nerves with that “angry Black b****” trope. Maybe, just maybe, my anger is righteous and we’ll deserved.

    • CozyVon

      When I’ve gotten that in the past (and mind you, I’m normally a very jovial, easygoing chick–but my bad side is one to NOT get on)…my response is always, “Well…how about you don’t make me angry, then? Mmkay?”

    • chazb

      Wow, I can only imagine your frustration. I like how she completely disregarded your feelings and jumped on your anger. Your anger was caused by the other person’s behavior, why not focus on that. Oh right, because we aren’t allowed to feel. Shameful

    • Diego Duarte

      That whole “angry black woman” bs is nothing more than subtle gaslighting. Your anger is just as valid and real as the circumstances that gave rise to it. Anger is nothing more than our own body’s natural reaction to injustice. Don’t ever trust anybody incapable of feeling angry.

    • Manny

      Because they want you to be sad and cry. I swear I had a white female boss who reprimanded a white f*ck up employee who I was the supervisor of and she said she cried so, she really cares and is sorry.

  • Brown Rose

    I understand. Not all white women. I get it. But “the conversation” is at this point and time utterly and completely pointless. As the article noted, we were the original fighters of women’s rights that goes back as far as Wells, Tubman, perhaps even further. We were never allowed the luxury and we had to fight the gross abuses from the white world and the Black one. We have talked about, taught, mammified , and sacrificed our minds and bodies to everyone else in order to be heard for what? I have never expected support or understand from white women or other women of color. It just doesn’t exist. I would rather that Black women focused their efforts in learning to help and understand each other, then demanding something that is impossible in this climate and that may get even get worse—to see Black women as human. Good luck to those who keep trying. You will kill yourself for that effort.

    • Ms.Moon

      Thank you. Black women never had to have that fight that white women had about work, black women always worked. We got off boats and went to work, we had babies and worked, we had other people’s babies as work. I have empathy for white women’s struggles, but they have to understand that their issues are not always ours and therein lies the rub. Black women are always black, it is something that cannot be changed our blackness first womanness second. White women might not always understand that their skin privileges them a whole lot still but black women know that always. White women might not want to understand that. I understand that they would like for all women to stand together in our gender, but black women come from a historically different starting point than they do and we have to work hard to even get to par with them never mind white men.

  • Cleojonz

    I am going to a book club meeting in a couple weeks and we will be discussing We Should all be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. White women put this together. I am curious about their first choice of book being a woman of color and wonder if most of my time will be spent like Jessica trying to get them to understand the black woman’s point of view and how we shouldn’t be silenced in this movement. I grow weary of the argument of what should be common sense things, but I guess I must be ready for the fight.

    • Jennifer

      Take some liquor.

      • Cleojonz

        I might. It’s been held at a coffee shop. Maybe I’ll bring some Bailey’s.

        • Jennifer

          You’ve earned it.

      • miss t-lee

        Plennay.

      • CozyVon

        Naw, DON’T…because you know they don’t know how to hold it, & fuckery ensues. Unless it’s just for you!

        • Jennifer

          Oh, I wasn’t expecting her to share. #selfcare

          • Mochasister

            Lol! Not even if they got five on it?

    • Brown Rose

      Good luck. They are going to frame it into something about them. Because after all its always about them.

      • AOM

        ALWAYS.

    • Dmaclee

      Awesome text. I use it with my 1st year students at an all women’s college. But take a flask.

    • CozyVon

      Girl I was ’bout to ask you what book club you belong to but that sounds like something I’ll pass on, lol. ‘Cause someone would probably make me forget my home training w/ dumb-ass comments & questions…*le sigh*

      • Cleojonz

        It’s new, first meeting. They are calling it chick lit. I’m not even sure if they just reading female authors, are on a feminist bent permanently, or this is the topic right now because of what’s been going on recently. I know one of the girls was actually at the NYC women’s march.

    • Janelle Doe

      You could recommend for your next book that you all read Florynce Kennedy the life of a Black feminist radical.

      But that may be subtle. :-)

  • Gibbous

    Saw that. GRRR!!!

  • cyanic

    Williams’ first mistake was requesting to be understood as a black person. Non-blacks see the black experience as incomprehensible to their own regardless if said persons themselves are nonwhite. If they ain’t black they don’t know where it’s at. The second mistake was bringing trans persons into the conversation. They are entirely separate from you whether you like it or not. If white women can’t understand you don’t worry about holding the torch for someone who is completely removed from your side of the gender pool.

    Shirley believes in metaphysics. So her advance was based not on the exterior physical systematic reality everyone is living in but from freeing the mind of feeling burdened by crippling circumstance. I know it wasn’t helpful within the realm of the conversation she was having. But her intention wasn’t coming from a dismissive and judgmental place.

    • Gibbous

      I saw a tweet yesterday. Something about don’t be so caught up in the doings of heaven that you’re no good to anyone on earth. I think this would apply, then to Shirley.

    • Brown Rose

      You might want to read up on Shirley’s beliefs. Sure. She believes in Reincarnation. One of her books she talked about she reincarnated into an African tribe. To paraphrase, she talked about how advanced she was and hard it was to teach all those dumb N8ggers her advanced ways.

      So no. Shirley does not get a pass. She owns her racists believes right along with her patronizing and debased feminism of someone who has always been privileged.

      • cyanic

        I have one of her books where she discusses her father’s racism. She certainly is a white person in African when she talks about being around a primitive tribe. But what you just described I don’t recall reading something so ugly.

        • Brown Rose

          I got it from one of Alice Walker’s essays.

          • cyanic

            Walker does not shy away from calling those who need calling out.

    • naughtycorner

      Shirley also believes that aliens built the Mayan Temples and the Egyptian Pyramids cuz if we cant prove that white people were there then obviously … aliens
      metaphysics mixed with racism is just quirky racism thats all

    • Janelle Doe

      Ok, so Salma? No errors or mistakes?
      And Shirey – she couldnot detect and responde to the change in metaphysics around/of Jessica that took place when she said what she (Shirley said)
      Help me understand how all three women could have done better Cyanic,
      I am feeling some kind of way that you described the flaws of just one.

      • cyanic

        I don’t think much of the intelligence of Selma. So I focused on someone whose opinion has some merit to me veteran Shirley MacLaine. Who I don’t believe to be a bigot. Jessica wanting her blackness recognized by those who don’t understand how white supremacy shapes the way they govern themselves and how they see the world – what did she expect?

        • Janelle Doe

          Ok, i see. Thanks for responding.

  • Gibbous

    At my place of work, they intentionally have had various workshops on racism, with speakers from all over the diaspora. My biggest problem – and why I’ll never go back – is the white people who talk about how they’re afraid to make a mistake, say the wrong thing, whatever. That we have to give them a chance.

    We’ll I’ve been on this planet for 47 years, doing my homework about how to treat people right because I know if I don’t, I’m out in the cold, not to mention it’s the right thing to do. If you haven’t figured it out yet it’s because you don’t want to and I have no patience or sympathy for you. If you’re grown (I’ll say 30s) and not on the bus it’s because you’ve chosen to not be on the bus! Quit crying and own it!

    • I’ve been to so many diversity workshops that give me a massive headache by the end of the session. Due to spending most of the time placating white people who want to be absolve of their “inadvertent” racism and me having to play nice cause i have to work with people the next day.

      sigh!

      • Gibbous

        Truth! I think for some folks the workshop is the ends. A virtual checkmate that they can show off to friends and family. By the way, I don’t really need to go because I’ve spent my whole life living what they’re trying to preach. Intersectionality is my family. White, black, LGBTQ, single moms, intergenerational living, what have you, and that’s only my siblings and mom!

        It’s exhausting and I’m no longer here for their sensitive feelings.

      • Diversity workshops suck. If an organization is serious about diversity, it takes ongoing effort and time from management to make it so. I’m talking readings, one on one meetings, and change in who gets hired and promoted.

        • `Abdu’l-Karim Ewing-Boyd

          Both my parents and my father-in-law do diversity training and are constantly frustrated by having to convince organizations that a one-and-done will fix nothing and might make things worse. The worst is when management gets scared by the angry white folks after the first session and cancels the rest.

    • Mary

      James Baldwin hit the nail right on the head in The afire Next time. As long as white folks won’t fully own their stuff and deal with it, they’re gonna find a way to drag us into it every time. You gotta walk away otherwise you wasting your time.

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