Quote of the day

Is "white" feminism an impediment to social change? And how do you define "white," anyway?

By Catherine Price

Published April 8, 2008 4:15PM (EDT)

Here's an article that might jump-start some heavy-duty letter action: a piece on AlterNet by Jessica Hoffman titled "An Open Letter to White Feminists." The gist:

"In 1983, when I was in kindergarten, white (Jewish) lesbian feminist Adrienne Rich implored a white-led feminist movement: 'Without addressing the whiteness of white feminism, our movement will turn in on itself and collapse.' Twenty five years later, I'm dubious about a movement -- 'ours' or otherwise -- that has not only failed to honestly and consistently address its whiteness but has also, in so doing, become something far less than a movement for social change."

To clarify, here's how Hoffman chose her title/defines "whiteness":

"I finally decided on the adjective white -- not because race is the only defining difference between the liberal/reformist so-called feminism I'm critiquing and more radical social-change-oriented feminisms, but because I see many of the strains of this argument threading together around whiteness -- if by whiteness I can mean not only skin privilege but also straightness, liberalism, a sense of entitlement to safety (especially within existing social structures), and other markers of an identity and worldview shaped by assimilation to power."

Check out the piece, and tell us what you think.

Catherine Price

Catherine Price is an award-winning journalist and author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food. Her written and multimedia work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, PARADE, Health Magazine, and Outside. Price lives in Philadelphia.

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