« Reveal

Al Letson Reveals: The color of feminism

2017-04-13 | 🔗

From women’s 19th-century fight for the right to vote to the Women’s March this year, racism has affected feminist movements.

In this podcast special, Al Letson recalls the #BlackWomenAtWork stories that went viral recently and talks with Kimberly Foster, the founder of For Harriet and a very frank video commentator, about her dream to “bring down the system.”

Head over to revealnews.org for more of our reporting.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey? It is your favorite host in all of pod custom. Now, for the rest of the year, I'm gonna be asking you to join us by becoming a member of reveal reveal is all about going deep, pulling on threads telling stories that matter for more than three years now reveal has been fighting a lawsuit. That's been jeopardizing our very existence of restore. We about an organization called planet aid. Our story raises serious questions about whether international aid was actually reaching the people. It was intended to help and what's more, our story was truthful and we stand by it. We believe it's our duty to fight attacks like this, but fighting a lawsuit comes at a huge costs, are legal fees alone totalled more than seven million dollars? Luckily, we have pro bono legal support to help our in house counsel, but it still takes significant resources, resources that should be used to do more public service journalists. This kind of investigative,
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So recently, all over the internet. A very frank conversation about black women's experiences went viral. It started after representative Maxine Waters said this in Congress when we fight against this president and we point out how dangerous it is, but this society and put this country. We are fighting for democracy, we are fighting for America. Fox news played their clip on their morning. Show Fox and friends as commentator Billow rally what he thought about it. He said that You didn't hear worry she's had. I was looking at the James Brown Wig in that same day, Whitehouse, Press, secretaryship, Spacer, told veteran African him, it can reporter April Ryan this. Why don't you ask me a question and answer, which is the president? I'm sorry, please stop shaking her head again plenty of women, heard, dismissive, miss and disrespect, and these comments and their sick of it. So they step forwards.
Share their experiences of every day in going discrimination using the hashtag black women at work somewhere called be mistaken for the janitor or criminal or told the hair was just way to wild. Our guest today is Kinfolk Kim says she didn't have an at work story to share because she spent most of her adult life working for self and a part of that decision was because I've seen so many other brilliant, incredibly talent Ted and capable black women be so abused in the workplace, and so I don't have a lot of experience being a black woman at work, but I do a lot of experience. Being a black woman at school, a black woman in the shopping mall, you know a black woman on the street and a lot of these experiences that I've seen black women share in the black women at work. Hash tat,
our transferable to my experiences. In all other round of life tomb is the founder. An editor in chief of four Harriet and all my collection of commentary by black women who work has drawn tens of thousands of followers were really pulled me in, or video commentaries like this one about feminists history celebrating itself, while ignoring its own races quite feminist, closer, listened very closely to read about some large sum up, some laufer something because we cannot go on like this. This is why we dont trust your Jim published her writing for more than five years on four Harriet. Since. Undergraduate days at Harvard, but she told me it took a long time to get up the guts to say what she thought on camera imposed their online. I was weary of doing it because of the consequences of being visible. I mean it,
For a black woman- and you are vocal about issues that are potentially controversial I mean you know feminism, and you know reproductive rights and justice. You can expect to get break threats and death threats and unjust, all sorts of really crazy negativity. And so I wanted to do it, but I was afraid on talk a little bit about feminism, but in a couple, different lenses and start off with feminism in the black. Unity. Do you feel, like there's, been an awakening of black feminism, because you know just just looking back at the history of african people in America, black women have always been kind of at the centre of the struggle, but not really the centre the spotlight, and it just feels like in the last. I don't know Five to ten years you're, beginning to see black women be more in the spotlight like actually being seen, so I absolutely think that black feminist thought and
This amount is rooted in black feminist politics has become more visible over the past five to ten years, and that is absolutely a result of social media and the internet absolutely unequivocally the way that black feminists have been able to come. Brigade gave spaces that we run the blogs and then, of course, but the blogosphere. That's moved now to Twitter and Facebook, where we can have real time. Conversations about these issues about our politics really fear arising on the spot. What do you think General vibe is in the black community, maybe specifically like with black men, but also like with black women, who maybe don't sign onto the idea of feminism, there's a certain kind of, conversely, China about black feminism, but I just don't think, is ever going to go away dad
when we are emphasising focus on black women's issues. Black woman struggles that that detracts from our unity as a black community as a black people and a lot of people still try to put forth this argument that way they are causing division and that we are weakening ourselves weakening our stance, particularly when we are trying to fight state violence right. Amid that the current movement against police brutality, there's always going to be a sub section of people who just don't get it. Just think that we need to do one thing at a time that we need to to be black first, essentially as a family visits, the ball black feminist, it's just it's an occupational hazard. You now that whenever you talk about,
black them in his more or black women's issues, or the need for us to dedicate community resources to taking care of black women that that is going to be the type of response. You're gonna get moving on a kind of widening the lens out. How do you feel like black feminism is looked at from why feminist If, as the dead debrief will What's that you now in much the same way that when we talk to black people or black men about the need to dedicate our time and our resources to carrying and supporting black women intentionally, there is a similar sort of push back that you get from
Thirdly, demographic of white feminist when we say make sure that you are not forgetting black women, make sure that your honouring and respecting black women's work and are intellectual property and that kind of response from white feminists, a lot of I may as well. We're out is women right. We need to come together, but fortunately, social media has also been really important in helping white feminists understand the importance and the centrality of resistance that works, and so increasingly, particularly over the past couple of years,
More and more white feminists have come to understand that we are not going to get anywhere as women ass people. If we don't recognize bad. Our struggles against sexism and racism in classes are met there all interlinked and that we have to make sure that we're trying to tackle them simultaneously and not just think about you- know the white woman's experience as central obscures, which her thoughts were about the march to the women's March. I saw a lot of black women women of color, sounded like they had no interest in the march. They were basically like you know where, where these people, when marcher for black lives matter and they stayed home yes, I I personally was completely in support of the women's Marge
I didn't get out a march because I was loving up on my knee says that we can, because it was very late, absent emotionally difficult time that day after the negotiations, but I absolutely understand black women who say that their tired, but women are tired. Tell me tell me what you're tired of black woman at hired, because we always show and that work so often goes on reciprocated and feeling like you're out fighting alone. It leads to a really deep kind of resentment. He now I saw a lot of black women, who are very passionate activists in the current movement for black lives. They were like. We have been out here, marching consistently for the literal survival of black people, and we have tab bag white, quoting quote allies, to show up and ask
and if you feel like your life, your livelihood might be proud, and then you you, then you know that creates the largest mass demonstration in american history right. Like I get that rage, I get that that sadness and also because we have to fight on so many friends, but we have to fight not only because we are women, but because we are poor, but because we are black, because we are a queer and there's not sincerely and understanding that all of the women who showed up for the women's marked get that an end or that they would and make an effort post women's March to to get that do see any movement from white feminist to reach out to black feminist, to create bridges. He now I am still a young, her thin and I'll say when I first started doing this
the work I was very much like we don't need white women will do it ourselves or in the past year, the sort of movement that I've seen in mainstream feminist discourse. The ways that so many non black feminist reached out to me personally and said. Thank you or you know your writing or your videos have changed my thinking on mess. Where can I? Oh to learn more. Like that stuff, really it hearten. Me- and it makes me think that we We are on a positive trajectory. What does monism mean for you. I love of an a door the work of bow hooks and Irene Go where her definition of feminism as a movement to end sexist oppression, and that means that we have two deconstruct all of this. The stones, bad, deter our life chances that inhibit our life chances. So she calls it white supremacist
capitalist, patriarchy and that's what I go away. Three words were trying to bring down the system. When I hear you say bring down system, I fly, to another interview that ahead with someone who is the exact opposite of you, richer, Spencer and rigid for riches Spencer is you know I'll write, white supremacist, and I think that his goal is to bring down system as well. So what's the difference between those two visions that events for me as a black woman is that we are actually devised by institutionalized depressions. We are marginalized because we are at the mercy of Systems that rely on our exploitation right capitalism relies on the exploited labor of the underclass. In order to create you know that I don't like a billionaire class Richard spy
whereas a white man reaps many privileges and also Richard Centre is a privileged white man here, how incredibly privileged within the sorts of systems that we are talking about, bad, that literally brutalize and terrorize and kill people who look like me. I think that's. The real difference me is not susceptible to the same sorts of source of terror. I guess that's. The real question is like what do you want to see America look like when you bring down system state violence looks like many things right: it's not just the capacity of law enforcement to kill black people with impunity. It's also Flint Michigan, where in their home is predominantly black community doesn't have clean drinking water. It also occurs in our public school system where black children.
And are more likely to be bundled into thus called a prism pipeline, or black girls are more likely to be pushed out of school, and so a vision for for the United States looks like a world in which black P all black folks, black men, women and gender non conforming people chance, people can live freely. Whereof. We have money to meet our basic needs and we have the opportunity to to pursue our potential. What do you think is next for America? I think that in terms America, we can expect a large scale attack son civil rights on constitutional rights, but that will also illicit large scale resistance. I do feel in some ways.
Hopeful about the ways that people have been activated to enact change in their communities and petition there, representatives both locally and and national aid, to make sure that their voices are heard hurry. My inner sectional coalitions are carry you reach out to maybe way feminist, who don't quite get the experience of black feminists. How do you reach out to black men who don't quite get the experience of black women? You know what I believe now that if you do the work that they will come, I've been doing for Harry at four six and a half years and I recognise that there are certain segment of people who want to know more, who are reach a ball and they will gravitate towards you and they ll have some questions that you.
Think are ridiculous or annoying, but that you have to engage them earnestly and- and you have to be kind of generous, when you encounter somebody who of on the brain? Of being on your side of being on your team. They have to be cognizant of the fact that you have the opportunity to bring somebody in two really convert people, and I take that responsibility very seriously. It gets tricky right because of the black woman were expected to do so much Work and so much labour, but I just want to win. I went to win Kimberly Foster. Thank you so much for coming in. Thank you. So much for having me Jubilee Foster rose the blow for Harriet check out her video commentaries on the four Harriet you to channel this addition of outlets and reveals was produced by Emily Harrison, edited by Kevin Sullivan are sound design team.
The wonder, twins, Mama, J, Breezy, Jim Briggs and Clear see no mother. We had engineer help today from Catherine Raimondo, merrily Williams reveals a coal production of the centre for investigative reporting in p r, Ex I'm outlets and remember there is always more to the story. These last few shows of the year, and let me tell you in twenty twenty we are bringing the fire launching some of our most ambitious projects we ve ever done. I can wait for you to hear them reveal is all about going deep, pulling on threads. Telling stories that matter and this kind of investigative journalism. Well, it takes time and it costs money. These are the final weeks
for end of the year membership campaign. We depend on listeners like you to help make this work possible to support us just text. The word reveal two hundred and forty seven, four thousand seven hundred and forty seven state of data rates apply and you can take stop or cancel at any time again. Just texted I'll do for seven, four, seven, four! Seven! Let's go! Do some good work together.
Transcript generated on 2019-12-21.