Standing With All Women

by nabil on March 4, 2015

(Patricia Arquette – Oscar Winner, BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS)

I generally don’t discuss the oscars publicly, but the backlash to Patricia Arquette’s call for gender equality has been infuriating. And I haven’t seen anyone stand up to offer perspective, so…

This woman used a huge platform to forcefully call out sexism on a night celebrating an industry famously fueled by it. And somehow, the most intelligent and compassionate people I know were completely derailed by the fact she is a relatively wealthy white woman calling for solidarity among all oppressed groups using clumsy language. Does that sound accurate?

As a man of COLOR, I know Patricia Arquette has privileges that I do not. I understand the pull to go after her blind spots and am very serious about racial inequality. But we should recognize a very valid call to action when it happens. Allowing her language to overshadow what should have been a powerful moment for gender equality is a huge loss for everyone. For women in particular, but for all of us.

As a MAN of color, I know I have privileges that even this famous white woman doesn’t. Sexism pervades all cultures, races and classes in all kinds of different ways. Some you can see and some aren’t visible. And the fact she’s being ridiculed by those on the same side as her is part of the reason women are afraid to speak up about it.

So in response to the sarcastic jokes about Patricia Arquette doing so much for racial equality…
The idea that a woman should help us first before we can help her is literally how sexism works. Women are made secondary, apparently even when it comes to liberation issues. So no, I’m not waiting for racism to end before I can stand together with white women for gender equality. Women are half our species and I stand with them, all of them, now.

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