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Whiteness destroys us all

Rafia Zakaria in her essay against white feminism harshly denounces the lack of the concept of politics within a feminism marked by capitalism, increasingly white and bourgeois. Rafia is a Pakistani-American lawyer, feminist, activist, journalist and author. His essay is a disarming emblem of his experience which can most often be read between the lines. Her experience as a non-white woman gives her the ability to identify whiteness, detach it from the movement, examine it and denounce it.

What, alas, I, a white feminist, have never managed to do.

But, thanks to this book I consciously learned how much my ideas are imbued with the whiteness that the lawyer deals with. The whole history of feminism is miserably white. But, not white because it was only made by white people. White in the sense that it is reconstructed and projected into the theories themselves through the binoculars of whiteness. Tool "kindly" given to us by white men who remind us how good they are at "making room for us in the world".

Black, brown and Asian women are, however, integral parts of the feminist movement, only that their voices, their stories are not only invisible, but also deprived of reality. Fruit of a colonial history that has stripped them of the role of protagonists, very often pointing out untrue characteristics, their voices have been lost and history has often been rewritten. Rafia is sharp and precise in recalling how precious their battles, obscured and often manipulated, would have been in building a political feminism for everyone, without distinction of gender, sexual orientation, origin and skin color.

I promised you that I would talk to you about Empowerment and I want to do it through this book. According to Zakaria, the term empowerment, created to break down ideologies and rebuild new ones, through spaces and women's voices, has completely dried up, emptied of the political meaning that generated it, to be reduced to individualism. To emancipate themselves, women must now participate in the monetary economy, they must flaunt their sexuality, they must scream "pussy", they must be free to wear fishnet stockings and lipsticks, they must end up on the covers of magazines as strong and powerful women. They simply need to replace the white, straight, affluent male. This meant that feminism was endorsed and led mainly by white women, ignoring poverty, racism and discrimination against non-white women. Solidarity dies in honor of an individualism that aims at the pinnacle of power and not at its reconstruction.

What Rafia Zakaria wants to tell us is that we are not talking about white feminists and non-white feminists, but we are talking about how whiteness has led the history of feminism in a unilateral way, excluding many women. Feminism must reclaim that concept of empowerment which was based on the three fundamental pillars (power, awareness and agency) to reconstruct together spaces and opportunities that can understand the diversity of everyone. In this sense, intersectionality must help the voices of all feminists in the world to be reborn from the ashes.

Thank you Rafia because your book is not only the overturning of many perspectives, but the engine of many new opportunities.

From a young white feminist steeped in whiteness.

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