Unless you live under a rock, I'm pretty sure you caught Patricia Arquette's backstage comments from the Oscars, either watching the show, or in the backlash that followed.
I'm hearing a lot of white women crowing about how "that's not what she meant," or "she's just an actress," or whatever excuse is cool this week.
I'm not buying it.
I'm not buying it, because I may be a white woman, but I noticed this summer and fall and winter, an awful lot of brown men being killed for the crime of simply being, so I don't feel like we've quite solved that "civil rights" thing yet.
I'm not buying it, because I may be a white woman, but I've noticed the number of transwomen who have been murdered this year, again simply for the crime of being themselves, and I don't feel like we can say with any honesty or integrity that they can take a breather from the fear that they will be killed for using the right restroom at the wrong time in order to work for our equal wave--especially considering that their wage prospects are even worse than mine.
I'm not buying that she's "just an actress." If you're going to stand on a stage and demand something, you better do some research, because the eyes of the world are on you, and if they don't like what you have to say they are going to let you know. Just an actress? I'm just a writer, just a mother, just a white queer woman in New England, and I managed to figure out the basic concept of intersectionalism by asking questions and—here's the key, folks—listening to the answers, and challenging my own biases.
I do not accept the kind of feminism that punches down, the kind of feminism where I say "Hold on for a minute, I'll come back to you just as soon as I get my rights." I do believe that solidarity is needed, but I think that we white women have screwed the pooch so bad on this one that we need to sit in our naughty corner for a little while and sing some goddamned mea culpa until we can prove to other women of the world that we can fucking well be trusted with their safety.
Pat Corrigan can't. Neil Gaiman can't. I don't think that either of them are acting the way they are maliciously, but they're both wrong, and neither one of them seems willing to admit it, and that's the worst kind of betrayal, my friends. The very worst.
There's no big finish here, no grand solution. Because there is a wound to be healed here, and if you've ever had a deep cut, a real bone-deep hurt, you know it's going to take some time. And—check this out—we, as white women, may have some hurt feelings here, but being nervous or concerned to hear "white feminism" bashed is not racism, isn't not like being oppressed.
If I had one wish today, it would be that every white woman who wants to stand up and shout BUT I'M NOT LIKE THAT would sit down for ten minutes and really listen, without arguing, the voices of Black women and Women of Color in our country and hear them.
And maybe say if, just this one time, they could say "I'm so sorry," without justification, without a bunch of bullshit. Just say it.
See if maybe the dialogue change that needs to happen can start with our willingness to shut the fuck up and listen.