Last week, in the latest round of “Why Aren’t Black Women…” tweet storms, some Black men on Twitter seemed to still be in their feelings about Nate Parker and Birth of a Nation. And because Twitter is where all logicians peddle their false equivalence theories, the question was asked, “Why aren’t Black women going after Casey Affleck like they went after Nate Parker?”
In case you missed it, now that Casey Affleck won a Golden Globe and is receiving Oscar buzz for Manchester by the Sea (movie synopsis: White people white-peopling… by the sea), Amy Zimmerman at The Daily Beast wrote a nice little rundown on the sexual harassment allegations made against Affleck by two separate women in 2010 and how no one seemed to be talking about it. What followed was a string of pieces about why this revelation was unlikely to ruin Affleck’s chances at an Oscar, drawing many comparisons between Affleck and Parker.
Yes, Black women on Twitter held Nate Parker accountable, but as Michael Arceneaux at The Root points out, Black women were also the majority of filmgoers who saw and supported Birth of a Nation—but of course we don’t get credit for that part (well, I don’t deserve credit for that part because I refused to go see it). Because it’s totally Black women who are known for privileging whiteness over the struggle. #sideeye #tomilahren #trevornoah #charlemagnethegod #taxstone
Here’s something to remember: Hollywood would have given zero fucks about the Nate Parker allegations had Black women not pressed him to speak on his past. So, while most of these Affleck/Parker pieces are focusing on the Hollywood double-standard around race—which is definitely a thing and definitely a factor—I’m also asking: Where are the white feminists? Zora Neale Hurston got it right in the 1930s when she wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God and spoke on society's expectation that Black women carry the load. But nowadays, Black women are too busy to be the world’s mules.
Things Black Women Were Too Busy Doing To Handle This Mess:
• Having a moment of silence on the anniversary of Oscar Grant’s death
• Rolling our eyes at Lee Daniels calling #oscarssowhite protestors whiners and Tyler Perry’s claims of reverse racism over the criticism of his new show having an all-white cast
• Checking Kim Burrell after her homophobic “sermon”
• Binge watching Chewing Gum on Netflix
• Bolstering those opening weekend numbers for Hidden Figures and Fences
• Grieving the departure of the Obamas from the White House
• Putting the final touches on our “Black Girl Magic” vision boards for 2017
• Copping that new Roxane Gay book, Difficult Women
• Working through our conflicted feelings over Serena’s engagement to that Reddit dude
Things White Women Were Too Busy Doing To Handle This Mess:
• Lena Dunham was wishing she’d had an abortion so she could be a better feminist
• Jennifer Lawrence was destroying sacred spaces in Hawaii with her butt
• Ronda Rousey was getting paid $3 million for a 48 second beating from Amanda Nunes (the Brazilian Nunes, in comparison, only made $200,000)
Here are some questions the Internet should be asking instead of questioning Black women: Why aren’t white women with clout in Hollywood putting in the same work to hold Casey Affleck accountable that Black women put in to hold Nate Parker accountable? Why aren’t they agitating for better working conditions for women on set—women who have less of a voice than they do?
White feminists, this is a crusade that you can take on no matter where you’re at on the intersectional feminism spectrum. Where y’all at? The Oscars are less than two months away. That feels like plenty of time to make some noise. All eyes will be on Hollywood next month so why not leverage that?
In light of the election results that more white women voted for Trump than Clinton (94 percent of Black women voted for Clinton), it’s important to have more discussions around who’s putting in the work for progress and who’s benefitting from that work. It’s been made very clear that most white women cannot be counted on to put gender before race. Yet when discussions of race come up, the signature move of White Feminists is to swing the conversation back around to their comfort zone and focus only on gender. So, we’re going to need to see some action behind that talk before we trust that you’re actually down for the cause versus just out here trying to better your own personal circumstances.
2017 is for boat rocking. White Feminists, if you’re not willing to create some commotion we’re leaving you on shore with all the other people, who are either too afraid of, or just simply against, moving forward. No more free rides. Don’t worry, if the waters get too choppy, you can jump ship and try to use your white privilege as a flotation device. You might even get a book deal out of it.