their involvement suggesting they felt that a space where white women were

Their involvement suggesting they felt that a space

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their involvement, suggesting they felt that a space where white women were encouraged to check their privilege and to read the writing of women of Color was therefore not welcome to white women (Stockman). Coincidental with women’s empowerment at the WMW marches, attendees also saw cultural appropriation as white women carried signs using African-American Vernacular English or otherwise featuring cultural aspects associated with Blackness (Wortham). There were, for example, white women holding posters with phrases such as "ladies, let’s get in formation,” which references a song by Beyoncé, “equal pay for equal twerk ,” and “it’s lit,” alongside a drawing of a burning bra (Mejia; Prokop; Laub). Appropriating the creative and intellectual labor of women of Color, white feminists structurally support white supremacy. 2 Such appropriation is also a factor of neoliberal anti-Blackness whereby pop culture swallows up the bodies of women of Color. Further, despite the inclusion of transwomen within the policy platform and as speakers, many of the WMW attendees around the country insisted on gender essentialism (Mosthof). From pink pussy hats and signs depicting vulva as beautiful flowers, the message was clear that womanhood is still equated with possessing a very specific set of genitalia. It is important to begin examining white supremacy within the women’s movement by providing some definitions for concepts that are often misunderstood or given contradicting definitions. Early definitions of racism focused solely on interpersonal prejudice, but now we understand racism as inextricably interconnected to social systems of power. Sociologist Edward 2 While many associate white supremacy with neo-nazis or the KKK, I will refer to white supremacy as related to a system wherein whiteness is valued above non-whiteness, institutionally, culturally, and interpersonally. I will refer to white supremacists as people who espouse overtly racist beliefs.
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4 Bonilla Silva explains that there are multiple schools of thought on the subject of defining racism the institutionalist, internal colonialist, and the racial formation perspectives, but that they all have limitations. Instead, he argues for an alternative framework of racialialized social systems to provide an understanding of racial phenomena (467, 469). Beverley Daniels Tatum, a psychologist, administrator, and educator known as a race specialist, explains that antiracist trainers often share a common definition of racism as prejudice plus power. However, she explains that this definition has little resonance with her white students and so she prefers David Wellman’s definition that explains racism as a ‘system of advantage based on race’ (127). Anti- racism is a praxis combining theory with action seeking to undo racialized prejudice, discrimination, and oppression, at the individual, institutional, and cultural levels. Anti-racism addresses the social constitutedness of race and sees racism as an institutional and systemic dynamic that also influences interpersonal relationships and life circumstances. Race, like
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  • Summer '19
  • Maria Yvonne Dy