Black women marching at a Black Youth Project 100 protest in Chicago//Photo by Evan F. Moore

White feminism is quick to throw on its blinders when it comes to Black life.

We’ve seen this time and time again on a national scale. White feminism positions itself as the first line of defense anytime someone attacks a white woman or a white member of the LGBTQ community. But where were these folks in 2012 when Rekia Boyd was murdered by an off-duty Chicago Police officer?

Or, when 25-year-old Jessica Hampton was stabbed to death by her boyfriend on the CTA Red Line in 2016?

Or, when someone fatally slashed the neck of “T.T.,” a Black trans woman, in West Garfield Park last year?

When Black lives are concerned, white feminism makes it very clear that it gives no fucks about our women. Young Black activists race to the front lines every time, holding vigils and protests to make sure the world knows how the U.S., yet again, failed Black women. White feminists, however, sit silently, watching Black women suffering from afar.

It’s funny, though, because the Chicago white woman’s claim to fame is liberalism. Unlike 53 percent of their peers, the Chicago white woman couldn’t fathom a world where Donald Trump is president. So she voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. By definition, the Chicago white woman should be an ally of Black women, right? Instead, the Chicago white woman is a direct descendent of white feminism’s particular brand of indirect apathy, and it arguably causes the most harm to Black women than any other group. As we have seen, white feminists will go hard for LGBTQ and women’s rights, but not when those rights pertain to the even more marginalized Black people within them.

Remember the days after Donald Trump’s election, when many white women said they never imagined things in America would get this bad? Reality check: Things were already bad. You, white women, chose to ignore it. Look back to what happened when a Texas police officer body slammed a teenage Black girl in June 2016. That was a steel cage match, and white feminists only got involved when TV pundit Roland Martin came for them.

White feminists dismiss the concerns of Black women so much that they don’t even realize what they’re doing. They fall into the trap of the “let their community handle their own problems” trope. And when that happens, the issues within intersections that are involved in true feminism, such as Black Lives Matter, are ignored. This racial erasure, if you will, is something white people do when they don’t want to own up to their own shit.

There’s really only one way to be a solid ally to Black women. White feminists, you have to be visible – front and center – when the Black women you’ve aligned yourselves with are suffering from racism, sexual assault, rape, police brutality, domestic violence and microaggressions within the workplace. You have to acknowledge the absurdity of only having men on a panel discussing the issue of sexual assault, or a panel solely consisting of white people discussing Black issues. Important parts of the conversation are missing in these situations. It’s comparable to hearing only a small part of GPS directions, and getting mad when you eventually are lost.

In closing, I say this to white feminists in Chicago and across the country: people are remembered by whichever side of history they choose to stand on. Don’t let history define you as a group of no shows.

Evan F. Moore is a Chicago-based journalist, educator and syndicated columnist who writes about the intersection of sports, race, violence, politics and culture. He survived the Donald Trump Chicago rally and lived to tell about it. A version of this op/ed was first published on his website. Follow him on Twitter
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