by Mia McKenzie
When I’m invited to speak at universities, one of the questions I’m asked the most by young women of color and young white women alike is some variation of “how can white women include women of color in feminism?” My answer is always the same: that’s not the right question to be asking.
While I think it’s important to talk about the ways that mainstream feminism erases and devalues women of color, I also believe the language that we use to talk about it can contribute to that erasure and devaluing.
White women don’t need to “include” women of color in feminism. Here’s why:
1. Women of color have been doing feminism since forever.
Asking how white women can include women of color in feminism suggests that feminism is the domain of white women, and that they are the ones who get to decide who’s included. This is the narrative of mainstream feminism, and it’s wrong.