Monday, March 23, 2015

Flawless Black Feminist Victory

We all know about the feminist victory in which we got the federal government in the US to target colleges across the country for their monumental failure to protect students from sexual assault and help victims. But did you know who is actually responsible for this long-overdue action?

How Wagatwe Wanjuki uses social media to make college safer.

This is yet another example of a black woman being responsible for something huge in the feminist movement yet getting erased. Good on MSNBC for featuring her and using her name in the headline. I know my fellow white people are going to have their racist brain cramps over that name, but figure it the fuck out.

Anyway, Wagatwe Wanjuki is a feminist hero who started the petition to the US Department of Education demanding action on the campus sexual assault problem and is the creator of the #SurvivorPrivilege hashtag. Remember the name and read the interview.

She's also a huge advocate of using "new media," as many black women and other highly marginalized populations are, for activism. Privileged people like to deride online activism and social media as "slacktivism" or whatever, saying that using the Internet to drive your activism is lazy and that we should go out and organize public protests or use our supposed millions of dollars to run for office (because that's what it takes in the US now). This is both a symptom of privilege, since only those who have it can safely be in public, let alone protest in it, not to mention the whole money thing, and an (often subconscious) attempt to silence people through shame.

It's plainly clear that online activism not only works, but gives the marginalized unprecedented access to large audiences to which they can (relatively) safely share their voice. It's therefore no surprise that those who have power and don't want to give it up would mock such a medium.

But try talking to Wagatew Wanjuki using the word "slacktivism." She'll smacktivism your face. NOT SORRY.

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