I’m a woman of colour (here you can read how I happened to discover that). However, a while ago, in a feminist organization I defended a white person. Well, that was the end of my involvement in that organization.
Back then I was a recent graduate from my BA in Women’s and Gender Studies. My university experience with feminism wasn’t great at all. Precisely because of that I joined a feminist organization that seem to be realistically (unlike the university experience) more aware of women’s of colour issues, identity and their acknowledgment. We had a a few white women in the group, maybe it was 50/50…perhaps 60 women of colour/40 white members.
I was happy for a while, despite the struggles to financially support the operations of the organization. We all seemed to get along fine. Then came the day when I dared to side with a white lady. This lady wasn’t even aware there were sides. The side against the white lady won, so she was pretty much asked to leave the organization (via email…I know!).
After that e-mail circulated I met with the coordinator of the group. I told her I was quitting because I wasn’t conformable with what was happening. I was told I was such a disappointment as a woman of colour, that clearly I didn’t understand what it meant to be a woman of colour. So basically, I was told I wasn’t woman of colour enough
I was so hurt and disappointed for a long time. This organization was somehow my last hope of fitting into some feminist activism after my failure to feel accepted and part of feminism in academia. I was also sad because I expected better of the group of ladies I was working with. I was hurt because I felt I needed to validate my own experience as a woman of colour. Despite of this, I felt that my position in the issue was the right one, that I wasn’t going to pretend to support something that was wrong from my perspective.
It has been years since that happened. I don’t feel upset when I think or write about it. Clearly I’ve survived. And I still consider myself a feminist woman of colour.