Section: EditorialsJanuary 27, 2017
In the wake of the many women’s marches around the country, it is easy to think that after such a large outpouring of support—the women’s march in Washington, D.C. alone was three times the size of Trump’s inauguration—the marches were a unilateral success and showed the solidarity of the nation’s women. However, not all women felt that they were represented or uplifted by the marches.
For women of color especially, the marches were yet another reminder of how non-intersectional mainstream feminism is. It is another reminder of how many women only stand up when they feel that they are threatened, not when all along marginalized women have needed advocacy. Where were they for Black Lives Matter to support black women in the past? How are they standing up for immigrant women and the impending struggles of undocumented families?
Many women felt that the marches lacked an intersectionality that these issues demand. With such a white-cis majority, women of color and trans women felt that their specific oppressions were overlooked by white women in pussy hats advocating for reproductive justice. This is not to say that these efforts are unimportant but that they critically leave out groups of women who face different kinds of oppression.
Criticism that the marches were overwhelmingly white, cis and straight should not be brushed aside. Listen to the women who felt disenfranchised and excluded by the march. If their criticism makes you uncomfortable, it only reinforces how important it is to confront and critically engage with the inequality that others face. Without intersectional feminism, white, cis-gender feminists will continue to perpetuate racism and inequality. Our feminism cannot be stagnant; it has to not only take intersectional issues like race, gender and class into account, but also respond with true interest and action when underrepresented women—women most at risk in a Trump administration—voice their concerns. It is bad enough that these women have been left on the margins for so long already; to overlook how their marginalization makes them more at risk is to take a step backward.
We cannot start to normalize Trump. We must resist, locally and at the federal level. Call your legislators and tell them that you oppose Trump’s cabinet nominations, like Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Betsy DeVos for secretary of education. Tell them that you oppose the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Just because we are young does not mean that we cannot make a difference. In fact, our age gives us an advantage. Many of us do not yet have the obligation of jobs and children to keep us at home and keep us from protesting. We have more freedom than those with these obligations and therefore a responsibility to show up, especially when they cannot.
Brandeis, we ask what social justice means. It means using your privilege to be an accomplice in the fight. It means taking the time to learn and then educating others, especially those who share your privilege.
Part of The Hoot’s privilege is our platform as a newspaper, and we will not be silent. We will use this privilege to reach out to students, faculty and community members, and to speak out against the injustices we see. Our next editorial will be a public evaluation of The Hoot, namely our diversity and our inclusion efforts. We are committing to publicly holding ourselves accountable to the community we serve and the community that has made us possible.