Gabrielle Union on #MeToo: ‘I think the floodgates have opened for white women’

Gabrielle Union signs copies of her new book

Gabrielle Union spent much of this year promoting her memoir, We’re Going To Need More Wine. She’s been on a book tour for months, and her book tour largely coincided with the unfolding stories of Sex Predatorgate 2017. In her book, Gabrielle wrote about her own rape – which happened when she was a teenager – as well as her fertility issues and the racism and sexism she encounters every day as a black woman in Hollywood. Union did an excellent interview with the New York Times this week, which you can read here:

She talks about what it was like to be on the book tour as the Weinstein story broke, and how she was asked so many questions about her rape, and how so many women wanted to tell her their stories of harassment and sexual assault. She says she went back to her hotel every night and cried, and it sounds like it’s been very difficult for her to take some time for psychological self-care. When the NY Times asked her what she thought about the #MeToo movement and what Sex Predatorgate 2017 has shown her, she didn’t pull any punches. Keep in mind, this interview came out the same day that Taylor Swift was put on the cover of Time’s “Silence Breakers” person of the year cover, because clearly Taylor is the face of #MeToo. Think about that while you read Gabby’s words:

On the cultural shift around how we discuss sexual assault: “I think the floodgates have opened for white women. I don’t think it’s a coincidence whose pain has been taken seriously. Whose pain we have showed historically and continued to show. Whose pain is tolerable and whose pain is intolerable. And whose pain needs to be addressed now.”

Who gets believed? Union goes on to speculate about how the news of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged decades of sexual abuse and harassment would have been received if members of “Hollywood royalty” hadn’t been the ones to speak out first, and asks, “If they hadn’t been approachable. If they hadn’t been people who have had access to parts and roles and true inclusion in Hollywood, would we have believed?”

The perfect victim: In talking about her own rape, Union describes herself as a “perfect victim” given the circumstances of her attack. It happened at work and it was caught on camera and it was reported to police in a timely fashion — a rare combination of factors for a sexual assault case. And she then gets into the responsibility women with megaphones have to raise the voices of those who are disenfranchised or overlooked. “When we have the microphone. How often do we pass it back to the people who are experiencing a different challenge, but who are equally worthy as having the microphone?”

[From Vulture]

Again, it’s not that Taylor Swift, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Lea Seydoux, Annabella Sciorra and Ashley Judd should be silenced from telling their stories. It’s that their stories need to be told with the same weight that we give Lupita Nyong’o and Gabrielle Union’s stories. It’s about the prevalence of sexual assault and abuse in communities of color and how little coverage those stories get, and how those conversations are valued – or rather devalued – in public forums.

Gabrielle Union signs copies of her new book

Photos courtesy of WENN.

 

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147 Responses to “Gabrielle Union on #MeToo: ‘I think the floodgates have opened for white women’”

  1. QueenB says:

    Solidarity is for white women isnt it?

  2. EOA says:

    Sorry but up until two months ago, even white women’s pain when it comes to sexual assault wasn’t taken seriously. We must absolutely recognize that women of color face barriers that white women don’t and that white women have privilege connected to their race but let’s not pretend that white women have been so believed on these issues. Very few women of any race or ethnicity were believed up until the Weinstein story.

    • QueenB says:

      White women dont only have privilege connected to their race but also their gender in relation to their race. White women victimhood is not something that white men have for example. White boys arent searched for with such rigor as white girls.
      White women were also readily believed when the accused was a man of color.

      if it makes you uncomfortable to talk about this fine but then sit this out and dont try to derail the conversation.

      • Bettyrose says:

        QueenB, I’m reminded of this so often thinking of Sandra Bland. White women are afforded some protections by the paternalistic attitudes toward them.

      • Jacinta says:

        Queen B:

        This is why I am against the “believe ALL women” mantra. For centuries white women lied on black men who were lynched on their word. Also, although rare, some women to lie, which may be weaponized by an immoral political party to bring down its enemies.

        Having said that, white women are “ambiguously hegemonic.” The are oppressed even as many are racist.

      • Tiffany says:

        @Bettyrose. Her name is Carolyn Bryant and she is living out her days in peace and comfort , after confessing to lying, while Emmitt Till is dead and his mother spent her life without her child .

        No body better never say white women don’t have privilege.

      • Bettyrose says:

        Tiffany, yes that’s probably the most egregious example, but there are smaller every day examples. When I was Sandra Bland’s age (the age at which she died), I was regularly pulled over and harrassed by cops too. They’d find some bogus excuse and give me their “drive better little lady” talk. They filled some quota and I’d be on my way. I was very cautious with cops because I feared a bogus ticket, not because I feared dying in jail 3 days later. That’s a privilege that goes unrecognized.

      • Cranberry says:

        I don’t think she’s derailing the convo. just because you don’t agree with her position on the issue.

        And what about black women that have lied about black men raping them? Just a couple years ago a black man from Los Angeles was released after 10 yrs in prison because the black woman who accused him finally came forward confessing that she lied about being raped. He had a promising football career ahead of him, and some NFL teams allowed him to tryout after his release, but I don’t think he was able to make the cut.

        Just sayin since it’s been brought up.

      • Umyeah says:

        @jacinta so are you saying you only believe victims based on their race or based on the race they are accussing?

      • pwal says:

        OMG @ Jacinta…

        Thank you for saying that. Frankly, I’m pleasantly surprised that your post survived this board. Fingers crossed that mine will.

        @Bettyrose… while history is a great teacher and reminder, MGTOW YouTubers have a lot of videos about current day false accusations. Yes, MGTOWs can be very problematic, they are not wrong about calling out problematic members of our gender who makes things worse for everyone else.

      • bettyrose says:

        pwal – I have not in any way disputed that there have been racially motivated false accusations.

      • pwal says:

        @Bettyrose… I suspect you misunderstood me. It wasn’t a dig.

        Although I am a WOC, I have been interested in false accusations, in general, for years, mainly because of Nancy Grace and her ilk would cover crime and justice stories in very irresponsible ways. And frankly, while I get that all of the recent accusations/disclosures and subsequent stories have struck a nerve with many, I can’t let go of the possibility that some are using the chaos for their own ends.

    • STRIPE says:

      I️ think she’s saying that white women are believed more than WOC in general and are therefore benefitting more from this moment in time. Not that white women were always believed before. Idk I️ could be wrong.

    • PPP says:

      Union didn’t say that white women have always been believed. She’s noting the change by using the phrase “the floodgates have opened.” She’s just saying that right now the change is biggest for rich, famous white women. They are the biggest beneficiaries of this mood of vindication. We need to vindicate and care about what happens to women of color as well. And if you need proof that color affects consequences, look at Terry Crews.

      • bettyrose says:

        For the first time in history, white women are being believed when they accuse rich, powerful white men. That is monumental. But it doesn’t negate the fact that white women have often been believed when they accuse men who are less powerful than they are.

    • Bettyrose says:

      Thanks, pwal. I think we’re on the same page ( but you threw me for a loop with the MGTOW reference).

  3. Abby says:

    Wow these are such great points. Her voice and others need to be amplified!

  4. Lalabug says:

    It’s not about white women or African American women, Asian women or even gender, it’s about an act that is done by another human being to a more vulnerable one that takes away their security and leaves that person in a inner state of trauma. Let’s all just drop the race debate here and start recognizing that we as a society need to be there for one another and not point fingers at who’s struggle is made worse because of race, class and gender. Life is short to be a victim, wouldn’t you rather be the surviving and know that we as people don’t judge each other’s pain levels according to race??

    • QueenB says:

      Why do white women get sooo defensive when this comes up?

      • Elizabeth Rose says:

        It seems damn near impossible to have this dialogue when it always has to be reduced to, we’re all human. We all experience hardship etc. As much as it would be nice to come at this from an equal playing field, continuing to discount the inequities that clearly exist is just counter productive. Gabrielle’s comments on this are so on point and it’s so necessary for us to have this conversation.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        Because for a lot of women it’s hard to be a victim and to be accused of not being inclusive at the same time. You try to fight for yourself and don’t know how to reach out to people have it even harder at the same time. Not that all white women are victims. But as we’ve seen, it’s not like we’re all leading charmed lives of privilege. And when this is pointed out, we’re yelled at for derailing the conversation and not waving the flag of intersectionality. As if that’s an easy concept for everyone. And when THAT is pointed out, we’re being yelled at for whining because women of color have it even harder.

        That’s not really your problem though.

        I imagine for women of color talking to white women it must be like for me trying to explain some feminist issues to some dude bro. His face goes blank and you can tell, he can’t relate at all and is preoccupied with his own sh*t. It’s frustrating.

      • TheOtherMaria says:

        White women get defensive about race issues because they go from being the victim to the perpetrator…

      • sorrynotsorry says:

        Typical response from the white feminist crowd. Please try listening instead of calling our concerns divisive.

      • Tanya says:

        When you’re constantly in the forefront and someone says “me too”, then you’re forced to share a spotlight you don’t want to share, even when it benefits all.

      • GreenTurtle says:

        For the same reason men get defensive and start #notallmen’ing. I was also getting defensive, but then I read littlemissnaughty’s analogy and realized that when white women insert our #notallwhitewomen and “why can’t we ALL support each other” pleas, you feel like we’re not listening and worse- we’re rejecting your experience and making it all about us. It’s time for us to shut up and hear you.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      Try not being defensive and listening to what she’s saying. Your comment is only further proving her point.

    • Shambles says:

      This is a privileged point of view, plain and simple. If you can seriously ask that we not judge each other’s pain levels according to race, you’ve never had to experience pain in the context of race. For non-white people, every experience in life plays out in the context of race. There is no getting around it. To say that “we’re all human” is a marker of privilege, end of.

    • Nicole says:

      Here we go with the #allwomen

      • Justjj says:

        https://socialistworker.org/2017/01/24/dont-shame-the-first-steps-of-a-resistance This is a decently written opinion piece which tries to say what I’ve been trying to say for years. White women should try to dismantle white supremacy, colonialism, and white privilege, definitely. Intersectional feminism should be at the forefront of our minds without a doubt. White women should never silence women of color. In an ideal world all these standards of feminism would always be upheld. In an ideal world the left would have a perfect score on every issue and embrace people of color without tokenizing or reducing them. In an ideal world neoliberalism and treating people of color without autonomy or dignity would never occur amongst progressive movements. I feel like, as a white woman, I absolutely see the point of women of color when they tell us to shut up and make way. I get that. However, we are in a rare moment in history when racism and misogyny are out in the open front and center and we are being forced to see each other and have these painful conversations. The pain of brown and black women is compound and it is very real and valid, but it does not diminish the pain of white women. We on the left MUST be able to make room for each other’s trauma, fear, shame, pain, and be able to move forward in unity. It is the responsibility of the privileged to hold the pain and fear of the oppressed and make room for that trauma to be processed and to listen but it is the responsibility of all of us to recognize that it will take all of us and if progress is going to be made, we have to start with imperfect means. I’m not saying this to invalidate or silence women of color, quite the opposite, how can we lift those voices on the left and all process our trauma while all remaining unified and ready to fight in 2018? I think we need to not lose sight of the major scores we have to settle as women before we can even have a decently productive conversation as a nation. Yes it was harolded in by white privileged women, so the f*ck what? It’s happening, let’s seize it and stop trying to throw flags. The pain of all women is real. We all have to be open to each other in this pivotal moment and not dismiss each other’s trauma.

      • Hotsauceinmybag says:

        IKR I’m not here for it

    • MKP says:

      It is about white women, african american women, asian women, etc. Intersectionality is incredibly important so we can understand the differences in how people are treated based on their race & gender. This isn’t about judging other’s pain or engaging in some kind of ‘oppression olympics,’ but if we don’t pay attention to the ways in which WOC are silenced, erased, stigamtized within these conversations, then progress will not be made for all women but just a few. In theory, we should all just be there for one another as humans, but that’s not how society works. So this is absolutely the time to talk about race and gender. And if it’s not, then when is?

    • PPP says:

      It IS about color too. If it’s fair to say that women experience this more than men, it’s fair to acknowledge that women of color experience harassment and assault at levels disproportionate to white women. I say this as a white woman who has experienced this shit since I was five: I’m still capable of acknowledging that harassment and assault are more endemic to women of color, that they carry that burden ON TOP OF the the burden of institutionalized racism, that that ABSOLUTELY complicates their trauma. Union is saying something incredibly important here. The history of feminism has been white women making gains on the backs of women of color while paying nothing back, and questioning those women in EXACTLY the way you are when they try to speak their own truth.

      • Justjj says:

        I agree with you. But I don’t think we can win if we are shaming white women or gaslighting them(I’m referring to other comments here and just saying this generally, not referencing Union’s statement). My point is, what will advance everyone’s truth, is if we all feel like we can share our own without fear or shame and get vulnerable with one another. That will lead to change. At some point, we have to process the trauma of the past and present whether it’s complex or simple or takes our whole lives, for the next generation and the generations to come, and things will be messy and imperfect but we have to move on as a unified front, we have to be able to speak our truth and expect that even if it’s not fully understood and can never be fully understood, it’s heard and respected, we have to be able to put our rage and our precious energy towards efforts that will collectively advance women, even if it’s not perfect at first. It’s political strategy. As far as I can tell, this is the major problem of the entire left. But yes, I completely understand what Gabrielle is saying and I agree with her. There is lots of work to do. And I know that I can never fully grasp what it means to be black in America.

      • PPP says:

        How on earth is Union shaming or gaslighting white women? I mean, white woman here! I have no problem with anything Union is saying. Why are you and so many other commenters choosing to interpret her as saying that white women aren’t assaulted/harassed or that it’s not important that white women experience this or that white women have always been believed? She’s not saying any of those things. She’s saying it’s different for black women. Why is it OK for things to be messy and imperfect BUT (but be careful of what YOU’RE saying, Gabrielle, don’t be messy, be perfect, don’t say anything that could be misconstrued as less than full support of white women). I don’t think you DO completely understand what Union is saying.

      • LoveMore says:

        @PPP Um, did you not read her comment? She specifically said that she wasn’t referring to Gabrielle’s statements as being part of it:

        “gaslighting them (I’m referring to other comments here and just saying this generally, not referencing Union’s statement)”

        To have a civil dialogue which I believe Justjj is trying to do, you can’t just attack someone like that esp. when it’s without merit.

      • PPP says:

        @LoveMore thank you for pointing that out. @Justjj I’m sorry I missed that segment of your reply and misinterpreted what you’re saying.

      • I Choose Me says:

        Thank you for you getting it. This is how to be an ally. By first listening then acknowledging.

    • Carbella says:

      I am guessing you are white, if not you need to wake up. We all want a world where we are all equal and considered humans. However, until the oppressed step outside of their own injustices and relate it to the injustice felt by other minority’s; gays, obese, trans we will always have issues. We can’t only see injustice when it happens to us, mainstream America only appears to care and take action when things happen to them. This is causing the racial divide and issues we see today and that is the point Gabrielle Union was trying to make.

  5. The Original Mia says:

    She’s right. People don’t want to hear about Black women’s pain. How in the world do you leave the founder of #metoo off the cover but include Taylor Swift?

    Continue to speak our truth, Gabrielle!

    • Her Higness says:

      My same thoughts, her movement was hijacked, and until called out, the ‘journalism’ would have let it go. This is why we have to tell our own stories and keep telling!

    • BorderMollie says:

      Exactly. It feels like no one cares. Confronting the pain of woc means also confronting the systems of white supremacy and neo-colonial power structures that put us there, and that’s just not something people who benefit, even marginally, from those systems are willing to do as far as I’ve seen. It’s utterly frustrating. This is not a brand campaign to hijack. Ugh.

    • Trashaddict says:

      Bizarro that Taylor got on the cover. Yes, Union should have been front and center. That kind of underlines what I’ve seen Black women talking about on Celebitchy. If things were equitable, then she’d be on the cover without any need for discussion, it would be a given. I also thought about if women were pulling for each other then Taylor would have said Union belonged on the cover for making things happen. But Black women do not and should not need any validation by white women. That seems like just another facet of white supremacy.

  6. Chrissie says:

    Longtime lurker/reader. First time commenter.

    This post reminds me of that cop who was raping black women in the inner-city and it wasn’t reported by the “mainstream media”. Too often women of color are silenced and are not believed. The link to the CNN article about that cop who raped dozens of black women (and barely any outlets reported on it) is here: http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/10/us/oklahoma-daniel-holtzclaw-trial/index.html

    I have my own #metoo story, which I’ve kept off social media, because I feel like as a woman of color (first generation Haitian-American), I wouldn’t be believed. The only person that knows of my situation is my mom and I told her for the first time towards the end of last month. I kept my #metoo story to myself for over 15 years. It wasn’t until I started hearing about Weinstein, CK, and Lauer, when those memories of being sexually assaulted in middle and high school started to come to the surface. Before then, I suppressed those memories.

    When I would read some of the stories of the brave men and women who were assaulted, I had this anxiety about it and I couldn’t understand why. Of course, the stories that are out there are gross, disgusting, and stomach-turning, but it wasn’t until I decided to get a better understanding of what sexual assault is, I realized that I was a survivor. That shook me to my core because for many years, I believed that assault was sexual abuse and rape. I didn’t know that it also includes groping and non-consensual touching (just some of the things I’ve experienced from ages 11-17).

    I guess you can say that these stories have triggered me because I haven’t been able to sleep, eat, or focus on school without having various panic attacks and crying spells throughout the day. I planned on talking to my therapist about it, but I’m concerned that because he’s a privileged white male (who voted Trump), he wouldn’t be of much help. Telling him makes my anxiety worse because I just don’t know what to do. I feel like I’m imploding and losing control.

    P.S.: I apologize if we’re not allowed to post links in the comments.

  7. Valiantly Varnished says:

    This is what I thought when I saw Taylor Swift on the cover of Time. Or when Tarana Burke’s MeToo campaign was co-opted by white actresses on Twitter who only acknowledged her when they were called out on it. Black women’s painis always erased or diminished while white women’s pain has historically been exalted and listened to. Their pain matters. Ours does not. This dates back to the suffragettes.

  8. Christina says:

    I didn’t realize #metoo was exclusive.

  9. Izzie the other says:

    Gabrielle is so right. While as a human being AND woman, I have felt emboldened by the outing of sexual abusers in Hollywood and am so proud of the woman who have used their voice to bring strength to this movement, as a WoC and a sexual assault survivor, there’s something that’s been.. adrift for me. I wondered to myself, if these women were not rich and white, who would’ve believed them? I thought of Anita Hill and the countless other Black and Hispanic women whose stories are never even given the chance. Whose sexual abuse is so often tied in misogynoir. I think about the white women who more often than not only align themselves to issues that affect white women and not all women. I guess it’s a bittersweet feeling for me.

  10. Erinn says:

    I’m not going to lie – when I first started learning more about feminism – I didn’t realize what a difference it was for inclusiveness. It was kind of naive of me – I just assumed that we’re all on the same side and that was that. But there’s still such a difference in treatment between women of different races and different sexual orientations etc. that it’s hard to imagine not being aware of at one time.

    I have an insane amount of privilege because I’m a white Canadian woman. When you grow up in a small town where the vast majority of people look just like you do – you don’t become aware of the differences as early as someone who’s exposed to more races, cultures, nationalities, etc etc. You don’t automatically see that kind of privilege at work because you’re so insulated, I guess. And I think that probably a lot of white women have at one time been in the same kind of boat as far as that goes. It’s not out of hatred, or self-importance so much as it is out of ignorance, naivety and lack of exposure. Of course there are plenty of people out there who absolutely operate on hate, and willful exclusion – far too many. I think ultimately, the important thing is wanting to keep learning, and reflecting on your own privilege, and doing whatever you can to be a respectful, inclusive ally. There’s a difference between willful ignorance and someone going from ignorance to seeking out experiences and thinking critically about how different your life is because of your privilege.

    I know a lot of white women get defensive over this stuff. I’m not going to say that I don’t occasionally think “well I don’t do ___” – but when I start to get those sort of feelings, I do my best to think about my experience vs the experience of the other person. It’s probably along the lines of ‘well, not all men’. I think there are some genuinely good guys who get the knee jerk reaction of that because they really don’t want to be lumped in with people who are doing repulsive things. But you need to kind of work through that automatic reaction and realize – if you’re not doing the terrible things the sentiment ISN’T meant in regards to you – but you better start working against the people who are giving you a bad name. You don’t get to sit back passively and hope things are going to work out for the better.

    TLDR: Sorry, this was a ramble. Ultimately, I get why there’s a certain amount of defensiveness, it took a while for me to realize how privileged I am, so I kind of get why people jump to the defense. But at the end of the day – it’s not helpful. What is helpful is using that privilege for fighting back against the people who diminish the experience of others, and doing what you can to be a respectful ally without trying to co-opt a movement. It doesn’t need to be about you – you can take a back seat and help do the leg work without having to place yourself front and center.

    • Michelle says:

      Erinn – can we be best friends? Reading your comment was like hearing myself think, in a way I’ve never had before. Essentially we’re the same person.

    • Nicole says:

      Erinn this is great. Reading about your process is awesome. I wish more people would work through these feelings like you did

    • Anners says:

      This is how I feel, too! (And my experience as a white, cis, straight woman who grew up in small town Canada. It wasn’t until I had friends who weren’t exactly like me that I learned how much harder life can be because of things over which you have no control. I’m still learning).

    • Scotchy says:

      As a beige Canadian woman that grew up in small town Canada I wish someone with your thoughtfulness had been around back then.. racism, sexism and lack of inclusion in Canada is a real problem.

    • Sarah says:

      You are spot on about the defensiveness.

      My initial gut reaction was to feel defensive when I started reading this – and it was exactly what I see my boyfriend do when we’re talking about Harvey Weinstein and all the other sexual predators who have been outed. He could never just say it’s awful what’s happened, it was always – “Well you can bet that at least a few of them are just after money”, or something like that. He’s not a bad person, he’s just clearly ignorant on this matter and defensive because he’s a man too.

      I realised I was having the exact same defensive reaction and had to mentally slap myself & say, ‘Shut the fck up, you don’t know and it’s not about you and need to listen to other womens experiences’. I’ve learned something here.

  11. Bridget says:

    I believe black women. But it’s not like we’re talking about R Kelly, and last we heard he was holding women prisoner, whereas I know the ins and outs of how many women Al Franken has tried to feel up.

    • PPP says:

      I think that’s exactly the point Union is making. Part of the pressure black women feel to be silent is because they’re forced to choose between themselves and their community. Look at Jenny Lumet’s piece and how she had to acknowledge that it was hard for her to attack a successful black man. Look at how hard it was for communities of color to deal with Cosby. If it’s a white man who is the predator, it’s a whole other can of worms. Imagine being in the position of the first woman to come out against a predator, and those are the racial dynamics. Weinstein came RIGHT out of the woodwork to dismiss Lupita. Imagine if she’d been up there alone.

  12. Sky says:

    She right and Tarana Burien should have been on the cover. Tarana Burke #metoo broke the silence for many women around the world and brought thousands of people together with a sense of solidarity and gave the voice to the voiceless.

    While Tayor is a victim Time magazine real reason for putting her on the cover was to sell magazines. She has a big following that will buy the magazine just because she’s on it.

  13. Tiffany says:

    No lie detected.

    And reminder to self, go out and buy Gabby’s book.

  14. Nicole says:

    If you don’t get what Gabrielle is saying (and clearly many do not evidenced by these comments and the one’s on the taylor article) then your feminism is not for me.
    If you don’t GET how its different for women of color then you’re not an intersectional feminist.

  15. Kira says:

    She is right on all points. All groups of women have historically been targets of sexual violence, and women’s voices have been dismissed. But there is no doubt some groups were both more targeted and less heard, and continue to be less heard.
    This movement would not have happened if very wealthy, privileged, famous, and white women had not stepped forward. I still think our conversation about sexual assault represents enormous progress, though it is sadly very white-focused. But we should treat it only as step one, and open our ears and hearts to all voices, particularly those that have been silenced and underrepresented for so long. Otherwise this movement is not good enough. I hope that, as societies, we work toward lending the same credence to all voices of women, and won’t have to wait for a select few to break down barriers.

  16. Veronica says:

    I mean, it’s fairly difficult to argue with anything she’s saying here. Women have always been degraded, but WOC have had the added disadvantage of grappling with racism on top of it. My hope would be that white women pass that megaphone over to minorities if they’re honest about solidarity. We’re never going to gain true parity if we don’t.

    • curious says:

      There won’t be no solidarity as long as both sides don’t acknowledge that they have more in common than the other way around.

      • PPP says:

        It’s not like acknowledging your common ground requires you to be blind to how your situations are different. Acknowledging that women of color’s experiences are complicated by race doesn’t imply that there is no common ground to be had, and choosing that interpretation is choosing to straw man the points Union is making. So long as we keep on insisting on being blind or minimizing what women of color are saying, we are not creating an environment of solidarity for them.

      • curious says:

        Acknowleding common ground is required from both sides. Nevertheless my impression is that POC hardly ever acknowledge that. And that is my point. A lot of initiatives and actions of POC and those actions for POC lead to segregation.

        Honestly I don’t feel any solidarity for POC any more because they never feel any for me – at least that is my experience.
        Over here in Germany POC want their own soccer clubs and their own reading tuition for their children as if playing or reading with white kids would somehow prevent their own kids from performing. How comes? They are segregating themselves from what they perceive as “white society” and therefore “white society” doesn’t have much regard for them either.
        Perhaps some POC over here should try to decide if they want to live with white people in a predominantly and originally white country or if they don’t.

      • PPP says:

        @curious: you generalize about POC instead of talking about them like individuals with different thoughts and ideas. Make friends with some and realize they’re not a monolith– or don’t, because (and I say this as a white lady) you seem like you have some unconscious racism to examine.

      • Marty says:

        Curious, can’t you just say you hate PoC and go?

      • Veronica says:

        White people haven’t historically been the victims of systemic racism in America, and feminism in its early stages either outright ignored the contributions of WOC or upheld supremacist systems to improve their own situation. Frankly, a lot of WOC have a reason to distrust white women, since we’re the ones who have primarily benefited from systems like affirmative action and women’s liberation movements. My feeling is that the onus is on us to reach across the aisle, and not the other way around. We’re the ones that have to earn their trust, especially when all they’re asking for is basic human respect.

      • Kitten says:

        @ Curious-I have nothing to add beyond what Veronica said “Frankly, a lot of WOC have a reason to distrust white women, since we’re the ones who have primarily benefited from systems like affirmative action and women’s liberation movements” except that if you don’t understand the value of community then you’re clearly the status quo AKA white. It’s unbelievable to me that you would take offense to the idea that POC feel more solidarity and safety with other POC after what we (white people) have done to people of color for literally centuries.

      • Veronica says:

        Kitten – also WTF @ predominantly white country? You mean America? The country Europeans came over and took over via genocide of the indigenous population? The one where Africans were historically ripped from their homes, forcibly relocated to the Americas, and then entrapped in a generational form of slavery? Ah man, the arrogance in that one is astounding. Trust me, if blacks and natives thought “acting white” protected them from racism, they would have long ago done it. We just expect them to sacrifice identity and still be able to systematically abuse them.

  17. Heylee says:

    There is a power dynamic that runs through society. This dynamic tells us that well to do white men are the most “complete” people. To be respected, promoted, believed, listened to, rewarded, protected… as you move further and further away from this ideal person you will have less access to all of the aforementioned rights and privileges. So yes, you do need to think about the degrees to which different groups of women are affected by sexual assault and violence. If you truly want to understand and dismantle the system that is in place.

  18. CluelessG says:

    Longtime lurker- first time commenting. I just want to express my sincere gratitude to the thoughtful, fiercely honest commenters here, particularly the WOC who are not afraid to set the rest of us straight. As a progressive white woman I am realising more all the time just how much I don’t understand (or maybe how much I have mis-understood for too long), and I am deeply humbled to be able to read all of your thoughts and experiences and learn from you. You all have challenged me and opened my eyes on a number of fronts- and I am truly working to be a better listener/ally.

  19. KLO says:

    When at first I heard about WOC being silenced when it cames to feminism etc, I did not get it. Because i am not a POC.

    But I have listened and kept my eyes open and slowly have begun to understand a little bit. People like Gabrielle have to keep on talking until everyone understands. Keep on talking!

  20. Savasana Lotus says:

    I am a HUGE HUGE Gabrielle Union fan. She has such an incredible presence and owns every room she walks into. I have watched her being interviewed for her book and she is funny, brilliant, deeply insightful and inspirational, talented, beautiful and an owner of her own destiny. Everything she has said here is truth. While Angelina shines a light on women around the world being victimized, Gabriel should have been her co-keynote speaker, speaking for women who’s pain and abuse has been overlooked and what has been endured over centuries and what needs to change today.

  21. Jenn says:

    Gabrielle Union compromised herself by backing Nate Parker. She makes strong points here but I don’t think she can be the leader she may want to be here.

  22. Marty says:

    If you find her comments divisive, read them again. She is pointing out the hard truth that this movement only became as big as it is because the majority of the victims were white. We live in a society that places more value on white women than WoC, it’s not divisive to state a fact.

  23. Hikaru says:

    Don’t you just love it when feminists hide behind #activism to push sexual assault victims under the bus?

  24. kay says:

    all of us know how it feels to do be diminished or invalidated because we are women. yes. NOT all of us know how it feels to be diminished or invalidated because of the colour of our skin. i can list a thousand and ten things that happened in my life that were traumatic because i was born a woman, that left me wondering “was *that* because i am a woman?”…but NEVER ever ever have i had to wonder “was *that* because i am white?”. when my daily interactions get filtered through a “because i am a woman” lens vs. my sisters of colour whose daily interactions get filtered through a “because i am a woman. because i am also a woman of colour” lens, well…if you can’t understand how much more of a burden that places on the heart and mind and soul of a very large chunk of our womanhood, then you are being deliberately obtuse or you really need to spend a few hours thinking about that very basic very real difference. ps: canadian here, fwiw.

  25. Lalabug says:

    I’m sorry I wasn’t trying to Offened any of the readers. I was just trying to spread the love. I respect all views and personal struggles that people face due to past discrimination that still has roots in today’s society.

  26. Wilma says:

    Gabrielle is very right. I was reading up on the whole #metoo movement and came across some articles that called out certain white feminists for equating misogyny with racism (whilst sometimes acting as if it’s harder to call out misogyny than racism) as if there are no women of colour who experience both in a poisonous cocktail. But I was most shocked (as in how far up your own ass do you need to be to do this) by seeing signs from the Women’s march with the title of the John Lennon/Yoko Ono song ‘Woman is the n***** of the world’. I should pay more attention to these things, because if we are going to do this and bring about change, we need to do it the right way. No more Seneca Falls.

  27. African Sun says:

    Gabby is right about this.

    I think one of the saddest things since the Weinstein scandal is where is the retrospective support for Anita Hill?

    I believed her. So many of us did yet nothing happened to Clarence Thomas.

    Just in that example, you see how incredibly difficult it is for women who are not white to be believed and taken seriously.

    • PPP says:

      RIGHT and the Kerry Washington movie was a blip on the radar. As much as I am here for re-evaluating how we take actresses like Megan Fox and Amber Heard, we should REALLY be talking about Anita Hill and continuing to challenge Joe Biden on the role he played in that shitshow. I don’t know why “Anita Hill” is not the automatic response to people who wonder why women remain silent.

    • Cranberry says:

      IDK. I think there’s more complexity to the historical case. Imo there was plenty of black people that didn’t support Anita Hill because she presented a threat to having a black supreme justice. Of course conservatives and republicans were not going to believe her because Thomas was their token nomination pick. And let’s not forget that approximately 10 yrs prior to the case the republicans defeated the ERA constitution amendment with the full support of conservative women. Many black women along with whites in conservative states did not support ERA amendment. Why would they then, a few years later, elect to believe a rape victim that would take down a conservative black man, a key figure for conservative power in the supreme court?

      I agree that racial inequality plays a part in everything in our society. I also think that if the republicans and conservatives were not to have been victorious in the 80′s by culturally and politically defeating the ERA amendment, Anita Hill’s claims would have been taken more seriously and given more support even in the heavily divisive political arena it was playing out in.

  28. Tanesha86 says:

    To all the women who understood what Gabrielle was saying here and took the time to try to explain if for those who didn’t, thank you. You ladies have far more patience and determination than I do for this particular issue. For those of you who refuse to listen and understand, do better.

  29. Abbess Tansy says:

    Thank you for posting this story. It makes me feel like I’ve been heard and acknowledged.

  30. Case says:

    She’s absolutely right. I think the #MeToo movement is a huge step in the right direction in how we approach the dialogue around sexual harassment, assault, and sexism. But I am a white, disabled woman with certain privileges that are not extended to women of color. I cannot fathom the mixture of dealing with racism and sexism at the simultaneously, every day. And that challenging mixture of hurdles is too frequently swept under the rug. The fact that I did not even know the name or face of the woman who started the #MeToo campaign until the TIME article speaks volumes to that point.

  31. It'sGotBellsOnIt says:

    “Gabrielle Union has been advocating for sexual-assault victims for over 20 years ”

    Oh she has? Because I recall her being extremely diplomatic about the situation with Nate Parker when her voice really mattered…she should be very familiar with the concept of selective empathy.

  32. Natasha says:

    I read thru most of these comments and seriously ladies: STOP! Our battle against men, not each other! Men want us to turn on each other, so while we’re distracted/so wrapped up in our catfights, they can continue to victimize. Yes WOC are under-represented and more often abused, no denying that, so let’s stop it! Every time a victim comes forward blast her story all over social media, demand justice, show support. Fight the real enemy and stay focused.

    • Patty says:

      I think you’re missing the point. This attitude is part of the problem and a tactic that white women love to use when called out on their own racism and the fact that they benefit from living in a society that values whiteness over all else. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but a large number of white women are part of the problem. You raise your sons to be sexist, racist, and everything in between. You raise your daughters to trade on their looks to get ahead. White women have proven time and time again that they are just as bad and sometimes worse than white men.

      We joke about it at work: white women tears and that white woman victim stuff. It’s exhausting.

  33. IMUCU says:

    What can we all come together on?

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