DiscoverRevealAl Letson Reveals: The color of feminism

Al Letson Reveals: The color of feminism

Update: 2017-04-13
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From women’s 19th-century fight for the right to vote to the Women’s March this year, racism has affected feminist movements.


In this podcast special, Al Letson recalls the #BlackWomenAtWork stories that went viral recently and talks with Kimberly Foster, the founder of For Harriet and a very frank video commentator, about her dream to “bring down the system.”


Head over to revealnews.org for more of our reporting.


Follow us on Facebook at fb.com/ThisIsReveal and on Twitter @reveal.


And to see some of what you’re hearing, we’re also on Instagram @revealnews.



Following script is auto-generated by Speech to Text Technology:

the Center for investigative reporting in PR hacks this is Allison reveals a podcast Special where I have in depth conversations with people I find interesting and hopefully you will too so recently all over the Internet a very frank conversation about black women's experiences went viral it started after Representative Maxine Waters said this in Congress when we fight against this president and we point out how dangerous he is but this is I can put this country where fighting for the democracy where fighting for America Fox News played that clip on their morning show Fox and Friends and the as commentator Bill O'Reilly what he thought about it he said this I I was looking Waite I The Inn on that same day white House press secretary Sean Spicer told veteran African American reporter April Ryan this you ask me a question and answer which is the president I'm sorry please stop shaking her head plenty of dismissive miss disrespect to these comments are sick of it so the Stepford to share their experiences of everyday in going discrimination using the hash tag black women at work some are called be mistaken for the janitor or criminal told the hair was just way to wow our guests today cuz Kim Foster Kim says she didn't have an at work story to share because she spent most of her adult life working for self and part of that decision was because I've seen brilliant talented cable so abused in the workplace and so I don't have a lot of experience being a black woman at work but I of experience being a black woman at school a black woman in the shopping mall a black woman on the street and a lot of these experiences that I've seen in the Black Women at Work cash that are transferable to my experience gave him a whole other round of life is the founder and editor in chief of for Harriet all my collection of commentary by black women who work has drawn tens of thousands of followers will really pull me in her video commentaries like this one about feminists history celebrating itself while ignoring its own races by feminists come closer listen very closely to me read about some Laura some help from law first time because we can't go on like this this is why we don't trust you know Jim publish her writing for more than five years on for Harriet sensor undergraduate days at Harvard but he told me it took a long time to get the guts to say was she thought on camera and post that online I was of doing it because highs of the consequences of being visible I mean if you're a black woman and your vocal about issues that are potentially controversial I mean that you know Wolf I mean is that men did you know reproductive rights in the just is you can expect to get rid of threats and death threats and and just all sorts of really crazy negativity and sour and what to do it but I was afraid to talk a little bit about feminism but a couple different lenses and start off with feminism in the black community to feel like there's been an awakening of black feminism because you know just just looking back at the history of African people in America black women have always been kind of at the center of the struggle but not really the center of the spotlight and it just feels like in the last I don't know five to ten years you beginning to see black women be more in the spotlight like actually being seen I absolutely think that Black feminist thought and activism that is rooted in black feminist politics has become more visible over the past five to ten years and that is absolutely a result of social media and the Internet absolutely unequivocally the way that black feminists have been able to congregate and spaces that we're on the A blocks and then of course from the block is fear let's move now to Twitter and Facebook where we can have real time conversations about these issues about our politics really fear rising on the spot what do you think the general vibe is in the black community may be specifically like with black men but also like with black women who maybe don't sign on to the idea of feminism there's a certain kind of conversation about black feminists and I just don't think is ever going to go away that when we are emphasizing focus on black women's issues black women struggle that that detracts from our duty as a black community as a Black people and a lot of people still try to put forth this argument that we are causing division and that we are weakening ourselves weakening our stance particularly when we're trying to fight state by a landslide in that the current movement against police brutality there's always going to be a subsection of people just don't get it who just think that we need to do one thing at a time that we needed to be black first essentially as a family move is a bald black feminist it's just it's an occupational hazard you now that whenever you talk about like them is or black women's issues or the need for us to take a community resource as Stu taking care of black women that that is going to be the type of response the chicken to get moving on to kind of widening out how you feel like black feminism is looked at from white feminist the head with the bread to the side with but now in much the same way that when we talk to black people or black man about then need to dedicate our time in our resources to caring and supporting black woman intentionally there is this some sort of pushback that you get for a certain demographic of white feminists when we say make sure that you are not forgetting back with him and make sure that you're honoring and respecting black women's work and our intellectual property and that kind of response from White Diamond is a lot of time is well brought to swim in rate we need to come together but fortunately social media has also been really important in helping white feminists understand the importance and thus in tragedy and resistance that works and so increasingly particularly over the past couple of years more and more white feminists have come to understand that we are not going to get anywhere as women as people if we don't recognize that our struggles against sexism and racism class ism that they're all in her late and that we have to make sure that we're trying to tackle them simultaneously and not just think about you know the white woman's experience as central features which are thoughts were about the march the Women's March I saw a lot of black women of color sanded like they had no interest in the March they were basically like you know where were these people when much of a Black Lives matter and they stay home yeah so I personally was completely in support of the Women's March I didn't get out of March because I was loving up on my niece's that weekend because it was very he was an emotionally difficult time that day after the inauguration but I absolutely understand black women who say that they're tired tired tell me tell me which are tired of tired because we always show up and not work so often goes un reciprocated and feeling like you're out fighting alone it leads to really deep kind of resentment he now I saw a lot of black women who are very passionate activist in the current movement for black lives say we have been out here are marching consistently for the literal survival of black people and we have to and white couldn't quote highlights to show why and as soon as you feel like your life your livelihood might be pregnant then you bang creates the largest mass demonstration in American history like I get that rage I got at di that sadness because what if I don't so many friends we have to fight not only because we are with men but because we are poor but because we're black because we are clear and there's not necessarily an understanding by all of the women who showed up for the women start to get that and and or that they will make an effort to post wins March two to get that do see any movement from why feminists to reach out to Black feminists and to create bridges now I am still a young her thin and I say when I first started doing this kind of work I was very much like we don't need white women will do it ourselves are in the past year that the sort of movements that I've seen in mainstream feminist discourse the ways that so many non black feminists have reached out to me personally and said Thank you or you now writing or your videos have changed my thinking on nests where I go to learn more like that stuff really it hardens me and it makes me think that we are on a positive trajectory what does feminism mean for you I love and adore the work of Alex and I really go with her definition of feminism as a movement to end sexist oppression and that means that we have to deconstruct all of the systems by guitar like Chan says that in him but I love Chan says so she calls it white supremacist capitalist patriarchy and that's what I go and re word we're trying to bring down the system who will he say bring down the system I flashed to another interview the head with someone who is the exact opposite of you Richard Spencer and riches or riches Spencer is you know all dry white supremacists and I think his goal is to bring down the system as well so what's the difference between those two divisions the difference for me as a black woman is that we are actually victimized by a institutionalized depressions we are are marginalized because we're at the mercy of systems that rely on our exploitation and re capitalism relies on the exploited labor of the underclass in order to create you know that I like the billionaire class Richard Spencer as a white man reaps many privileges and also Richard Spencer is a privileged white man he who felt incredibly privileged within the sorts of systems that we are talking about that that literally brutal eyes and terrorize and kill people who look like me I think that's the real difference I see you've not susceptible to the same sorts of source of terror I guess the real question is like what do you want to see America look like when you bring down the system state violence looks like many things right it's not just that capacity of law enforcement to kill black people with impunity it's also low Flint Michigan where in their homes are predominantly black community doesn't have clean drinking water it also occurs in our public school system where black children and are more likely to be piled into the school to prison pipeline or black girls are more likely to be pushed out of school and soul of vision and four are for the United States looks like a world in which black people black folks like men women and gender Non conforming People chant people can live freely where we have money to meet our basic needs and have the opportunity to pursue our potential we think is next for America I think that in terms of America how we can expect large scale attacks on civil rights on constitutional rights but that will also elicit large scale resistance do you feel in some ways hopeful about the ways that people have been activated to enact change in their communities and Tish and their representatives both locally nationally to make sure that their voices are heard in a sectional and coalitions like how you reach out to maybe why feminists who don't quite get the experience of black feminists how do you reach out to black men who don't quite get the experience of black women know why I believe now that if you do the work that they will have been doing for Harriet for six and a half year and I recognize that their car or a certain segment of people who want to know who are reachable and they will gravitate toward you and they'll have some questions that you think are ridiculous or annoying but that you have to engage them earnestly and and you have to be kind of generous when you encounter somebody who lives on the break of being on your side of being on your team they have to be cognizant of the fact that you have the opportunity to bring somebody and to really convert people and I take that responsibility very seriously it gets tricky raid because of the black warm and where expected to do so much work and so much labor but I just want to win however when Kimberly Foster thank you so much for coming in thank you so much for having me Kimberly Foster as the blood for Harriet to cover video commentaries on the For Harriet YouTube channel this edition of Alice reveals was produced by Emily Harrison edited by Kevin Sullivan are sound design team is the one between Mom and Jay breezy just Jim Briggs think Lacey know Molly engineering help today from Catherine Ray Mondo and Mary reveals a co production of The Center for investigative reporting in PR ethics now let's remember there is always more to the story The
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Al Letson Reveals: The color of feminism

The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX