“You’re calling me a racist?” The Moral and Emotional Regulation of Antiracism and Feminism


“You’re calling me a racist?” The Moral and Emotional Regulation of Antiracism and Feminism


Feminist researcher Sarita Srivastava highlights the differences between non-racist and anti-racist work. Non-racist work refers to a liberal colour-blind ideal of equality that wants to bypass differences through ignoring them. Anti-racism, on the other hand, tries to change and counteract structures and political effects of unequal treatment based on socially constructed categories like race and its intersections with other marginalized categories and groups. She asks: Could we not imagine discussions of racism as collective political and social analyses rather than as individual preoccupations with morality? Conclusion:  Instead of an antiracist feminist change that  aims at a transformation of self she argues for an antiracist feminism that might aim at an unbalancing of historical links between racism and the poles of innocence versus evil, knowledge versus ignorance.

Relevant Quotes: ...
three threads—imperial representations of innocence, imagined egalitarian communities, and national discourses of tolerance—can become intertwined in contemporary women’s feminist, service, and professional work ...

In other words, just as first-wave feminism was shaped by the backdrop of imperialism and nation building, contemporary feminist communities have been similarly shaped by representations of morality rooted in racist and imperial histories ...

These links among discourses of nation, femininity, and feminism are clearly demonstrated in some of the responses to antiracist challenges within feminist organizations. With these challenges, the assertion of the good, white woman easily becomes a spectacle within and outside feminist organizations. A well-known Toronto example is the antiracist challenge raised by women of color working at Nellie’s Hostel, a shelter for battered women. ...Any discussion of racism in the organization was stopped short by a reminder ofthe good women who had helped a needy woman of color years before.

The struggle by some white feminists and feminist organizations to maintain an ethical nonracist feminist identity can then become an impediment to meaningful antiracist analysis and change.

 Feminism, Morality, Racism, Feminist ethics, White people, Social movements, Women, Social ethics, People of color, Emotional expression




Signs, Vol. 31, No. 1 (Autumn 2005), pp. 29-62 <http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/432738>









““You’re calling me a racist?” The Moral and Emotional Regulation of Antiracism and Feminism,” Antiracism Digital Library, accessed June 25, 2024, https://sacred.omeka.net/items/show/264.