In Hood Feminism (Viking, Mar.), blogger and activist Kendall charts a new direction for the women’s movement.
Who’s the audience for this book?
Hopefully feminists who want to do better, and feminists who are doing the work but often feel like they’re going unrecognized. People invested in the future of feminism.
How do you hope they respond?
I hope it makes people really consider what they’ve done, how they’ve done it, and what other people are doing. Even if it makes them angry. The response might look like a little less pink pussy hats and a lot more people showing up for Black Lives Matter protests.
What did your hashtag #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen accomplish?
I started that before we understood viral hashtags. I was ranting, basically. And it was like I gave people permission to say all of the things they had been feeling and thinking. All over the world, more than seven million people used that hashtag to talk about everything from gender to medical care—issues where they felt like they had no use for feminism, because mainstream feminism had no time for them.
Third- and fourth-wave feminists often discuss intersectionality as one of their core precepts. What are they still doing wrong?
I’ve seen a lot of people talk about intersectional feminism, but they’re quick to remove black people and other identities and turn it into “It’s about class, not about race.” They’re sidestepping their own discomfort with race, I suspect, but also creating a situation where their work leaves out the people most likely to be impacted. I want to shift that.
How do majority-white feminist organizations know when to step in and when to stay out of the way?
If you know that people in your town are food insecure, or that homelessness is a struggle, and that those people are disproportionately women of color, you can go to organizations already inside the community and ask “How can I help?” Sometimes it may be as simple as writing a check or forwarding our fundraiser blast to your network. There’s a lot you can do that doesn’t require you to run in as a savior and solve someone else’s problem.
Can historically white feminist organizations fundamentally change by bringing in more women of color in leadership roles?
I think they can, if the organization actually wants it to work. But this is the problem. If an organization thinks diversity looks like a majority white group with one or two brown people, then it isn’t really committed to decolonizing. Sometimes you get excuses: “Well, no one like that applied!” But if you’re recruiting for a position and there’s not a single face darker than a paper bag on your web page? You’ve told people who’s likely to be welcome.