Courtland Milloy And The Oppression Olympics
Well, Postie Courtland Milloy's second crack at white and black female anger was a lot more successful in making a point than his first—much of which boiled down to, "why don't you smile more, white women?!" In his column yesterday, Milloy tackled the complicating effect racism has on poverty and sexism.
Milloy argues that yes, all women have to deal with poverty and sexism, but racism makes things that much harder for black women. He pulls examples of imprisoned black women being forced to give birth while shackled, and race-baiting abortion campaigns.
More interesting than the content, to us at least, is how Milloy tackled a topic that's been a bone of contention between white and black feminists for...well, ever. And his columns bring to mind one popular phrase in the feminist (and social justice, and anti-racist) blogosphere: "Oppression Olympics." It's usually brought up to stifle the kind of musings Milloy is engaging in: As in, we're not in a contest to see who has things worse, we're all in this fight together.
Milloy hasn't responded to an email yet, but I'm really curious to know where the idea for this series came from. Yours truly has written a bit about this divide in the past—including the black abortion billboard campaign when it started cropping up a couple of years ago. For what it's worth, I agree with Milloy's premise, but wish he'd spent more time explaining that racism against black women is damaging to everyone, and less time baiting readers.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery