White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color

White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color

by Ruby Hamad
White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color

White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color

by Ruby Hamad


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Called “powerful and provocative" by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, author of the New York Times bestselling How to be an Antiracist, this explosive book of history and cultural criticism reveals how white feminism has been used as a weapon of white supremacy and patriarchy deployed against Black and Indigenous women, and women of color.

Taking us from the slave era, when white women fought in court to keep “ownership” of their slaves, through the centuries of colonialism, when they offered a soft face for brutal tactics, to the modern workplace, White Tears/Brown Scars tells a charged story of white women’s active participation in campaigns of oppression. It offers a long overdue validation of the experiences of women of color.

Discussing subjects as varied as The Hunger Games, Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez, the viral BBQ Becky video, and 19th century lynchings of Mexicans in the American Southwest, Ruby Hamad undertakes a new investigation of gender and race. She shows how the division between innocent white women and racialized, sexualized women of color was created, and why this division is crucial to confront.

Along the way, there are revelatory responses to questions like: Why are white men not troubled by sexual assault on women? (See Christine Blasey Ford.) With rigor and precision, Hamad builds a powerful argument about the legacy of white superiority that we are socialized within, a reality that we must apprehend in order to fight.

"A stunning and thorough look at White womanhood that should be required reading for anyone who claims to be an intersectional feminist. Hamad’s controlled urgency makes the book an illuminating and poignant read. Hamad is a purveyor of such bold thinking, the only question is, are we ready to listen?" —Rosa Boshier, The Washington Post

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781948226745
Publisher: Catapult
Publication date: 10/06/2020
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 59,457
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

RUBY HAMAD is a journalist, author, and academic completing a Ph.D. in media studies at UNSW (Australia). Her Guardian article, ‘How White Women Use Strategic Tears to Silence Women of Color,’ became a global flashpoint for discussions of white feminism and racism and inspired her debut book, White Tears/Brown Scars, which has received critical acclaim in her home country of Australia. Her writing has also featured in Prospect Magazine, The New Arab, and more. She splits her time between Sydney and New York.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xv

Part 1 The Setup

Introduction: White Tears 3

1 Lewd Jezebels, Exotic Orientals, Princess Pocahontas: How Colonialism Rigged the Game Against Women of Color 19

2 Angry Sapphires, Bad Arabs, Dragon Ladies: Boxed In by the Binary 45

3 Only White Damsels Can Be in Distress 77

Part 2 The Payoff

4 When Tears Become Weapons: White Womanhood's Silent War on Women of Color 105

5 There Is No Sisterhood: White Women and Racism 135

6 Pets or Threats: White Feminism and the Reassertion of Whiteness 166

7 The Rise of Righteous Racism: From Classwashing to the Lovejoy Trap 186

8 The Privilege and Peril of Passing: Colorism, Anti-Blackness, and the Yearning to Be White 207

Conclusion: Brown Scars 233

Acknowledgments 251

Notes 255

Bibliography 271

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