According to mainstream accounts, the current disarray of the Women’s March movement began almost at the moment of its inception. A black feminist and a brown feminist spoke disrespectfully to a Jewish feminist, and through that original sin the seeds of the movement’s subsequent troubles were sown.
The Jewish victim was Vanessa Wruble, and the offense occurred as “a diverse group of women” assembled to plan what would eventually become the March of the Pussy Hats, a substantial feminist response to the election of Donald Trump:
Vanessa Wruble, a Brooklyn-based activist, said she told the group that her Jewish heritage inspired her to try to help repair the world. But she said the conversation took a turn when Tamika Mallory, a black gun control activist, and Carmen Perez, a Latina criminal justice reform activist, replied that Jews needed to confront their own role in racism.
To add injury to insult, Mallory and Perez, upon assuming leadership of the Women’s March, invited the Palestinian feminist Linda Sarsour to join their ranks. As a statement of feminism’s new-found commitment to racial diversity, the choice seemed ideal: a black woman and a Chicana woman had brought a brownish Arab woman into the leadership of an important feminist project.
But from a Jewish perspective, Jews had been excluded from the movement’s leadership, even though Jewish financial backers were funding it, and a prominent Muslim opponent of Israel had been smuggled in. Jewish women could pay bills and make coffee for the betterment of feminism, but they risked losing the power to shape the character of the feminist Women’s March. What had begun as a liberal effort to include a few colored women in prominent positions had ended with a judenrein leadership. Each of the three principal March leaders is, moreover, hostile to Zionism, and each has a history of irritating Jews.
Vanessa Wruble was eventually, she claims, excluded from the Women’s March movement. Troubled and pained by the intolerance she had experienced, notably at the hands of Tamika Mallory, she helped found a rival organization, March On, which devotes much of its energy to denouncing anti-Semitism and defending Israel. The fractured movement’s future now seems uncertain, as the New York Times reports: “Charges of anti-Semitism are now roiling the movement and overshadowing plans for more marches next month.”
The charges of anti-Semitism that are roiling and overshadowing the movement come, of course, from numerous Jewish voices in newspapers and prominent online news sources, all speaking at roughly the same time, as though their outrage had been orchestrated. The Women’s March movement would not have been overshadowed by Jewish complaints if Jews did not have the media power to make their concerns an issue of public discussion. If Jews did not dominate mainstream media, no one but Vanessa Wruble’s nearest and dearest would have learned of her pain two years ago. The chances are good that the diverse (but gentile) leaders of the Women’s March movement are now acutely aware of that fact.
For anyone who dislikes feminism, this story is entertaining. Its outcome will also be illuminating. Do Jews still retain the power, within a racially diverse movement that privileges a group history of victimization, to keep their victim status co-equal with the status of other victim groups?
For a black activist like Tamika Mallory, who admires Louis Farrakhan, the answer is obvious. Jews have all the wealth, she once said. She will not cheerfully allow rich Jewish feminists to claim equality in oppression with black and brown feminists. If Tamika had her way, Jewish women would dwindle down to the level of white women, perhaps even lower.
The old feminism that arose in the 1970s had no difficulty identifying enemies. Its attention was largely focused on womyn as a single group, and it maintained group cohesion by stigmatizing men as the cause of women’s discontents. That its leadership was mostly Jewish seemed immaterial, since feminism’s ingroup was clearly defined as female and the other half of humanity was its enemy. A Jewish woman can speak for feminism just as convincingly as an Episcopalian woman, inasmuch as both are equally female. The outward face of old-school feminism was (((white))), and few gentile feminists found that disturbing.
The world for feminists was simple then. Feminist attacks on men did not require that the attacker announce her position on the plight of transvestites or the Palestinian Question or the morality of national borders. Those were not distinctively women’s issues, so a feminist’s thoughts about them were unimportant. She could keep them to herself.
The old structure of feminism could accommodate some complexity. For example, white men are especially bad and black men are less bad. Feminism cannot, however, easily accommodate a multiplicity of victim groups, each wedded to different and sometimes competing accounts of their group’s victimization.
To take the clearest example, a Palestinian feminist cannot reasonably be asked to ignore the fact that Zionism, and the Jewish ethnostate it created, is the source of her particular ethnic oppression. About half of Linda Sarsour’s Wikipedia article is devoted to charges launched against her by Zionists, since she takes seriously her own group’s dispossession and believes it should be added to feminism’s growing list of causes. Most Jewish feminists disagree, and especially emotional Jews call her a nazi, which is tantamount to a declaration that she does not deserve to live.
The position of white women within the new feminism, now littered with dozens of identity groups, is steadily declining. Each additional group added to feminism’s list of favored victim groups comes at their expense. A white woman is less oppressed than a black man. A white woman is less oppressed than a homosexual man or an illegal Mexican immigrant.
A white woman is also less oppressed than a white man who has convinced himself than his inner sex is really female. A white woman’s only claim to power within the new feminism is that she is not a man, and even that can now be taken from her. Her pussyhat becomes divisive and contentious, because in our Kali Yuga some women lack pussies.
Furthermore, a white feminist woman, just like a white man, is riddled with phobias and bigotries, and one of her new moral tasks is to self-police her mind to ensure that her “racism” and various other hatreds are properly subdued. Just like white men, she must heed the instructions of non-white women, who are best positioned to alert her to her flaws and to any microaggressions that are disturbing them.
There is, nevertheless, an actual white woman near the top of the Women’s March. Her name is Mari Lynn Foulger, though she calls herself Bob Bland. She was present at the movement’s founding meeting, and she is occasionally listed among its leaders.
Unlike most feminists, Bob Bland seems likeable, and she has, surprisingly, some sensible opinions. She opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a stunningly bad trade deal, and she shares Donald Trump’s opposition to neo-liberalism’s “endless globalism.” She could easily have been a Trump voter: “I didn’t disagree with him about any of that at all.”
In a Jewish podcast, Bob Bland claimed that “there’s no oppression Olympics” within the new feminism. She also, with the illogic that characterizes many feminists, acknowledged her own white guilt: “I am the oppressor of all the people we’re talking about right now, because I’m white, I’m Christian.”
If your very existence makes you an oppressor, then you must be the enemy of any movement that officially combats oppression, and the victims of your oppression must be placed somewhere far above you as sources of moral concern. Their distinctive issues must be much more important than your distinctive issues, because you are oppressing them and they are not oppressing you. Which group gets placed at the top of feminism’s new hierarchy may be up for debate, but there can be no doubt about which group is at the bottom.
There clearly is a feminist Oppression Olympics, but within this competition white women are not entitled to participate. Although “intersectional feminism” has nuances and a complex vocabulary with which to express them, in practice it means that the more recognized victim identities a woman can pack into her personal identity, the more powerful she becomes within a movement that, despite all claims to the contrary, privileges victimhood. Within feminism a non-Jewish white woman is the least endowed with victim identities, so she is ineligible for the Oppression Olympics. She can watch the other contenders and perhaps pick a favorite, but the most she can hope for is the right to cheer her preferred victim athletes from the sidelines.
Bob Bland is the ideal white woman for the new post-feminist feminism, which now publicly calls white racial nationalism, rather than men, its primary enemy. She freely acknowledges her racial guilt and is eager to receive enlightenment from the non-white women around her. She is grateful that Tamika Mallory has helped her to overcome some of the errors that her whiteness once led her into. She is outraged at the suggestion that a black woman could be called a “racist,” though she believes that her own race is congenitally guilty of that offense. She did not complain when Linda Sarsour announced that only colored women should be recruited as the March movement’s organizers, which is to say that neither Jews nor white gentiles were wanted. Her role in feminism is to serve non-white women and to receive correction from them: “We need to let people of color lead. We need to listen to them. We need to trust them.”
The original sin of Tamika Mallory, back in 2016, was to assume that she could speak to a Jewish feminist as she would speak to a docile white feminist. She wanted to educate Vanessa Wruble about the offenses of her particular segment of whiteness, as she had educated other white women. It was, for example, unobjectionable when Mallory told white feminists that their whiteness made them untrustworthy. Within an environment where anti-whiteness is the norm, it was reasonable for her to expect that she could speak similarly to a Jewish feminist.
Needless to say, that was a serious mistake, which could end up wrecking her budding career as a professional activist. Tamika Mallory and her supporters should now be crossing their fingers and hoping that Jewish power is in decline.
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A Beginner’s Guide to the Jewish Question
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Remembering Leni Riefenstahl
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