Book Review | White Tears/Brown Scars | How White Feminism Betrays Women of Colour by Ruby Hamad
White Tears/Brown Scars shines a light on intersectionality and how white tears have a potency that silences racial minorities.
A white woman may well be punished for an emotional outburst when interacting with men, but if she is engaged in a terse interaction with a woman of colour and she becomes emotional, by which I mean either angry or distraught, with or without actual tears, the deeply embedded notions of gender and femininity are triggered and it is the white woman who is likely to be vindicated.
WHY SHOULD YOU READ WHITE TEARS/BROWN SCARS?
- You’re interested in the history of racism and sexism
- You want to better understand people around you and the society we live in
DON’T RECOMMEND IF…
- You’re looking for a relaxing read
- You don’t like when your opinion is challenged or you’re racist -in both cases, this blog might not be for you
WHITE TEARS/BROWN SCARS BOOK REVIEW IN SHORT
Rating: 5 out of 5.
I absolutely loved the way that this book was written. Ruby Hamad mixed history and contemporary examples to explain not only the discrimination that black women face, but also how and why it impacts Asian women, Arab women, and more broadly women of colour.
Ruby Hamad explains how the West imposed its definition of genders and man/woman binary. People were convinced -because they were told so, that breaking this binary would have catastrophic consequences on Western societies and families. She also explains how, in the Western definition of genders, men « were spared any burden of guilt or remorse since it was literally regarded as their rightful role not to feel sympathetic or sentimental ».
We can still see and feel the consequences of the nineteenth-century man/woman binary: non-binary identities and men’s vulnerability still leave most people uncomfortable or outraged.
And of course, with this binary women of colour were considered inferior to men of colour who were themselves inferior to white women, who were, in turn, white men’s subordinates.
Binary oppositions, oversimplified as they are, leave no room for individual distinctions and complexity. The existence of a binary means that one pole in the structure is almost always going to dominate. It is better to be a man than it is to be a woman, and if one must be a woman then it is far better to be a virgin than a whore.
WHAT YOU CAN LEARN
- White women’s tears signal power, not weakness
- The weaponization of emotions to avoid uncomfortable situations.
- Men of colour are also the targets of white women’s tears
WHAT DID I GET OUT OF THIS BOOK?
This book is SO important. I wish everybody would read it.
Of course, I take no accountability away from myself. White women, like myself, are participants in this oppression, especially when we try to claim the title of feminist without an anti-racist lens.
AND THIS MUST STOP
Written by Mathilde, creator of "Just Another Good Story".
Follow Mathilde on Instagram at @just.another.good.story