White feminism, white supremacy & the silencing of black women (Video)

 
 Center image from  'the i'm tired project' . Collage Image from  @femmehood  on Instagram

Center image from 'the i'm tired project'. Collage Image from @femmehood on Instagram

 

On 21 January 2018, I published the following post to my social media accounts, after having a total of 11 posts censored and removed from Instagram and Facebook for writing about racism and white supremacy:

"I am tired of being censored.
I am tired of being attacked.
I’m tired of not feeling safe.
I’m tired of not knowing who to trust.
I’m tired of defending my humanity.
I’m tired of debating the truth of my lived experiences.
I’m tired of not being able to speak my mind without fear of retribution.
I’m tired of injustice and discrimination.
I’m tired of having to be twice as good and two steps ahead just to fxcking live.
I’m tired of having my words wiped clean from existence without reason or justification .
I’m tired of the emotional labour of being in this melanated body in these white-centred spaces.
I’m tired of having to be the strong one, the resilient one, the one who acts better than she’s being treated.
I’m tired of screaming that I’m being hurt and being punished for it, while my abusers are protected and enabled.
I’m tired of being tired.
So damn tired.

I’m disengaging from this game of abuse that certain people and certain institutions are delighting in playing with me. A game I never consented to being a part of. I’m leaving this place for a while. Disabling my account. Possibly permanently, I don’t yet know.

All I know is that I’m tired."


The events that led up to this decision to leave were written about in various news outlets including Blavity, Atlanta Black Star, The Daily Beast and News One.

In a nutshell, some white women had been 'triggered' by the things I had been writing about racial injustice and white supremacy, and decided to report me to Instagram and Facebook. These social media platforms sided with this idea of 'reverse racism', and censored my words. 

On 11 April 2018, after almost 3 months of self-care, boundaries and reflection, I made the decision to return to Instagram. Predictably, just over two weeks later on 27th April, I opened my Instagram app to find that another post had been reported and removed. This particular post was a screen shot of my friend Tamela Gordon's Medium article 'Breaking Up With Intersectional Feminism'. As the article was written by a black women and was specifically about her relationship to intersectional feminism, I included an all caps disclaimer on the Instagram post for white people NOT to comment on the post. This is because this post was not for white people, and did not need the white gaze or white feminist perspectives. I'm guessing this is the thing that really triggered whoever reported my post, because I woke up the next morning to find it gone.

It was then that I decided that I needed to have a little talk with my community of over 11k followers.

I filmed a 34 minute Instagram Live video to talk about this issue and to share my thoughts around white feminism, white supremacy and the silencing of black women and women of colour. In particular, I wanted the people who had chosen to be in my community to understand what I stood for, what I know to be true, and how things will and will not go down in my space. Much to my surprise, the video itself went viral. In the space of just 24hrs, it was viewed by more than 3,500 people and I received around a thousand new followers. I received hundreds of messages from white women who told me my words were finally helping them to 'get it'. And hundreds of messages from black, indigenous and women of colour thanking me for speaking the words they want the white people in their communities to hear.

I was asked several times by many people how they could download and share the video, with many calling it 'required viewing'.

I was hesitant to make it permanent and shareable on any public social media platforms as I know this will inevitably lead to more censure and blocking. As a Black, Muslim woman who writes about racial injusticce and white supremacy, I have to worry about racism, sexism and Islamophobia. My boundaries are non-negotiable. I am everything that white supremacy loathes - an outspoken and unapologetic Black, Muslim woman. 

However, I realised I needed to find a workaround since this video has done so much good in such a short space of time. The most obvious solution then hit me: I could publish it on my website.

So here it is. Listen with both your ears and your heart.

And if you find value in it, share it with your friends, colleagues and families. Better yet, if you would like to support my work you can do so on Patreon. The only thing I do ask white people NOT to do however is reach out to me to help you process how you feel about my words.

That's not my work. That's your work.

Layla Saad