the inherent white supremacy of [r]dfmnism
September 10, 2012
Essential reading for this post is “A brief history of white androgynous radical queerness.” I’ll wait.
The point of this post is to, in part, explain why I never bother dealing with [r]dfms myself and also why, as some people occasionally wonder, if [r]dfmnism can ever be reformed.
1) White patriarchy and [r]dfms
By making teh patriarchy being the fundamental axis of oppression all they do is re-enforce the white patriarchy as colonial tool used to subjugate people across the globe. (yes, [r]dfms, this means that you are actually complicit in the oppression of women of colour everywhere). This wikipedia article notes that early [r]dfms viewed the patriarchy as ‘transhistorical’ which is so absurd that, well, such a point shouldn’t need refuting. And I’m not really going to refute it. Especially not by pointing out the many, many, many non-white pre-colonial (and ocassionally still existent) non-patriarchical societies and civilizations that have existed. Because [r]dfms, for the most part, aren’t interested in facts or history.
[r]dfms consistently fail to see and understand how the patriarchy so currently omnipresent in the world is a result of white colonialism, a colonialism that they currently benefit from (as white people), perpetuate, and are complicit in. This particularly holds true when the few ‘race conscious’ ones decided to get on that white saviour horse and try to liberate those Black and/or Brown and/or Indigenous and/or Asian women in the third world from their savage men. In doing so, they fail to understand how their actions and theories always presuppose the primacy and supremacy of white patriarchy, thereby reifying and enforcing the very thing they claim to be against.
2) [r]dfms, transmisogyny, and white supremacy
The importance of point one as context for the transmisogynistic theories and veiws of [r]dfems cannot be stressed enough. The intertwinning of [r]dfmnism and colonialism is important and part of why they remain white supremacist.
It goes further than that, of course.
While [r]dfms don’t believe in intersectionality (as if it were the easter bunny), my race cannot actually be separated from my gender. At all. Who I am is rooted in my culture. (I’m gonna be using white terms to describe myself in this discussion for the sake of convenience – do not turn around and use any of these words for me, I still and always only use bakla as my gender/sexual ID).
Being a trans feminine poc, who if forced to pick a white gender would probably transition to being a woman, I am one of the perennial targets of [r]dfms. One of their biggest bones of contention tends to be that I’d be appropriating the ‘woman’ identity.
But note how this always presupposes the default ‘white’ position. Having a white [r]dfm tell me that I’m appropriating their identity is ridiculous beyond belief. Because I’ll never be a white woman. Like. I’d be a Filipina. And the only people able to tell me whether or not I’m appropriating their IDs are other Filipinas. End of story.
Nonetheless, who I am is a product of my culture. So. When [r]dfems run around shouting that ‘men in dresses’ are disgusting and should be mandated out of existence, they are calling for nothing less than genocide of me and mine. Because it can never, ever be a neutral thing for a white mouth to say that me and my fellow trans feminine poc should simply cease existing. Moreover, as per point one, white people already tried this shit (and as your obvious example shows, keep trying to do this). And if you think you can do better than 400+ of colonization and missionaries and shit, you are wrong.
We were here before white people came and we’ll be here after white supremacy has been dismantled.
But really. [R]dfms are really part of a longer history of white colonialism, white supremacy, and genocidal tactics that have been going on for hundreds of years. Neither their claims nor their methods are unique (or, dare i say it, radical).
3) the consequences
Perhaps one of the biggest clues that [r]dfem rhetoric is inherently white supremacist, is gleaned from looking at the consequences of their actions and organizing.
The consequences of transhobia (particularly transmisogyny) are largely and most heavily felt and experienced by those trans people of colour. You’ve only needed to pay the slightest bit of attention to notice the many reports of Black trans women who’ve been violently attacked or murdered this year. And this doesn’t touch on the poverty, sex work, and seriously reduced access to the medical industrial complex (and if you think this comment is only about transitioning… well. no).
But going globally, the consequences are such that bakla in the Philippines went from being assistants to women who served as spiritual leaders, to be beauty parlor operators (if they are lucky) or sex workers (often for white tourist men). It is such that in Latin@ countries, trans women often face violent oppression (see the numerous refugees). That places like China have entirely forgotton or suppressed their long history of gender variance.
And all of this is the consequences of white patriarchy and its attendant binarism/gender roles. This is the result of the same system that white [r]dfems benefit from, perpetuate, and enforce (often in disgustingly violent ways).
It is neither accidental nor unintentional that the people suffering most from white [r]dfms are trans feminine people of colour. This is only to be expected from a white supremacist ideology.
4) conclusions and last thoughts
My hope with this post is simply to illuminate the larger historical context of colonialism under which [r]dfms operate. There are other ways, shocker, that you can understand their ideology as being inherently white supremacist.
But for me, it will always be the fact that their ideology of liberation is such that it would require the complete and utter genocide of all trans poc (as well as wholesale destruction of the cultures we belong to), really says it all. For the only way that women of colour anywhere could achieve white [r]dfm liberation would be to first, accept the white gender model and, the, to remove all Indigenous traces of their previous society.
tl;dr Any group that calls for the genocide or complete erasure of a group of poc is and always will be inherently white supremacist.