“Because it’s 2015”: A White Man’s Tale
“Because it’s 2015” is not an applause worthy statement, unless you’re a White person. (Especially a White man.) This is White feminist rhetoric.
Since 2012 discussions on race, gender, sexuality, and more have flourished across the world. Using social media as a tool, these once rarely discussed topics (in the public eye) are now vital to everyday media outlets.
With the amount of discussions rising and broadening on how our most oppressed beings in society should be treated by their state and by each other, the increase of White people’s voices on people of colour issues have been found at the forefront of many of these movements, without our consent.
As minorities continue to be talked over, erased, assimilated, harassed, and humiliated by their systematically superior members of society, we can’t forget the tole White feminists have placed on people of colour. A tole that POC are still experiencing today.
Justin Trudeau, Canada’s newly elected Prime Minister under the Liberal Party of Canada has been continuous in his support of gender equality throughout Canada, especially within Canadian politics. Though, this support is limited by many means.
And you may ask yourself how someone supporting such rights can be limited, and I will remind you of ~intersectionality~.
The word intersectionality in terms of feminist theory is commonly understood under the umbrella term “Intersectional Feminism”.
Geek Feminist Wiki describes “intersectionality” as “a concept often used in critical theories to describe the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another.”
So, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, when you back your cabinet with gender parody of 15 women and 15 men with “Because it’s 2015”, you lack all the intersections along the way.
Since 2012, I’ve only ever heard the phrase “Because it’s (Insert year here)” from White folks. White folks who don’t actually know what intersectional feminism looks like.
Many intersectional feminists would tell you that to claim that gender equality has more of a place in the year 2015, than 1915 is a gross display of patriarchy at its finest. Many intersectional feminists would remind you that the fight for POC in politics within Canada, is also a gendered one. Many intersectional feminist would tell you that gender equality is equal representation of not only the two most common genders, but of all genders and of all people who do not place on the gender spectrums we have.
So, here we are in 2015 with a cabinet with gender parody, because it’s 2015?
And when we say gender equal, we must acknowledge that only two genders are being represented on the cabinet. And when we say gender equality, we must acknowledge that three quarters of these women are White.
Justin Trudeau’s cabinet is designed to represent the regional and cultural diversity of Canada, something that Canada has not seen before within a cabinet. (PS: The cabinet is a body of usually composed of MP’s and/or Senators each in charge of managing federal portfolios. Such as: Finance, National Defence, Industry, Indigenous Affairs, etc.)
Having three quarters of your women ministers being White, and your overall cabinet being the same, does not represent the regional and cultural diversity that Canada maintains. And to deny this is to deny the fact that North America was built by POC, against POC. And to deny these facts is to deny that North America is still maintained by POC, under systems placed against POC.
As feminism has progressed in Canada, it has been mainstream feminism. And as mainstream feminist has progressed, it has been solely White feminism. To sit here and be surrounded by White feminist rhetoric, is mostly a nuisance for myself. But I cannot imagine what White feminist rhetoric does to someone who doesn’t mostly identify as male, especially when it is used in their own country’s government. I cannot imagine what White feminist rhetoric does to the indigenous lives of Canada. And as much as I can be aware of the effects White feminism does to these lives, I will never be able to experience or relate to a good portion of this pain and discussion.
The Liberal party has more plans to expand upon “equality” within Canada, and this is a step forward for Canadian Government as a whole. (And if you want to learn more about this, you can find this platform on every White Liberal’s Facebook page two weeks past.) But much will be lost if the people oppressed most under the past systems governments have withheld and displayed in Canada are not brought into light and changed with the voices of these people at the forefront.
A reminder that liberation for all is liberation of our Black sisters and non-gender conforming siblings first and foremost.
Step 1, JT: Remember Black folks exist.
Update: iPOLITICS released late Thursday night that one third of the women within Justin Trudeau’s cabinet are not full ministers, but actually ministers of state.
Though, iPOLITICS states: “Liberal Party officials say they don’t consider there is any difference between those who have been legally designated as ministers of state and their colleagues.”, it should be noted the salary is over doubled as a minister, although the IOC declared for them to be called ministers.