If your activism is out of touch with the poor and people of color, then it is neither radical nor revolutionary. Many of us want to be excited every time we hear unwavering critiques of President Donald Trump, but there are standards we must uphold when engaging in political activism.
The term “white feminism” has become widely known in social media to describe exclusionary feminism. The term does not apply to feminists whose skin color is white, but to those whose focus is primarily on helping the wealthy elite.
Actress Meryl Streep recently gave a memorable speech during the Golden Globes that stands as a nearly perfect example of white activism. In her most notable problematic remark, Streep stated she and her fellow artists in the room belong to the “most vilified segments in American society right now.”
“Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners,” she said. “And if we kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”
To call the Hollywood elite “the most vilified segments in American society” is a little much, if not completely asinine. Yes, Hollywood is made up of immigrants from numerous countries, however, most of these immigrants are ridiculously wealthy and lead extremely comfortable lives that will go largely unaffected under Trump’s regime.
What about the poor, Meryl? What about people of color who don’t get million-dollar movie deals but are rather handed jail sentences for petty crimes by a racist judicial system?
Streep also attacked Trump for mocking a disabled journalist during the presidential primaries. However, she did so in an extremely ableist way by painting the reporter as someone who—because of his disability—lacked the capacity to fight back.
Similarly, but perhaps on a more grandiose level of repulsive behavior, are people praising former Mexican President Vicente Fox for his tweets to Trump stating Mexico will not be paying for any border wall.
As president, Fox came into office with a massive popular mandate but quickly betrayed the country by following the same corrupt ways of most of his predecessors. He now supports President Enrique Peña Nieto who has unthinkable amounts of blood on his hands and is leading an extremely murderous government.
In fact, Fox’s terrible treatment of Mexico and his disregard for the poor is the reason I, a Mexican immigrant, am here today. While I’m glad to be here, it is incredibly disheartening to see people I consider smart individuals praising the man culpable for so much destruction in my home country.
Any praise for Fox’s comments on Trump shows that the lives of people of color outside of the United States are worthless to many self-proclaimed liberals as long as they can make snarky jabs at Republicans.
It is wonderful to see people coming together against a man who has expressed so much hate, but we have to remember we cannot just throw underprivileged people under the bus and focus solely on the issues of wealthy white America.
We are not just fighting against Trump, we are fighting for something. We are fighting for a more just and inclusionary society that does not celebrate the elite but the people who are forced to struggle for better lives.
– May Olvera is a journalism junior