Social media —especially Twitter— has become host to a veritable melting pot of ideas and arguments that serve every level of thinking. On any given day, users can enjoy exchanges from the alt-right to the far left. Entertaining as it may be, occasionally a genre emerges that begs the question: Why?
Among every social justice group, there can be found white kinship calling itself “allies.” While it’s important for any movement to be comprised of a diverse group of supporters, there’s an entire group of so-called white saviors injecting themselves into conversations to chastise people of color with opposing views. In other cases, they completely mute minority voices.
I first noticed this phenomenon of white saviors while observing dialogue among some of my Jewish friends of color and, once I began to look, I noticed they are everywhere. For example, Alyssa Milano. While she does great advocacy work for marginalized communities, she remains completely oblivious to the fact that Native American voices have pointed out her problematic actions such as selling clothing with the “Redskins” team logo. The mascot debate remains alive and well within Native American communities and although Milano claims to raise minority voices, she ignores the ones calling her out.
Bob Bland of Women’s March Inc. notoriety is another befitting example. The embattled leaders of Women’s March made a Facebook live appearance ahead of the scheduled annual march where Bland broke into tears over historical white oppression against black people in America while expressing guilt over her ancestors’ actions. Eye-rolls aside, she has also ignored the voices of Jewish people of color expressing pain over the Women’s March brand’s association with Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam—unless those voices are also on the Women’s March payroll.
Code Pink is an organization describing itself as “women for peace,” yet engages in questionable behavior while ignoring voices speaking directly to them. Comprised of mostly white women, Code Pink bills itself as anti-war yet has shown support for past dictatorial regimes such as Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. The organization also staunchly opposes Israel and has been linked to gatherings influencing intifada in addition to calling for the controversial BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement against Israel.
More recently, Code Pink has protested against sanctioning Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and attempted to organize a field trip to Iran to bolster peace and white-wash oppression against women. Code Pink national co-director Ariel Gold is known for arguing with Jewish people of color on Twitter who do not support the BDS movement while, conversely, she ignores Syrian and Venezuelan opposition voices. In fact, when citizens of these respective countries speak out, Code Pink doubles down on their retweets.
The business of activism is lucrative and competitive. While I won’t knock anyone’s grift, more people are beginning to recognize that the phenomenon of white saviors led by privileged, rich white women calling themselves feminists presents a clear and present annoyance to minorities who are beginning to feel policed and silenced by them.