Exclusion and co-opting of Black culture at Women’s March

BRITTNEY WALKER | 1/26/2017, midnight
The Women’s March turned out to be a bigger international stance against inequality than expected. All over the world, some ...
Jasmine Frye (left) and Bri Curry (right) travelled from Virginia to join the Women's March. Amanda Jackson/CNN

Her friend, Stephane Cantave, 28, who was also in attendance, noticed the Black Civil Rights symbols and signs scattered among poster boards white people carried during the march.

“I think the organizers tried to make this as inclusive as possible, but there’s a problem with the intersectionality of white feminism that’s clearly present today, especially the co-opting of the Civil Rights movement here,” Cantave said. “I’ve heard Negro Spiritual songs sung by white people, the Black Power fist was co-opted, I saw Afro combs being used as markers for feminism by white women. There needs to be a level of respect for where you come from and what you can do to help without co-opting a culture.”

Prevalence of the country’s Islamophobia poisoned hopes of unifying the country and during Trump’s campaign made it even more dangerous for Muslims, especially women. Rashidah Shariff, 37, her 8-year-old daughter Anisah and her sister in the faith Nisaa Ali, 36, attended the women’s march together to walk in solidarity. They are Black Muslim women.

During the campaign, Ali felt she and her family were under attack.

“With this election, I felt like all of my identities were under assault. I am Black. I am Muslim and I am a woman. There’s no refuge. The sentiments that the election brought up in the people have been a call of action for me to be more visible. I’m not going to stand around while my rights are usurped by a bigoted administration,” Ali said.

Black women who did attend the march certainly made a statement that was different from the masses of white women attending. Various signs and the presence of Black women forced marchers and those watching to see race and deal with the disconnect within feminism and within the movement, which was apparent in the viral picture of Angela People’s at the march that read, “Don’t Forget: White Women Voted for Trump.”