Does the sexual assault movement suffer from white privilege?
On December 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

Do progressives only get mad when sexual assault victims are white?  

I actually wrote this blog entry in early November, but I questioned whether I should publish it. I don’t want to be the “angry black woman”. Harping on the issues all the time. But when TIME Person of the Year left off Tarana Burke, the #MeToo founder… it underscores my point.

sexual assault

Where is Tarana Burke – the founder of #MeToo?

Some of you know I work as a lawyer representing indigent parents. The poor, drug addicts, mentally unstable, victims of domestic violence…

They’re the people who are “not our problem.” You won’t see tired, broke, black and Latina moms posing on the cover of Vogue or Vanity Fair. I know this isn’t a sexy subject. However, this is a necessary conversation, because sexual and violent assault don’t just happen to beautiful white women. TIME’s cover is a great first step, but the media coverage and progressive outrage lacks balance.

sexual harassment

#MeToo Founder Tarana Burke Photo: CNN

Does the Sexual Assault Movement Suffer from White Privilege?

I’m sure you’ve figured out where I’m going with this.

How does America achieve true equality when we only care about white victims? Since NYTimes broke the Harvey Weinstein story a couple months ago, there’s been a huge wave of job resignations and apologies from men. It’s come with loads of progressive tearjerking and “why didn’t we say something”?

But I have a question for all progressives. Why don’t progressives cry for the poor minority women who endure sexual and physical violence everyday? Don’t their stories thirst for progress?

“For too long… the women’s rights movement focused on issues that were important to well-off white women, such as the ability to work outside the home and attain the same high-powered positions that men do. But minority women, they said, have had different priorities. Black women who have worked their whole lives as maids might care more about the minimum wage or police brutality than about seeing a woman in the White House. Undocumented immigrant women might care about abortion rights, they said, but not nearly as much as they worry about being deported.”

The New York Times

Are so-called progressives truly ready to move their concerns beyond white skin? To the grittier toil of injustice and disparity?

Where are the cover stories about girls of color sexually molested in foster care? Women assaulted in jail and prison? Are their stories less important than Gwyneth Paltrow’s?

Sexual assault doesn’t stop in Hollywood. Don’t get me started on law enforcement sexually molesting female arrestees…




Huge thanks to the Los Angeles Times for keeping law enforcement honest.

Where’s the progressive anger? The constant stream of tweets? The generous magazine spreads? Or is it progressives don’t get that mad when the victims are society’s most vulnerable? Translation: poor, or person of color, or both.

I get it. Not as newsworthy. Or not valuable enough to some of you.

Progressive In Name Only?

Is Harvey Weinstein disgusting only because he’s loaded with money? What about police officers with low-level power, and unchecked access to women in cities across America? They don’t get the “predator” label? They’re free to fly under the radar since their names aren’t in Hollywood lights? Why?




Where’s the massive public outcry for underprivileged women?

Just think of the vast accountability happening in Hollywood and Congress now. What if we held that same conversation in administrative offices and conduct review boards that oversee police and government?

What if we could watch heads roll with accountability everywhere? Not just in the high profile, predominantly white offices.

If America is experiencing a true progressive awakening, shouldn’t we feel appall for every type of victim?

If it’s time to shine a light on predators, don’t cherry-pick. Scrutinize all predators. In every sector. Regardless of fame, fortune, or the amount of romanticism we put into their status (police officer, doctor, law firm partner, etc.). Leave no stone unturned. That’s how we get to true social justice and equality. Newspapers, celebrities and social media influencers, invest yourselves in justice at every level. Not just the famous and white level.

Poor women of color may not have Angelina Jolie’s bank account and flawless white skin. But if that’s necessary for progressives to care, then we’re not really progressing, are we?

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