Shit Kesiena Boom Says (and Why It's Shit)
First, go read the article.
Wow. Wow, and no. That kind of hatefulness is something I want no part of. Guilting people and then shaming them on top of that is no way to achieve equality, and frankly it's a betrayal of humanism, feminism, and racial egalitarianism.
Kesiena Boom is an embarrassment to all three groups and people like her are exactly why I have so much trouble interfacing with the conceptual dynamics of privilege: They have weaponized the concept to the point where it's usually counterproductive to invoke.
There's also a perspective from history to be applied here: What she's doing is an example of guerrilla tactics, social change through rhetorical violence predicated upon the lie of the infallible victim. Boom possesses no more inherent wisdom than anybody else; her status as a persecuted minority (several times over, no less) does not actually entitle her to impose her views on anybody else, and her attempt to do exactly that through hateful, shaming language garners others the right to call her out for her bullshit. She is conflating--probably out of ignorance, or else maliciously on purpose--that which she calls "lived experience" with the far rarer merit of being objectively correct.
People like that have zero legitimacy to me.
So let's talk for just a second about her list of grievances, because some of these are valid and I don't want to let her discredit them by virtue of her being a proponent to them.
Grievance #1: White Feminists Accuse Black Feminists of Not Being Sweet and Kind Enough
There is no single way to go about the pursuit of equality that is correct to the exclusion of all other ways. In fact Boom has a good point in that kindness and politeness alone are rarely enough to disestablish institutional bigotry; all social justice movements past and present have had radical wings and have needed radicalism to advance themselves. Radicalism is inherently uncomfortable to deal with.
That's why I'm usually content to ignore people like Boom; I usually just write them off as a different and necessary role in the same movement that I serve.
But the truth is that one can take a finer comb to it as well, and observe that not all radicalism is equal. What Boom is doing is so incendiary that I don't think it actually serves the causes she claims to serve. To me it seems more like personal catharsis for her, with an added element of tribalistic exclusion, at the expense of social justice for the people she champions.
It further needs to be said that kindness and politeness are also necessary in the campaign for sexual equality. Boom's crude dismissal of that entire branch of the movement reveals her ignorance.
Grievance #2: White Feminists Deny Their Own White Privilege
This is what I'm talking about when I say that the language of privilege is often counterproductive because so many people use it as a weapon rather than as the tool of understanding that it is supposed to be. Boom is clearly interested in only one thing here: guilting and shaming white feminists. Indeed her malice is so strong that I don't even feel personally targeted by it, despite being a white feminist myself, because, for one thing, she clearly implies that she is talking only to female white feminists, and for another the straw (wo)man she has created is so clearly a fallacy that it doesn't actually resonate. There is nothing there to resonate! Real "white feminists" have little in common with her caricature of them.
This isn't to say that Boom isn't addressing an important topic. She is. Despite the perversion of the concept, privilege really is a problem. That's why I can never dismiss the conversation of privilege entirely, even though there are days when I just want to throw it out the friggin' window.
There are plenty of white feminists who do let their white privilege interfere with the work of their non-white counterparts. Usually this is indicative of underlying bigotries; being a feminist does not magically immunize one from being a bigot. Sometimes it is indicative of simple, non-malicious ignorance, and can be easily remedied with respectful engagement, as opposed to Boon's own brand of flaming bullshit, which is only going to change people's minds every once in a blue moon because there are comparatively few humans who are willing to learn at the knee of someone who insults and slanders and hates them.
Lastly, it needs to be said that there are a lot of white feminists who don't let their white privilege hinder the work of their nonwhite counterparts. Indeed, white feminists are the largest employer of weaponized privilege language, and there are also a great many white feminists who don't weaponize the concept but are nevertheless sensitive to it. The concept of privilege as the educational tool that it is supposed to be has made huge inroads into the social awareness over the past decade. By this point, most activists are aware of it. That doesn't mean they apply it as well as they should, but it is enough to discredit Boon's caricature.
Grievance #3: White Feminists Make False Equivalencies Between Racism and Other Oppression Modes
No, this grievance is invalid. Analogic is one of the only ways for people to relate to one another. Social persecution itself is very similar in every mode, even though the surface textures are quite different, just as the human body and mind themselves are similar even though we all look different on the outside.
It is true--and it is also a profound realization to make in the course of one's life--that we're never going to truly, completely, fully understand one another. In that respect, yes, equating sexism to racism is faulty. Equating any two non-identical things is faulty. Equating a love of cherry ice cream to a love of cookies is faulty. But surely you can see how absurd it is to take that and transform it into the claim that relating one's own oppression to that of other people is faulty.
In Boon's own words, "Systemic incarceration, enslavement, endemic police brutality, lower life expectancies etc. vs being teased on the playground does not an analogous situation make." That's ridiculous and offensive. In that quote she's talking about people being teased for having red hair, and not the oppression that white females face for being female per se, but the latter is implied through her choice of analogies. She believes that white feminists do not (and cannot) understand racism, and that their attempt to use the common ground of sexism to relate to the racism experienced by black feminists is somehow a racist attack.
No. That's bullshit. And it's offensive to the white females who have suffered sexism (as well as to red-haired people who have suffered discrimination, and all the other groups that she singles out as examples), because what Boon is doing is marginalizing those people's suffering in order to inflate her own importance and thus the prominence of her position.
Boon's own words are the most damning of all. She says that when white feminists attempt to relate to racism, what they actually mean is "I am not truly listening to your lived experiences and am trying to level the playing field between us so that I do not have to confront my whiteness." This is another instance where Boon's primary goal is revealed for what it truly is: guilting and shaming people through the used of weaponized privilege language. No one is born guilty. Conceptualizing white people in the way that Boon does is every bit as racist and as malicious as the racism she supposedly stands against. She is, therefore, an example of someone who has become the thing she hates.
Grievance #4: White Feminists Expect Black Feminists to Educate Them
This grievance is a real piece of work. You're either an activist or you're not, and one of the many responsibilities of being a just activist is teaching those who don't know better.
All in one fell swoop, Boon is expressing incredible laziness, a denial of reality, and contempt for the process of social justice itself!
I would not have anything to do with somebody like her. What an awful, awful person.