The BookBrowse Review

Published September 16, 2020

ISSN: 1930-0018

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In This Edition of
The BookBrowse Review

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Book Jacket

White Tears/Brown Scars
How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color
by Ruby Hamad
6 Oct 2020
304 pages
Publisher: Catapult
ISBN-13: 9781948226745
Genre: History, Science & Current Affairs
Critics:
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Called "powerful and provocative" by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, author of the New York Times bestselling How to be an Antiracist, this explosive book of history and cultural criticism reveals how white feminism has been used as a weapon of white supremacy and patriarchy deployed against Black and Indigenous women, and women of color.

Taking us from the slave era, when white women fought in court to keep "ownership" of their slaves, through the centuries of colonialism, when they offered a soft face for brutal tactics, to the modern workplace, White Tears/Brown Scars tells a charged story of white women's active participation in campaigns of oppression. It offers a long overdue validation of the experiences of women of color.

Discussing subjects as varied as The Hunger Games, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the viral BBQ Becky video, and 19th century lynchings of Mexicans in the American Southwest, Ruby Hamad undertakes a new investigation of gender and race. She shows how the division between innocent white women and racialized, sexualized women of color was created, and why this division is crucial to confront.

Along the way, there are revelatory responses to questions like: Why are white men not troubled by sexual assault on women? (See Christine Blasey Ford.) With rigor and precision, Hamad builds a powerful argument about the legacy of white superiority that we are socialized within, a reality that we must apprehend in order to fight.

"For readers truly interested in dismantling White supremacy, this is a must-read. An extraordinary book for anyone who wishes to pay more than lip service to truly inclusive, intersectional feminism." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Skillfully blending autobiography, history, and cultural criticism, Hamad makes a devastating case against white women's complicity in systemic racism. This insistent and incisive call for change belongs in the contemporary feminist canon." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Despite covering a great deal of content, the message and intent behind the text remain clear. Readers engaged with issues of race and feminism in Western countries will find this a powerful read." - Library Journal

"White Tears/Brown Scars belongs in twenty-first-century feminist canon. It's grounded in deep historical context, yet thoroughly of the present. It makes bold intellectual arguments, but is extremely readable and grounded in human experience. If you are a white woman, it may make for uncomfortable reading: this book takes the most precise scalpel to the way that white women leverage race and gender of any book that I've read. If you are a woman of color, perhaps it will make you feel seen. If you are a man, read it for your own education! Hamad has written a truly exceptional, agenda-setting work." - Rachel Hills, author of The Sex Myth

"An essential guide for those who want to be truly intersectional in their feminism. Ruby Hamad skillfully distills history, academic research, and lived experiences of women of color to create an engaging inquiry into white supremacy and the role of white women within it." - Zeba Talkhani, author of My Past Is a Foreign Country

"A must-read for all white feminists. To develop the feminist coalitions that are so desperately needed in these times, we need frank conversations between feminists of colour and white feminists, in which white women take accountability instead of using tears to avoid it. Hamad's book is an essential resource to help us do this." - Alison Phipps, author of Me, Not You

Ruby Hamad is a journalist, author, and academic completing a Ph.D. in media studies at UNSW (Australia). Her Guardian article, "How White Women Use Strategic Tears to Silence Women of Color," became a global flashpoint for discussions of white feminism and racism and inspired her debut book, White Tears/Brown Scars, which has received critical acclaim in her home country of Australia. Her writing has also featured in Prospect Magazine, The New Arab, and more. She splits her time between Sydney and New York.

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