Fear of a Vagina of Color
Over the past couple of weeks, the announcement of an all women of color casting call for the Vagina Monologues production this year on campus has raised quite a controversy. This year’s director Lauren Whitehead issued a call via email that has gotten several people’s underwear in a knot. *I can’t find the original email right now, but when I do, I’ll post it.*
Yesterday, Emily Squires, former Vagina Monologues director, weighed in with a nice viewpoint on the issue.
Today, the Daily published a viewpoint by 6 men entitled: In Dissent: V is for Racism.
While I applaud these guys for doing a little bit of research, they should really read more carefully. If you go page 23 of the Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence,and Consequences of Violence Against Women report, you find this note of caution when comparing simply Whites and women of color in general.
These findings underscore the need for specificity
when comparing victimization rates among
women and men of different racial backgrounds.
As results from the survey show, combining data
on all types of minorities may diminish differences
that exist between whites and nonwhites
and at the same time obscure very large differences
in prevalence rates among women and
men of specific racial backgrounds.
If you read the reports’ full findings, you did find differences in rates of domestic violence, particularly rape, depedent upon the comparision group. I understand that they are attempting to respond directly to Whitehead’s assertion, but in their response, they should tell the whole story. Not to mention, there is the strong possibility that there are differences in rates of reporting that underestimate the rates of DV in communities of color.
I am in full support of a woman of color cast for the Vagina Monologues. While I’m not sure you’re suprised, this is likely different than the position a number of my Black male collegues will likely take, but then again, that is why we need a production like this. I do think that domestic violence is a serious concern among all communities and particularly communities of color. While some may feel excluded by this production, the potential it has to draw in new communities of folks to become concerned with violence against women is even greater in my opinion. If nothing else, seeing your sister, mother, girlfriend, wife, or friend reflected in these women of color could have a profound impact on the future of DV in communities of color. While there are many complex issues in DV and resolving it, I do believe this production does open a “can of worms” that needs to be addressed. One Tamara Williams is enough.
Filed under: General