Invisible Women of Color

27 Apr

by Yuting Huang, Elise Youn, Renee Hudson, and Mindy Chen
PhD Students and TAs
UCLA Academic Workers for a Democratic Union

We are women of color student workers who have fought to democratize our union with the AWDU slate, and we are pissed.

We are pissed because before the first day of the UAW election, during the fifth month of expending effort and labor to democratize our union, we, along with activists we work with, have been accused of being “white racists” by the opposing USEJ slate. In this accusation, USEJ ignores us, distorts us as active women of color in a movement for democracy, justice, and access. This is an outrageous and offensive fabrication.

If the USEJ truly are for diversity, why can they not acknowledge our labor and importance as women of color in this movement for democratization and access? They choose not to see the countless hours we put into creating a democratic union, to walking through buildings organizing bottom-up member involvement, to flyering, participating in teach-ins, organizing our departments, and to promoting social justice that requires a union that can fight for our communities – proactively and democratically. They choose to make invisible our labor, our effort, our passion, our battle.

Maybe for USEJ we are de facto “white” because we are just dumb women followers of white supremacists without knowing it. They insult our intelligence and autonomy when they choose not to respect our role in spearheading this movement, in championing a public education system for all, in fighting for our livelihoods and our futures. We did not expect USEJ to turn our daily struggle as women academic workers against us. We did not expect USEJ to look past the six women on our slate, three of us of minority ethnicity, as real activists in the movement. We did not expect to be rendered invisible and voiceless when we stand up for ourselves as women of color in a movement for democracy.

We are proud to be women, to be Latina, to be Asian, to be biracial in this movement for democracy in our union. We are proud to have a woman international student among us. And this is where we get our convictions that the union must be democratized, our voices must be heard from the campus level, and academic workers of all backgrounds must be allowed to participate in making decisions in the fight for public education in our own union and in the university.

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2 Responses to “Invisible Women of Color”

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  1. Women of color in AWDU respond to Admin Caucus/USEJ’s strategy of race-baiting | THOSE WHO USE IT - April 27, 2011

    […] 1. AWDU’s UCLA slate has more people of color than USEJ UCLA. Each person of color on the AWDU slate is a woman of color. One is an international student. I don’t think this is a numbers game and that people should choose who to vote for by these kinds of counts, but if we are going to count let’s at least make sure we can count to “three” accurately. If you really ask me, neither slate is as representative of the campus or broader LA community as they ought to be, but if one slate is holier than the other on this issue of how representative candidates really are, it is certainly not USEJ. From my knowledge both slates tried their best to recruit from dozens of graduate students with extremely diverse backgrounds, both slates have dozens of vocal supporters from every background, but only USEJ is making really problematic accusations about racism, and only AWDU is composed primarily of activists that have been sacrificing to stop the racist cuts to the UC for the last two years. You may ask at this point, how can they even make such a claim? The answer is that they can make it precisely because we are in the final hours of the election and as long as it gets them the votes now, it won’t matter how true it is. I don’t intend to speak for these women, their running for office speaks more loudly than any little note I could write on facebook, and they address the issue themselves here. […]

  2. Thursday is the last day to vote! « Academic Workers for a Democratic Union - April 27, 2011

    […] on our campus and in our community are the best answer we can give. Here’s an even better response from four women of color AWDU activists at […]

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