Unless you’ve been keeping up with international news, you may not have heard about Pussy Riot, the all-female Russian punk group who was recently sentenced to prison time for hooliganism stemming from an anti-government protest.

While the women sound decidedly badass and totally committed to their cause, their names are relatively unknown to most black women.

Writer dream hampton recently commented on Facebook that the “pussy riot girls >>> alla hip hop”, signaling they were harder and more politically aware than every hip hop artist out today, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a fan, or perhaps even a rapper, who knew who they were.

But should we?

While black women have had to struggle with both our female and black identities, often times having to choose which battle to fight at a time—sexism or racism—white women have be able to consistently fight against sexism without worrying about how race and while supremacy factors into the cause.

Over the past week I’ve seen a handful of black women on Facebook and Twitter mention Pussy Riot, but usually the comments were something along the lines of, “Good luck to them, but why should I care about a bunch of white women?”

This line of thinking is problematic on a few fronts. While white women enjoy a certain privilege based on their race, their struggles as women often times mirrors our own. And while we certainly aren’t suffering under an oppresive Russian regime that regularly jails dissenters, building a coalition of women here in the States is necessary if we are to push back against the sexism that still exists in our country and disproportionally affects women of color. Issues of health care, the pay gap, and this newly energized debate over abortion are just a few reasons to align ourselves as women—across racial and ethnic lines.

So while black women’s lives won’t be directly be affect by Pussy Riot and their anti-governmental cause, perhaps we can take a few cues from the trio on how to speak out and advocate for the issues that affect us most.

What do you think? Have you been keeping up with Pussy Riot’s cause? 

*Photos via The Darkroom

  • ChillyRoad

    @SMH

    You missed the point of my comment. While Margaret Sanger was the brainchild for Planned Parenthood the organisation has blossomed into an organisation that has helped many women- many of whom are poor and of colour. White feminists changed the game and these dismissive comments are out of line.

    “I’m fairly certain that society would have evolved to modern reproductive care without her help.”

    At whose instigation? Should Muslim women wait around for their societies evolve?

  • http://gravatar.com/marloweovershakespeare MarloweOverShakespeare

    No and no.

  • G.

    I agree with you. Russian are extremely racists. I also believe that we are misinformed about Pussy Riot. Those women have pushed the boundaries by having public sex orgies at the Moscow zoo in front of children. They also had sex with a frozen chicken at a supermarket in front small children. They also “hang” as their art work in public. They pushed the boundaries. I am not religious but I can recognize someone who will do anything for fame or money and they are one of them.

  • pinklotus

    Here we go again. This is typical feminist rhetoric. Once you get caught up in sexism the whole divide and conquer mentality sets in. Why not focus on our community as a whole. The overall well being of the Black family, man, woman and child. At the end of the day, we have our own battles to fight. Trust, most white women don’t give a damn about the state of Black women, why waste time supporting those who don’t even want anything to do with us. Get real. Start at home (literally) before wanting to join forces with outside forces. Wake up!

  • pinklotus

    No way! This is typical feminist rhetoric. The only thing this will do for Black women is reinforce the ‘independent woman’ and ‘divide and conquer’ state that we so desperatly need to get out of. Fighting against sexism only further separates the black woman from the black male. What happened to being focused on the overall well being of the Black family unit, man, woman and child. The truth of the matter is that most white women don’t care about the state of the Black woman and have no interest in trying to understand our issues. So why try joining hands with those who have absolutely no interest in uplifting you let alone want anything to do with you? Get real. Black women need to be more concerned about home first, literally.