Some problems we share as women, some we do not. You [white women] fear your children will grow up to join the patriarchy and testify against you; we fear our children will be dragged from a car and shot down in the street, and you will turn your backs on the reasons they are dying.
For many poor women and women of color, sexual, emotional, and physical abuse early in life can lie at the root of an addiction that leads to a drug-related charge. In addition, male violence and coercion is often implicated in the lives of women incarcerated for a range of criminalized acts, from drug importation to prostitution. If feminist activists do not embrace a politics of prison abolitionism, their demands for exceptional treatment for a handful of cases do not speak to the majority of women prisoners who are the survivors of violence. In many cases, resources that are racialized or class-based determine whether a woman will deal with violence in “law-abiding” ways (for example, get a prescription for anti-depressants or other legal pharmaceuticals, call the police, take out a restraining order, find a new home) or ways which come into conflict with the criminal justice system (for example, use illegal substances, be coerced into prostitution or drug dealing, use physical violence). Without a general campaign to release all women prisoners, speaking for this “innocent” minority limits the politics of antiviolence, cutting it off from its revolutionary potential.
Julia Sudbury, Rethinking Antiviolence Strategies: Lessons from the Black Women’s Movement in Britian, in Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology
In those days white women who were unwilling to face the reality of racism and racial differences accused us of being traitors by introducing race. Wrongly they saw us as deflecting focus away from gender. In reality, we were demanding that we look at the status of females realistically, and that realistic understanding serve as the foundation for a real feminist politic. Our intent was not to diminish the vision of sisterhood. We sought to put in place a concrete politic of solidarity that would make genuine sisterhood possible. We knew that there could be no real sisterhood between white women and women of color if white women were not able to divest of white supremacy, if feminist movement was not fundamentally anti-racist.