White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color

Ruby Hamad (Author)


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.

"A stunning and thorough look at White womanhood that should be required reading for anyone who claims to be an intersectional feminist. Hamad's controlled urgency makes the book an illuminating and poignant read. Hamad is a purveyor of such bold thinking, the only question is, are we ready to listen?" --Rosa Boshier, The Washington Post

Product Details

$16.95  $15.59
Publish Date
October 06, 2020
5.8 X 8.4 X 1.4 inches | 0.75 pounds

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About the Author

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.


Praise for White Tears/Brown Scars

"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

"White Tears/Brown Scars is 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

Praise for the Australian edition of White Tears/Brown Scars

"A powerful testament, an act of witnessing, a work of depth and scholarship." --Rashida Murphy, ArtsHub

"Ruby Hamad blows open inconvenient truths about entitlement and victimhood in this powerful book." --Marie Claire Australia

"Hamad deconstructs the colonial narrative of 'white is right'. She challenges society to face the discrimination it has normalised, and to commit to a future where white women let go of their privilege and stand with women of colour." --The Saturday Paper

"Ruby Hamad should be applauded for writing this well researched and informative book . . . Hamad has not so much thrown a grenade into the arena, rather she has exposed an unexploded bomb set in the core foundations of western-settler societies." --Independent Australia

"[A] blistering take on feminism and race . . . Ruby Hamad takes readers on an eye-opening historical journey through the oppression and marginalisation of colonised and enslaved women . . . It's a book I couldn't recommend more highly." --Jo Case, InDaily

"An informative and compelling read. Ruby Hamad's work is absolutely essential reading for today - as it helps bring to the fore what was once only suspected." --Indian Link

"[An] often confronting and always challenging book . . . White Tears/Brown Scars is provocative and intelligent . . . Hamad has written a persuasive book which deserves to be read and thought about carefully." --Queensland Reviewers Collective

"Hamad is a writer of formidable talent and perceptiveness. White Tears/Brown Scars is one of the most important books of 2019, and I believe a copy should live on every single bookshelf in Australia." --Kill Your Darlings

"I loved Hamad's book for its unapologetic rigour and sharp threading of racial history . . . a powerful assessment of the institutional and cultural structures that have shaped the way we operate both as a society and individually." --Jessie Tu, Woman's Agenda

"Hamad makes academic theory and concepts accessible to a wider readership without watering down their complexity . . . [and] has provided us with a historical account of and terminology for calling out Strategic White Womanhood." --Hellai Gul, Feminist Writers Festival blog

"Hamad writes with a vigour and insight that is energising . . . at once academic and accessible, highly readable . . . White Tears/Brown Scars packs a powerful punch . . . a challenging, important read that will benefit all readers, regardless of gender or race." --Zoya Patel, The Canberra Times

"Hamad's work is meticulously researched, comprehensively catalogued and makes for a compelling critique of the ways in which the woman of colour is pilloried and crucified at the altar of white fragility . . . If a politics of solidarity is to have any meaning in a world torn apart by old wounds, let's join hands and celebrate Hamad's White Tears/Brown Scars." -- Dr Mridula Nath Chakraborty, The Sydney Morning Herald