In Bad Romance: Feminism and women of colour make an unhappy pair, Sana Saeed writes:
“Women of colour” beautifully illustrates the exact problem I discovered with feminism, as a woman who did not fit the mainstream criteria for being just a Woman. As a “woman of colour,” I am not just a Woman. I am a woman with a little something extra; there is a difference struck between women like me and white women. There is no Woman. There are no Women. There are two groups: women and “women of colour.” This tidily, and unfortunately, translates into the “us” and “them” categorization.
Because this distinction is made and has been proudly appropriated by “women of colour” without much criticism, this presumption that the white woman’s identity is a sort of “foundational” identity for all women is prevalent within feminism.
According to Loretta Ross, however, the term “women of color” was coined in 1977 among some black and other “minority” women in Washington, DC as “a solidarity definition, a commitment to work in collaboration with other oppressed women of color who have been ‘minoritized’.” Ross says, “Unfortunately, so many times, people of color hear the term ‘people of color’ from other white people that [PoCs} think white people created it instead of understanding that we self-named ourselves.”
However, regardless of its history, Sana makes a salient point: the term “woman of colour” suggests “a woman with a little something extra”, which implies that whiteness is the default.