Liberal white women, with our pink pussy hats and iPhones, want to do the right thing so badly. We want equality, a government that doesn’t cage immigrants. Healthcare. An end to rape culture and poverty. Etc. We usually get what we want, let’s be honest, but now we watch in horror as racism and bigotry we thought vanquished emerges from the shadows. It’s like Voldemort is back.
Speaking for myself, I am only just beginning to comprehend how I have benefited from white supremacy. The words choke me; shock me with their truth. I live in a system designed by white men for their benefit and white women, as their sidekicks, have sidled up to their desire, complicit participants of patriarchy. We have enjoyed protection, money, power, and a perception of safety within their system. Our compliance does not protect us from their rage and misogyny, however, we have accepted that, perhaps even getting off a little bit on the attention. Until now. But even as we creep ever closer to the halls of autonomy reserved only for them, sneaking in through the windows and side doors, we have left women of color behind. There is no sisterhood, only allegiance to race.
Finally, liberal white women leaders with voices loud and clear are helping us understand the betrayal and racism built in to our societal position. Glennon Doyle, Dr. Brené Brown, and Elizabeth Gilbert. To name a few.
As Glennon Doyle explained, “We have struggles and problems despite being white but not BECAUSE we are white.”
I am starting to get it.
Now I have a call to action. Strong leaders who have the ear of white liberal women: please continue speaking AND direct your audiences to the women of color who are the educators, the women with lived experience who speak to us with eloquent rage.
Dr. Brittney Cooper
Layla F. Saad
Tori Williams Douglass
To name a few.
As Kaitlyn Greenidge says, “Until you recognize the harm white women can cause to Black people, even while being the subject of misogyny by white men, you aren’t equipped to do the work of liberation. You’re merely advocating for this same system, with you at the top.”
As Dr. Brown says, “Our comfort is not on the table.” And “Yes, we are going to have our asses handed to us.”
Please bring these speakers, scholars, writers, educators to the forefront of this conversation where they belong. You have our attention, please turn it to them, if you have not already done so. (Disregard this message if you have already responded.) Because the next step, after understanding the depth of our privilege, is to be able to articulate the damage we do to those who don’t know and don’t care.
Equality means for all us.
We cannot slay the patriarchy without opening minds. We cannot open minds if we are clumsy with the conversations. If we are scared of being “not nice.” Of rocking the boat and disrupting Thanksgiving dinner.
It’s time, its way past time, to get uncomfortable.
The clock is ticking. Our democracy is rapidly slipping away. The lives of women of color depend on our willingness and ability to do this work.
Cooper’s perfect response to that horrible CNN interview.