The Next Step

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

Kaitlyn Greenidge

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.

 

 

Truth Bomb

I have a questionable habit of sharing politically incendiary articles on Facebook. Usually no one reads them, but recently passions are high, with babies in concentration camps and ICE ransacking communities, etc. I shared the following list of steps to genocide. The list makes sense to me; has the ring of truth.

genocide

Then a Facebook stranger dropped some other heavy truth on me.

She commented:

Meh. The government is already on stages 8, 9 and 10 with Black people. The government has been on a continuous stage 8,9, and 10 with Black people. We’re not seeing how everyone else thinks this is something new that you guys are doing.

And I thought holy shit, she’s right. Despite reading and researching and listening and trying to understand the ways in which I benefit from white supremacy (ALL THE WAYS), my privilege is so deeply tentacled into the very fabric of life as a white person that it’s like trying to see through my skin. The United States was literally founded on white supremacy. Native Americans were of Satan, killed, enslaved, disregarded. Black people were the same.

White women aligned ourselves with all-powerful white men, ensuring our second in line to the top of the heap spot, where we remain. Money, power, security. We are safe and protected as long as we know our place. (see Christine Blasey Ford as explained by Brittney Cooper) White women learned about female political power from the Iroquois women, who held equal political power with men of their clan.* We fought for that power for ourselves, but left women of color behind. Because it was too hard to include them or because we just did not care? Now we vote for misogynistic and oppressive policies and people, the results of our votes (ok not mine, but 53% of us) negatively effect women of color more than anyone else.

This post has meandered. I know. I currently have no conclusions.

Song of the Day: Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday

Me and White Supremacy Challenge

*source-Washington Post article on suffrage movement

 The Uncomfortable Confessions Of a Preacher’s Kid

Fat White Royal Wally

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t sleep much last night.  More dead black men killed by police officers.  Children traumatized for life.   Five dead police officers.  Our beloved America feels like a dark, somber, hopeless place.  Now that these killings are on social media, no one can deny the problem.  Systemic racism is not new.  Overuse of deadly force against black men is not new.  The killing of police officers is not new, either.  Now we watch it happen.

While I do not begrudge anyone their personal faith, believe it or not, praying for peace is not enough.  Thoughts and prayers are not enough; not while people bleed to death on sidewalks.  Praying for peace serves one purpose:  to make yourself feel better and there is nothing wrong with that.  We would probably all like to feel better right now.  Send thoughts and prayers; by all means, do that.  And then get off your fat, white, royal wally and do something about it, because we have no right to relax.  I am speaking to myself here as much as anyone.  I have not lifted a finger to involve myself in this struggle beyond sharing stuff I didn’t write on Facebook, aka lip service.  I mean, I hardly ever even see black people in my white corner of town.  I see cops; they park outside the coffee shop in the park where I run and I feel safe and protected in case a seagull tries to snatch my hat.  Let’s be clear:  racism is a WHITE problem and will not change until white people like myself give enough of a crap to put down our phones and get to work in our communities.  It means getting uncomfortable.  It means getting political.  It means doing something.

As Trevor Noah so succinctly put it, we can, indeed we MUST, be both pro-law enforcement AND pro-black people.    It is not the job of black people to stop racism.  It is the job of white people.  In the same way that rape culture will never disappear without the direct involvement of men, racism will never be squelched without the direct involvement of white people.  It is not the job of the black community to tell us how, either, yet someone has graciously done so.   So what’s a sheltered fat-assed white woman to do?

What You Can Do Right Now About Police Brutality

15 Things Your City Can Do Right Now to End Police Brutality

I am still working my way through these.  Let’s get to work because I read somewhere that faith without works is dead.

Bob has no food.

Marriage Equality

While most folks are breathing a sigh of relief at the better-late-than-never decision of SCOTUS regarding marriage equality, the reaction of some reminds me like a punch in the gut of what it really means to be fundamentalist christian. I am reminded why I fled so many years ago, to escape the suffocating judgement and infuriating self-righteousness.

It is impossible for me to comprehend the mental gymnastics required to put oneself in a positon of authority over other humans simply because one has swallowed a “belief” about who they are. There is a lot of talk about god’s wrath and judgement day, akin to a mother telling a misbehaving child “just wait until your father gets home.” Covert fundamentalists aren’t much better, with their judgement–lite attitude of love the sinner, hate the sin. It is still a position of false superiority; willful ignorance of what it means to be gay. If you are not gay, you do not understand and have no right to impose your conjured criteria on anyone. When belief and dogma come before the rights and well-being of actual people, there is no love involved. Judgement and love, like oil and water, cannot exist in the same space. Remember the story of Ruby Bridges, the little girl that federal marshals escorted into her newly integrated elementary school in New Orleans? The furious, slathering white horde screamed at her as she walked their gauntlet. Fundamentalists are the new face of that hateful crowd. They are threatened and angry and they have lost this fight just like the racists lost that one. There is no judgement day coming for gay people. It already came and they are free.