Dear Fellow White Women,
We are a problem.
Since the beginning of our country we've benefited, profited, and perpetuated this racist and sexist society. In our self-righteous Puritanism, we succumbed to the patriarchy that told us to stay home and make babies because that’s what we were expected to do. We still maintained our status as better than Natives Americans so we weren't bothered too much. We still had special status.
We enjoyed our role as Mistress of the house, surveyor of all things domestic on the plantation. We knew that--despite the corsets-- power and privilege were ours to wield.
We stood tall and confident on the firm ground of racism, declaring that we deserved the right to vote because we were better than black men! We knew that we'd never win if we included Black and Brown women in the fight even though there was a twinge of guilt because we started to realize that they too were second class citizens. A few of us saw some promise in joining sides but white supremacy and self-preservation won out.
Even when we had the opportunity to come alongside one another to fight for equal pay, we forgot about our Black and Brown sisters. I suppose it's not that surprising considering since the beginning we clearly struggled to see these sisters as part of the family.
Some might think that this pattern disappeared in the more recent past. But a quick look at who counts when they go missing, or whose pay is closest to white men, it's obvious white women are still valued above other women.
White women, our betrayal of our sisters is even more painful because we should know better (Robin DiAngelo lays this out in her book White Fragility but also this interview).
We are a HUGE problem.
It was a white woman who falsely accused a little Black Boy of looking at her wrong, resulting in his brutal murder. It was a white woman who declared herself the “first plus size woman” in a movie, erasing the Black women who paved the way. It was a white woman who called police on Black men in Starbucks...and at Menchies.
It was white women who elected Trump to office. It was white women who have excused Kavanaugh's behavior.
It is white women who continue to use their race, class and privilege to serve only themselves.
My fellow white women, y'all we've got to get it together. We need to recognize that time and time again, we are the rebar reinforcing systemic racism.
We certainly aren't the saviors of anything but can we resolve to be disruptors rather than ambassadors of racism??