Yes. That title was click bait. But it’s true.
I’ve had nothing to say this past week. There’s nothing a privileged white person can say right now. It hasn’t been my time to speak.
I’ve been listening, learning, copying down messages that make me uncomfortable in my seat of power and if you are curious, I’m pasting them below. I’m also open to criticism and more information from anyone who is not a white person.
“I’m sick of de-radicalizing, I’m sick of keeping my mouth shut way too often out of fear that I will offend or alienate some person in this community who BY THE WAY, may voted to TAKE AWAY MY CIVIL RIGHTS and disenfranchise minorities, women, Muslims… I have no more silence for you. You have to stand by the consequences of YOUR actions, which means you hurt people. You. hurt. people. With your vote, or with your silence, or with your endless yoga rhetoric about peace and hugs. If you are offended by this, that’s ok. I won’t have enough time to ease your feelings and still participate in service, action, and revolution. I do not have enough fucks to give”– Bec Gathmann-Landini (queer activist / yoga teacher)
1. Discomfort (white person discomfort) is the first step. We need to feel supremely uncomfortable in what our ancestors have done and what we are still doing and how blasé we are about it. It’s time to let the discomfort of trying to maintain our own comfort in.
2. Patriarchy and white privilege helped me for many years; get me jobs, make friends and take risks. This was a surprise for me to learn. With a low income, single mom childhood and being sexualized my entire life I don’t relate feeling “privilege.” But as a friend pointed out…
“If you (a poor white woman) were walking down the street and Obama (a rich black man, but unrecognized) was walking down the street, you’d still have more power than him because it’s not about class, it’s about people’s fear of the color of his skin. – Omari Newton
My feminist impulse is to argue. My privilege is annoyed by his challenge and again, here’s another opportunity to get uncomfortable. To bow my head and take the burden that is mine to carry; shame, guilt, fear, and just not having a fucking clue about what it means to not be white.
So here’s another quote I’ve pulled that will bring out some white person discomfort.
“Keep your calls for unity, white people. Save your breath if you’re coming at me talking about being kind and compassionate to those who voted differently. I’m a queer Black woman who is the daughter of immigrants. The nation just elected a demagogue who literally hates everything about me. It’s not on me to have to prove my gentleness and my worth.
White people—so-called liberal, progressive, radical, dare I say “woke” white people—it’s time for you to do your motherfucking work. Get your shit together.” -excerpt from crunkfeministcollective.com
And again, I’m not interested in arguing with white people about reverse racism or the power of hope. I am totally open to hearing any criticism or thoughts from immigrants, trans, queer, people of color who’s lives and human rights are at stake.
3. White friends, it’s time to eat some shit.
-Can you imagine stepping back?
-When offered a gig, asking your employer if they’ve considered diversity in their programming?
-When walking down the street and seeing a woman with a hijab or full niqab on, looking her in her eyes and smiling at her?
-Putting yourself in danger when you see someone in danger?
-Calling out every single piece of racist, homophobic bullshit you see on facebook, even if your dear sister wrote it?
-Donating 10% of all your income to Planned Parenthood or the Water Protectors at the Dakota Pipeline Protests. even if you feel crazy broke?
-And notice that when you feel uncomfortable or angry or misunderstood or blamed- that’s a bell to remind you- you are feeling the harsh pain of change and that is radical and awesome.
-And hardest of all, say the wrong thing, be embarrassed, get schooled publically and get back to it (my writing this is the perfect example).
I’ll be learning to eat the shit I shat out in the first place. And when I’m called on by the leaders of marginalized people to take action against my own ignorance; in my profound discomfort, I will follow your battle cry.
I will stand behind you, in solidarity.
And truthfully, my righteousness is just as much for me as it is for you. I want my children to be free from the shackles of entitlement, the exhaustion of trying to maintain power and our cultural emptiness.
Easier said than done, I know, because I’m fighting against myself.
But I’ll do my best. It’s time.