Sisterhood for some, but not for me
This weekend’s Women’s March was a highly anticipated action for many women.
To be perfectly candid, I was not numbered among them. It’s been my experience that when I’ve worked with white feminists, only my attendance was required. They’ve been wholly uninterested in my life experiences, my struggles, my victories or plainly put, my blackness.
Sure, they’re not card carrying, white sheet wearing characters from “The Help” but they’re not far off.
I’m reminded of my grandmother who told me when I was very young that I could be friends with my best friend but for so long; at some point it would all change. I asked her why and she said, “Well, baby at some point, your best friend is going to realize she’s white”.
Fortunately for me, my best friend has been such for over 40 years. She’s well-aware that she’s white, she’s still struggling with her white privilege and is open enough to share that with the black students she transports on the shuttle bus she drives while attending the same university as them. They shared their feelings about the election cycle and eventually Trump’s election to office. During that time, she’s been schooled. She’s been slapped down and she’s still learning.
Not because of our friendship, but because she wants to develop as a human being.
It’s just that simple.
When I call her or her husband on their privilege and explain why they can’t speak with any authority about race relations because of that privilege, they are silent. They’re listening.
That’s not easy. I understand that. At the same time, I don’t wish to be a Black Studies professor at every gathering.
So, when I first heard about the Women’s March and the pink pussy hats, I shrugged.
It’s not that I don’t care about women’s issues, far from it; I’ve been a feminist since birth.I carried a book bag that said “A woman’s place is in the house and the senate” when I was in grade school. I come from a long line of activists.
I shrugged because I knew that the straight white women at these marches realized they’re white.
They wanted to march for “sisterhood” while ignoring some sisters they disagree with, chiefly among them Hillary Rodham Clinton. Like it or not, she earned a place of respect. She’s been a strong voice for all women.
Like it or not, she earned a spot.
The march was already divided from the get-go.
Now that one of the organizers has been targeted by the disgusting underbelly of the internet, we are all to stand with her and I suppose we should. We should also recognize that the women standing with her couldn’t be bothered to listen to Angela Davis. Angela Davis. Let that marinate.
They were unwilling to say the name of Sandra Bland, a sister, murdered by a callous and obviously racist police officer.
They refused to listen to Judith LeBlanc, a Native American sister.
(You can read further at http://thefbomb.org/2017/01/what-i-witnessed-at-the-womens-march/ if you want to read a more well-written account.)
Still, I attended the NYC march. I left not long after I’d heard “Not THIS white woman! I didn’t vote for Trump!” for the 100th time. When I asked one of the women about intersectionality, she replied, “We gave you a seat at the table. It’s not my fault if no one else listens.”
I was done. Done in. You see, she realized that she was white.