PAY YOUR TEACHERS

How to Compensate Black Women and Femmes on Social Media for Their Emotional Labor

Image via Pixabay

This is the final action call in a series for Black History Month. You can financially support our work at paypal.me/SolidarityWOC.


White people believe slavery ended over 150 years ago. Black people know better. Slavery has merely evolved into more insidious (albeit socially acceptable) oppression. What definitely hasn’t changed? Black women today still aren’t being paid for much of their work.

We’re not only paid less in every type of employment, but a Black woman with an advanced degree earns less than a white man with a bachelor’s degree — despite working more hours. Black women working as artists, consultants, and in other creative outlets often have their work stolen by white-run companies. Many white folks just flat out expect our free labor.

Outside the workplace, we expend a disproportionate amount of unpaid time and energy on emotional labor as well. Black women on social media routinely spend hours educating white folks on the disparities people of color suffer in medical treatment, education, criminal justice, environmental justice, and so on. You know what kind of payment we get for this exhausting emotional labor? Racism. Harassment. Death threats. Yet we can’t give up. Our physical survival depends on white people recognizing that there’s a boot on our necks — one that belongs to them. Our emotional well-being depends on taking a stand and carving out space. We can’t not give, but the battle against white supremacy takes a massive toll.

Now the bill has come due. The United States owes its very existence to the Black women whose unpaid labor built this nation and whose political activism has rescued it from fascism repeatedly. This country will never be able to repay that debt. But those benefiting from the work and wisdom of Black women teachers today should honor these women by paying up — today. Here’s how:


#1. Black women: You can’t give from an empty cup

  • Get paid. If you’re an online activist, blogger, organizer, etc. actively engaged in anti-oppression and liberation work, your expertise is worth more than a deposit of white liberal guilt. Set up PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash, and Patreon accounts to get compensated for teaching white folks how not to be racist.
  • Refill your cup by following our self-care guide here. Women of color have been asked to give from empty cups in this country for generations. However, we need to remember that as strong, as brilliant, as loving, and as powerful as we may be, we weren’t built to be superheroes — we were built to be human. Prioritizing self-care and mental health are both radical acts of resistance and self-love.
  • Take regular breaks from whiteness for self-preservation and, instead, focus on being in solidarity with each other as Black femmes, cis, trans, and queer women. Watch the TED talk below on the urgency of intersectionality by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, a prominent civil rights advocate and pioneer in critical race theory. Because “without Black women, there is no future.”

#2. White women: Don’t just pay lip service

  • Those Black women you already follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Medium? Show your appreciation for their work by checking out their websites/social media and dropping some cash in their PayPal accounts today. If they don’t have one, leave a message or comment asking how you can compensate them for their teaching.
Author and activist DiDi Delgado has provided this excellent Facebook post listing numerous Black women teachers, bloggers, and activists — some of whom appear below — that need to be amplified, supported, and paid. Go through and find ways to support some of your favorites and discover new voices to uplift.
#MeToo founder Tarana Burke, Women’s March co-chair Tamika D. Mallory, and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors discuss their work and what’s ahead.

#3. Pay Your Teachers

Black women and femmes are pointing out their unpaid labor and setting up accounts on payment apps and crowdfunding sites to support their antiracism work and teaching. And we should honor these Black Women Teachers by paying them — with actual money, not just heart emojis. Because those “likes” and “shares” alone don’t pay for the Wi-Fi and the laptop, let alone the work and sleep hours lost while supplying links and logic to Miss Boo-hoo Becky in Boise.

Here is our shortlist of online activists and bloggers with their payment app links and social media pages. If you would like to be added, please message TOS via our Facebook page.