Fellow white women: I am not an anti-racism educator.
I have been feeling this for awhile, but was unsure how to articulate the feelings that went along with it. Being grouped in with women of colour doing anti-racism education doesn’t feel right to me. This has happened several times, and each time I have grown more and more uncomfortable, not knowing how to approach it with each woman who has listed me as someone they are learning about anti-racism from. I will attempt to address this here.
I am not an anti-racism educator. I am not “brave” for talking about how my white privilege affects people. Fellow white women, can we please retire that word when referring to another white women who is doing the bare minimum when it comes to race issues?! Doing the right thing doesn’t deserve praise. Can we see why that feeds all the bullshit?
This isn’t my work to be teaching. It’s not a white woman’s work to teach. I do feel there is a place for conversation, to amplify the voices of the women of colour I am learning from, and to bridge a gap to the anti-racism education that many white women are in desperate need of (whether they know it or not, I know I did and still learning). When fellow white women mention me in their posts about who they are learning from, it doesn’t feel right to be grouped in with women of colour who are doing the real work of anti-racism and activism leaders. As a white woman, it does not make me an activist or an anti-racism educator by highlighting what women of colour have already been telling white women forever. I have not been doing this work forever. I am newly waking up to my white ignorance and ingrained racism. I AM NOT AN EXPERT, nor do I have a masters degree in social justice issues. I do this because it is paramount that I support my women of colour friends, to show solidarity about the massive shifts that need to take place, and to highlight the abuses due to white fragility that are happening each and every F-ing day to women of colour in person and online.
There is a difference between my work and the work of these anti-racism educators, and that difference needs to be highlighted and clarified because I feel like a fraud seeing my name alongside women of colour doing the real work as activists and anti-racism educators.
These aren’t my profound insights. This isn’t original thought. It doesn’t make me “brave” for talking about what, as a white woman, the decent thing to do is, and to stop abusing women of colour and stealing their work. This isn’t mine. It’s not yours, either. So for F-sakes, do not try to profit off anti-racism work. That is stealing. This doesn’t make me anything other than a woman that is trying to highlight what a cluster fuck some of the industries are that, we, white women flock to for solace, connection, and of course, “finding ourselves.” Yoga communities. Spiritual communities. Coaching. Self-help/development — one big, giant cluster fuck.
My honest reaction to white women tagging me alongside women of colour doing anti-racism work is, really? I have no interest in speaking engagements. I am not a coach or a mentor, I have no programs to offer, or whatever else. This doesn’t elate me, it devastates me. I believe the reason white women are tagging me alongside actual anti-racism eductors and connecting with me is because it is easier for white women to talk to me, then to pay or listen to women of colour because of their fragility on the topic of race. So again, this is why I take issue with this. FRAGILITY GETS US NOWHERE. I am speaking on my ignorance and whitewashed life because it felt important. It felt urgent. I see so many white women not seeing how urgent this really is.
If I have helped you see yourself a little more clearly, good. If I pushed you in a direction to learn from women of colour doing this work, even better, but I am not the person to look to for your educational needs on anti-racism. Yes, I made an anti-racism resource list because I kept having the same conversation over and over. Yes, I am done with white woman sisterhood, and contributing to all the problematic things we do. But, this does not make me an expert or an educator. Yes, I’m sharing my experience as I undo my whitewashed life, yes, I share about my anti-racism education, but NO, that doesn’t make me your teacher. It is an unfair expectation to place on me when you call me something I am not.
This is the work of women of colour. If they choose to work with white women know how deeply exhausting this can be. Not all anti-racism educators work with white people, know that. Their emotional labour is not free, nor should you demand that they field your ignorant questions and pull a temper tantrum when you don’t like the answer. Do not go marching into women of colour spaces and announce your presence and demand a cookie for “just showing up.” Do a little homework first. Read both of Catrice. M. Jackson’s books written for white women, please.
My voice isn’t what needs to be at the forefront of this conversation. I can only speak to all the problematic things I have done with my white privilege, ignorant behaviour, whitewashed spiritual views, and other privileges as I continue to dismantle it.
I see and understand the importance to speak up about racism as a white woman. I will never “let up on” the family and friends around me. I call out bullshit where it’s needed. I am all for rallying our collective problematic white women (and men); calling out or in these people who hide their heads in the sand.
All that, to say this: I am a white woman that had a budding women’s empowerment business. I chose to dismantle it completely and no longer make money at this time. I stepped back because I felt that is what I needed to do. What we don’t need is one more white women, who have been whitewashed for most of her life, telling other people how to live their life. I am just trying to do the right thing these days. I just want to write about my experience, take a back seat, and learn to not be a bag of shit.
Some white women are in complete denial that they should be dismantling their businesses or need be spending a good amount of time doing anti-racism education. (It is your privilege to continue doing problematic things and benefit off a system that is swayed to benefit white people), you happen to be the women that have even more of a responsibility to dismantle the ways white supremacy and white privilege cloud your better judgement and how you make your money. I urge you to either get out of the leadership seat, or work to dismantle the problematic shit you’re doing. Hire women of colour that do anti-racism consulting with white women to help you examine any problematic things you’re doing, or to start your anti-racism education. Make money ethically; that includes avoiding cultural appropriation, not charging ridiculous amounts of money for your epic program that really isn’t that unique (come the fuck on, everyone and their cat is a coach), enough with that shit, and of course, profiting off of willful racial ignorance, especially in the name of “helping people” on their journey. Don’t kid yourself.
Go to the sources that are teaching me, pay them. Buy their books. Their courses. Attend their workshops.
What I try to offer is a bridge in a conversation that needs to be had. I do field some questions from white women to prevent them from taking up space on women of colour spaces, demanding free emotional labour from them. That is why I made the resource list. But for actual anti-racism education, you won’t find that here. I hope you understand the difference after reading this.
Go learn from the women who are living this experience and have businesses that help you properly unpack your ingrained racism and biases. I am not the expert you’re looking for. And please stop calling me brave.
*If you have any other recommendations for courses, let me know*