Reclaiming My Power From White Women
Sara Haile-Mariam

I’ll have to echo the few sentiments here that say this is a racist article. Not trying to take away from the hardships you had to come out of — they must have been hard to deal with.

But the thing is, that many white girls are treated this way by other white girls, and by girls of other races as well. If you’re different in any way, it makes you a target. For me, even though I’m white (and therefore, supposedly have some kind of privilege), I got bullied for many years — first for being kind of nerdy, then for having friends younger than me (how uncool), then for being poor (I only owned 2 shirts, and everyone noticed), then for being Christian (yes, it definitely does happen). There were times I got harassed by random people on the street for being white. I received this treatment from both boys/men and girls/women, who were white, black, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Native; people who were gay, straight, or gay allies; from Muslims, atheists, and occassionally other Christians. Bullying really doesn’t have any boundaries.

But I’m not here to try to throw some pity party for myself. The point here is that never once did I take it as some kind of systemic issue where an entire race had to take responsibility for the bad things that happened to me. It never even crossed my mind. Some people are jerks — heck, a lot of people are jerks. And you’re right, a good many people do try to make themselves feel good by putting others down. But it’s not a “white women” thing. It’s a human being thing.

And I’ll be honest, it does make me angry to read this — not cos I can’t handle an inconvenient truth, not cos I’m uncomfortable, not cos you’re being honest about your pain. It’s cos you’re acting as though all white women need to take responsibility for the actions of a handful of people you knew — and yes, that IS racist. Did I say all black women need to take responsibilty for my former black friend who clawed my arms until they were bleeding, just cos she felt like it? When I lived in a mostly Middle Eastern neighbourhood, and a random Muslim woman threw an egg at me and called me white trash, did I say this is a “Muslim women” problem? Or maybe all the white girls who called me names, shoved me into lockers, attempted to embarrass me publicly, and threatened to beat me when I stood up to their taunting were acting out of white supremacy… toward another white person? These actions are not much different from those you experienced, not at their core… which should make you think twice about tying the bullying you received as widespread white supremacist attitudes.

And then of course, you have to tie it into Trump. That election gave new meaning to the phrase “pick your poison”. It’d be a huge step in the wrong direction to think that just cos people voted for him, that they think all his unsavoury comments were fine. Even suggesting it shows you have a huge disconnect with this group of people (maybe not surprising, if you think they’re always out to oppress you, whether they know it or not).

I’m very sorry that you had to deal with all that garbage growing up. I know it sucks. I know it makes you feel like less of a human being. But please, for the love of all that’s good, don’t make it a “white women need to own this” thing. It’s simply not true — not on the level you’re taking it to.

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