Direct Message Debauchery: on white women + private messaging me sh*t I don’t want
Dear White women,
Stay the hell out my DMs.
You have lost all privileges to show up in my messages with friendly suggestions, recommendations, and/or feedback on my views and vocabulary. In case you did not realize, I am not Sears. I don’t care about all your hopes, thoughts, and dreams realized at a picnic in the woods with a Sears branded lantern. I am also not Kohl's and do not accept feedback on a rolling basis about my culottes.
If you want to have a discussion with me about a post I’ve written, comment on the post directly. Open a dialogue. Be clear about identifying your opinions as opinions when you do. That is all that I ask. If you do not want to have a dialogue but want to complain about the ways I speak/have thoughts/live/breathe and/or spell— talk to your pillow about it, but don’t talk to me. You should also consider using your energies to talk to your racist uncle. He’s spreading dangerous views on the internet and in life and that sounds like a job for you as a white woman to get at em. In addition, stop burying your guilt in the lives of Black women. Get after your liberation. Don’t place your ability to have opinions as a priority to using your energy, spirit, and mind to liberate yourself and other women like you. I know it’s hard out there, but when it comes to my own mental integrity I honestly don’t give a fuck how hard it is for you. Your difficulty cannot become a priority over the dismantlement of my oppression. Your difficulty cannot equate to your own imagined superiority over my lived experiences on this Earth. I am not here to carry your feelings or your guilt. If you need someone to do that for you, look further because that person is not me.
In your mind you might be thinking that a direct message is a way to spare me shame or a way to demonstrate good intentions. Here’s why that’s flawed thinking. The internet comes down to a handful of prominent public spaces and forums that can be seen by all ‘friends’ included in the privacy settings we set. Direct messages are one of the few places of privacy (and I use that term loosely) on the internet that I use to check-in on my mother, to speak to my mentor, to tell my friends I love them, to finalize business negotiations, to share my concerns about my ability to host and produce a show that people will actually watch and feel something for, and more. When you as a white woman barge into that space with a white woman sandwich it is not only disconcerting because of the assumption you make that your views or perceptions should be automatically valued by me, it is also a disruption of a space that is not intended for you if you have neither been sent an invitation or requested one.
‘What’s a white woman sandwich,’ you may ask.
A white woman sandwich has two buns and a center with meat or vegetables. The first bun is a compliment: ‘Oh I really love your work.’ The meat or vegetable is an insult that often comes in the form of unsolicited advice: ‘You can do better work if you just write with a little less anger’. The last bun is especially important because it is what allows a white woman to dismiss herself from the conversation before she is challenged which means she gets to walk away feeling good about the great work she has invested in society: ‘Well I really love you so much! Bye!’
The white woman sandwich is one of the banes of my existence. It’s the shit that white women bake into a cookie and place in a pink box tied with a little pink bow that serves as a demonstration of true gentility and grace and I’m not here for that shit. Let’s say you don’t have a lock on your front door and I come right in and start talking about how you need to fix up your house because its styling doesn’t fit my taste. That would be okay because the absence of physical lock means I’m welcome to come into your home and give you advice at anytime, right? WRONG. That is not what that means. None of this is to say that I won’t ever make a mistake. I make mistakes all the time. I am the most problematic person I know, but what I am saying is if you want to open a dialogue about something I’ve written publicly, do so publicly. Messaging me privately is a step into my personal space. If you haven’t been invited into that space having asked if you can offer me feedback by utilizing that space, then don’t.
Here’s a helpful step-by-step guide as to how to correct me via direct message if you are a white woman:
Step one: Don’t.
Step two: Are you sure that what you wish to bring to my attention is about me? Or is it about you feeling threatened by something I’ve said? Does your correction have to do with vocabulary or grammar? I cannot accept it. Rules of grammar and the rejection of slang is the Chuckie Cheese of white supremacy and that’s not a family entertainment center I frequent.
Step three: Do you believe I have said something that is hurtful? Comment on my post directly. ‘Hey I think this is hurtful because…’ Let me know publicly. I don’t do Phantom of the Opera type trepidation from the shadows dialogue. If I am wrong, that is an opportunity for me to learn and for those who read my work to learn as well. If you are wrong, that is an opportunity for you to learn something.
I’ll end this essay by asking you a question, when was the last time a black woman showed up in your personal space with advice you didn’t ask for? In the past week, it’s happened to me about four times with white women. Four times. Can you imagine that?
So in conclusion, stay out my damn DMs.