Member preview

The Fragility of White Men Versus Powerful Black Women

A conundrum

It all started a few weeks back when “Bob” got in his feelings over an article I wrote about my traveling experiences thus far.

Can you believe Bob had the audacity to call me..wait for it.a..racist?

Yup, he was in his feelings so much so that it seemed like he went and called his goons for backup because the comments were endless, which in my mind was good because it seemed to have resonated.

Here, on my second go-round as a black woman traveling the world alone, I have learned and experienced the true fragility of white men.

White men cannot handle when their privilege, false sense of power, identity, and masculinity is challenged by women, let alone a black woman.

Especially by a black woman.

Let’s break down a portion of one of Bob’s goons comments:

“Stop looking through the lens of race. It won’t do you any favors”.

Firstly, this sounded like I was being scolded and speaks to the fear that white men feel when black women speak their truth.

It sounded like he couldn’t believe that I would have the audacity to call out white people. He’s a white man living in a society that has led him to believe he is superior, so perhaps he felt he needed to “put me in my place”.

Secondly, it’s people like Bob and every other white person like him who perpetuate the idea that if we talk about race were somehow promoting divisiveness, and we are ultimately — racist.

That is YOUR fragility talking.

White people like Bob and his goons all participate in the same rhetoric of:

“I don’t see color”
“I’m colorblind”
“We’re all the same”
“Let’s just get along”

White people hate to talk about race because it makes them feel uncomfortable in a world that is set up to keep them comfortable at all costs.

Make no mistake, the reason we are not a post-racial society and far from it is because of people like the Bobs’ in my comments.

You cannot heal what you do not acknowledge exists.

Secondly, it won’t do me any favors? I’m sorry, what exactly won’t do me any favors?

Speaking my truth as a black woman in a white supremacist society that aims to diminish my truth and the truths of all black women?

Why does our black truth threaten you so much?

The false sense of power and entitlement that I have witnessed from white men is not isolated to the internet. It happens more often than not while traveling.

On more than one occasion I have entered an establishment, usually a restaurant or bar to be greeted by the gawks and intense gazes of older white men. Within minutes the same question is always presented with the same aggressive tone:

“Where are you from”?

The question is not the problem but the tone coupled with an aggressive attitude, is.

An example from last year in Cambodia; I walked into a restaurant overlooking the ocean to eat and get some work done.

“Where you from, Ghana”?

I looked around thinking this man was talking to someone else because I was so confused as to how he can see me, a young black woman and assume he knew where I was from.

This happens every time with no greeting, smile, or anything to imply this person wants to engage in a friendly exchange.

The first couple of times it happened, I couldn’t pinpoint what was off, but I felt uncomfortable every time. Something in my stomach didn’t feel right.

After the third time, I realized this was an intimidation tactic.

These old, white American men need to show their perceived power and strength in some way because my young, black presence is powerful.

They immediately need to know where I’m from so they can make sense of how I ended up in the same place, on the other side world, with them.

Because to them, they have the privilege, not me. So how did I get there?

The presence of black women in the travel space is powerful and when we bring light to our experiences we become even more powerful, creating space for others to do the same.

Our truths are powerful because black women never, ever hold back. When we come, we come with facts. Facts that force white men and a supremacist society to confront their false sense of identity, power, and privilege.

Try as you might, whether we meet in person or online, I cannot and will not be intimidated, gaslighted, or silenced.


Renée Cherez is a moon-loving, mermaid believing empath seeking truth, justice and freedom. Feel free to read more of her writing on Medium, here. Follow her on Instagram to indulge in her *sometimes* overly long captions on travel, self discovery and social justice.