Dear White Ladies-
Originally printed in Luna Luna Magazine- May 29, 2014
Think about that for a second.
Hear in your head every mansplaining nice guy or even every well intentioned, usually great dude, you know starting a statement with these words-
“but not all men…”
Okay White ladies let me explain you a thing. I’m gonna blow your mind.
That anger and frustration, giving you bubble guts right now is how I feel when White women won’t listen to me.
Sit with that for a minute. Understand that how you feel when the response to your pain, your words, your experiences in regard to sexism and misogyny is not all men, but I’m a nice guy etc. is the same feeling I have when White women run to interrupt, or otherwise stomp over my experiences, pain and words.
Think about it very hard for a minute, I’ll wait.
If your first instinct is to say-
“but not all White women…”
“you are MEAN BLACK LADY AND I AM NOT LISTENING BECAUSE YOU HURT MY FEELINGS.”
You are Whitesplaining.
You are engaging in what many POC have deemed White Women’s Tears. No, I’m not explaining that to you, you’re smart you can look it up.
Now let’s talk about #yesallwhitewomen.
I have been following and have witnessed a lot of White Lady Tears, Whitesplaining and hurt feelings fueled flouncing from paying attention to what Women of Color have to say.
Now think again about how you feel when men decide you are too strident and too bitchy to be listened to about feminist issues or sexism.
That is what you are doing and It is really crappy.
The remedy for this is supremely simple and very difficult for most White women I have encountered in life.
Shut the hell up for five minutes.
Understand White Women that you don’t always have to be centered or the loudest, most believable voices on every single issue.
So- be quiet and listen because as you may or may not be aware, a lot of women of color have a lot to say. A lot of what we have to say is specific to women of color and frankly, we don’t need your White opinions about it.
A lot of what we have to say intersects with things like radicalized misogyny, specific types of sexism that White Women will never in their lives experience and that is not your moment.
And let me remind you that #notallwomen does not belong solely to you.
To quote Sojourner Truth, ain’t I a woman?
When WOC are talking, when we are saying things that hurt your feelings the bald truth is that, what we are saying are things you need to hear. Not things you need to comment on. If your feminism prioritizes only your fellow White women you are doing it wrong full stop.
And to wrap up let me address you White Ladies directly.
If your immediate response is to start furiously typing about how not racist you are and how much you love sistas and shit, shut up. Stop immediately like your keyboard is on fire.
I challenge you to do something.
Every time you start to do that, or when you turn away from hashtags like #solidarityisforwhitewomen (go look up Mikki Kendall) or #yesallwhitewomen, tell yourself that you are Whitesplaining and then tell yourself to shut up.
Consider that all us angry Black women are people too, and that our issues are just as important and real as yours. Also consider that when the conversation is not about White women, it is not necessary to make it about White Women. Just because you are not the focus, does not mean you don’t need to know.
I’m hard on you because I believe you can do this. I am hard on you because I believe that you are smart and awesome enough to break the cycle of White women talking over, taking over and generally pushing Women of Color aside.
For the sake of #allwomen just shut up for a few minutes. Thank you.–
A note added 5/18/2016. I will not abide fuckery on this post. If you want to yell about what a racist, I am, please be so kind as to write your own article not as a comment to this one.