Anne Gunderson
Published in

Anne Gunderson

7 Things that Make You a Garbage White Woman

Have you ever wondered if you — regular, every day white woman — are a part of a coalition of garbage white women who are destroying this country? I do. All the time, actually. I’d say a maximum of 35% of us aren’t garbage. And if you’re thinking, “well me and all the white women I know aren’t garbage,” 1) you’re probably wrong and 2) maybe you’re not. But we tend to hang out in garbage/non-garbage clusters, so it’s either all of you or none of you. Anyway, I created a non-exhaustive list to help us figure out which category we fall into:

1. If you’ve ever needed a black person to vouch for you after you said something offensive (“no guys, she’s cool. Really!”), you’re probably garbage. And honestly, your friend probably is, too (like I said: clusters). And him/her vouching for you doesn’t let you off the hook. Think before you speak next time.

*The same rule applies if you’ve ever had to start naming the black people you know to justify a statement. Still garbage.

2. If you’ve ever “borrowed” ideas from a black person without giving him/her proper credit. You may not even know you’re doing it (but you probably do), but black people do because wage gaps and opportunity disparities exist. This can be solved with critical thinking. Stop. Think. Develop original thought.

3. If you’ve ever clutched your belongings when approached by a black person. I have some bad news for you: thieves come in every shape, size and color. And statistically speaking, you’re more likely to be robbed by another white person (clusters). So keep a close eye on your shit all the time, indiscriminately.

4. If you’ve ever told a black person that he/she is being sensitive when reacting to a comment or action. What you said may not be a “big deal,” but compounding micro aggressions are. They’re not being sensitive. They’re just tired of our collective bullshit.

5. If you’ve ever judged the actions of a black person more harshly than you would a white person. Have you ever seen a group of loud, white teenagers and felt annoyed but you saw a group of loud, black teenagers and felt scared? That’s racism. Or at least bigotry. All teenagers suck. Indiscriminately. You’re just garbage.

6. If you’ve ever been that smiley white woman who’s way too excited to see black people doing things like parenting or holding a door open or reading or any other regular shit that you wouldn’t notice a white person doing. You just didn’t expect to see black people doing it and that makes you smile because you’re garbage.

*Extra points if you posted about it later on Facebook

7. If you’ve ever used your whiteness as a weapon. This one is a bit harder to self-identify but it’s easily the most important. We, as white women, benefit from our whiteness every day and often on the backs of black people. If you’ve never deeply interrogated how your actions impact others, you’re automatically in the garbage category.

But there’s good news! You can always move out of the garbage category (but I guess that also means that you can also move into it). But if you know you do this stuff and you just don’t care, then you’ll be garbage forever.

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Anne is a friend of all things nuanced, inspiring, and thoughtful.

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