Dear White Women
Your “Yeah You Go Girl,” Doesn’t Absolve You of Guilt or Privilege
I’ve chosen not to use a photo because I don’t want to insult white women with this piece. I do not want to shame you or make you feel guilty, but I’m going to, so putting a face to this piece just feels wrong.
White girl cheerleading needs to stop. The accolades that Black women earn do not come from white women, they come from years of hard work, tears, embarrassment, shame, fear, anxiety, and the PTSD of being Black.
Whenever any of my Black friends, or I for that matter, post anything decrying the behavior of white women, there is always that small group of white cheerleaders who back these informational pieces with “yeah girl,” “tell it like it is,” “omg thank you for saying that!” “Omg right? Totally on point.”
Women, just stop.
It’s not being done because you love us, or because you’re proud of us standing in our truth, you’re doing it because you want to be able to say you have a Black friend and we see you and we’re tired of it.
I posted something like this on Twitter the other day and ended it with “guaranteed this is going to happen,” and sure enough a friend reached out to tell me she agreed with everything that I said, which would have been fine, except that woman was white, and I had specifically asked for white girl cheerleading to stop.
She just did it privately instead of in the open, as if that somehow changed the behavior.
So I called her on it, and thankfully she took a breath and realized that she had in fact done what I’d just asked her not to do, but that interaction could have ended so fucking differently, had we both, not a desire to protect our friendship.
White women are more often concerned with pretending to be allies, instead of being actual allies, and that’s the problem. We don’t need white women to cheer us on, what we need you to do is to do the fucking work.
Read the #1619Project, Read the WEOC Editors' work. Listen to those of us who are telling you HOW to do the work and prove that you’re listening by doing the work.
Here’s a list of great books and writers you could read and reach out to, that will inspire you to change the way you define allyship.
- “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race” by Reni Edo-Lodge
- “1619 Project” by Nikole Hannah-Jones
- “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo
- Allison Gaines
- Arturo Dominguez
- Hal H. Harris
- LaToya Baldwin Clark
- Sharon Hurley Hall
- Marley K.
There are hundreds of Writers and Editors of Color you can check out that will help you define what your allyship means to us, but what does it mean to you? It’s not all just reading a few books and throwing out titles.
It means taking your money, your time, and your effort, into your community to show Black folk that they are welcomed and that you actually want them around. It means helping us to defund the police so that we can refund the community.
If you want to support us actually support us. Recognize that the land you’re on right now belongs to and has always belonged to the Indigenous communities that had their land stolen from them.
The breaths you take come from four thousand years of oppression rolled down into four hundred-year chunks because that’s all we can handle, but the truth is that nothing that we as humans are facing today, is new.
Our ancestors have been dealing with racism, classism, homophobia, sexual abuse, and trauma for generations before we have books to record the histories.
Very few historians have taken the time to sit back and really digest just how much trauma a human being can handle and Black women especially have faced everything, and on top of it all we’re now facing aliens.
We don’t need you to cheer us on as we do the work, we need you to step up and do some of the work for us so we don’t have to.
We want fair wages.
We want equitable housing.
We want proper education.
We want our children to be safe.
We Want guns off the streets.
We want the cops to be less protected when they break laws, and more justice, please.
Nothing that we’re asking for is unreasonable, it only seems unreasonable because you don’t see these things as basic needs until they start to affect YOUR quality of living.
Let me tell you if your quality of living depends on me being miserable, then you’re part of the problem, not the solution, and if cheering me on means you don’t have to actually do the work or say the things yourself, then yes, you are a part of the problem.
Devon J Hall