To The Black Women Who Align Themselves With White Supremacy

You are ignorant and misguided.

T o the Black women who think that close proximity to or intimacy with whiteness means you are successful . . .

To the Black women who think that supporting anti-Blackness will protect them . . .

To the Black women who speak out against and separate themselves from Black people, consider themselves one of the “good ones,” and think they are protected by the whiteness around them . . .

You are ignorant and misguided.

That hurt, I know. And you might have already stopped reading, but I hope you’ll give me a chance, like I gave your excuse of a rationale for supporting a white supremacist candidate a chance. Stay with me here.

I get why you’d do this. I understand the safety that whiteness represents. The white people public relations campaign proffers a beautifully malevolent message that worms its way into our subconscious and unconscious before we realize it’s happening.

The white people public relations campaign proffers a beautifully malevolent message.

I understand the belief that white equals right. I grew up in this stew of racist patriarchy and I learned to drink my bathwater to survive, just like you. I understand wanting to live in what they tell us is the light. I understand the appeal of manicured lawns, clean streets, and large houses filled with white neighbors, good schools, fancy cars, and infinite consumerism. I understand how these things seem to represent safety and security.

I get how Blackness seems bleak and insecure. I’ve heard the constant messaging from media, institutions, teachers, bosses, comedians, news anchors, authors, and musicians that promote the lies white supremacy tells us. That our dark skin means shady thoughts. That our darkness, our Blackness, is ineptitude, ignorance, and dishonesty. That Black neighborhoods are less safe and secure than white neighborhoods. That Black employees are less capable than white employees. That Black students aren’t as intelligent as white students. That we, Black women, are gold-digging, disease-ridden, baby-making predators constantly seeking our next victim. I 100% understand how and why you think rejecting your Blackness rejects these ideas.

The problem is that you’re Black and every fucking negative thing you believe about Black people is what you believe about yourself.

I know it doesn’t feel that way. You’re smart, you make excellent grades, and gosh darn it, white people love you. You speak like them. You dress like them. You went to all the same schools, live in the same neighborhoods, like the same shit that is distinctly not Black.

You are taught through media, school, and society that white people are amazing. They are smart, funny, interesting, even when doing the most mundane of tasks, heroes even when being assholes. Their day to day lives are the dream everyone aspires to have. If only these bastions of greatness could be near you. Love you. Accept you. If you are one of them, then you are a success.

They tell you that you aren’t like the rest of them. That you are smarter. More aware. That you are thinking independently. The other Black people are sheep, following the herd to their demise, but you . . . you’re special. You get it. And all you need to do to succeed here is admit they, other Black people, aren’t good enough.

You pause, because that’s not quite what you think. But then you look at the shiny white people with their generational wealth gathered off the backs of the exploited labor of Black people. You see the external trappings that they say they earned through hard work and sacrifice, when often it was gifted as a benefit Black people were excluded from receiving. You look at the blood and bodies and sacrifices of countless Black people wasted by greedy liars who shine like false gods peddling snake oil cures.

“Well, I am different,” you tell yourself. “I am breaking away from my family. I get it.”

But do you?

They tell you that you aren’t like the rest of them.

You are the product of history without context and curated lies. You know what they want you to know, see what they want you to see, and believe what they want you to believe. You are the conservative rebel, the one person in your family brave enough to say your family is wrong. And why are they wrong? Because they aren’t wealthy? Because life isn’t easy? Because money is finite? Because they aren’t the visage of pale success you’ve yearned to be?

So you decide to leave the dark and live in the light. And in return? All you need to do is reject those who love you. Turn away from them. Blame them for the choices you’ve had to make. Pathologize the human cruelty you experienced into a characteristic of Blackness and leave it all behind.

Belittle them. Undermine them. Disparage them. Sabotage them.

Ignore them and the failures they represent. Ignore how it was engineered. Ignore how it was intentionally inflicted. Ignore the toxic tongues and poisonous actions of those with whom you’ve aligned yourself. If other Black people had been smarter, they’d be where you are — alone in a crowded nest of snakes where you . . . survive.

You are the product of history without context and curated lies.

The pain in your chest? It’s nothing. The ache in your throat? Minor. The cramping, teeth grinding, headaches, insomnia, depression . . . those are just growing pains. It has nothing to do with the brown visage you see every time you look in the mirror and that you tell yourself is irrelevant as you navigate your chosen minefield of whiteness. You’ve convinced yourself that the mediocre people surrounding you, born into the “success” that you skewer your soul to attain, is harmless. That your isolation is the price of ambition. And that one day you will prove that you belong.

You keep proving your loyalty over and over and over with acts of increasing cruelty. You disassociate from your family — the people who watched you grow into this person who is now ashamed of them.

And then, one day, you realize there is no “one day,” and no matter how perfectly you emulate and perform, you’re still tainted. It could be the day your in-laws refer to your friends as a gang, despite your coming from a higher educated background than their entire family. It could be the many times you are passed over for promotion in favor of less qualified white people you trained, or when — upon inquiring about this — you’re told it was because of your nonexistent attitude. Or when your white in-laws tell you your children will be beautiful because their skin will be lighter. Or maybe it’ll be the day you listen to all the white people around you justify the murder of a Black child who was playing with his sibling in the park.

No matter how perfectly you emulate and perform, you’re still tainted.

When you realize this, you will truly see how you’ve isolated and harmed yourself and your relationships. And you’ll have to face a question you’ve been avoiding since starting down this path.

Who are you?

You aren’t the “good” Black person you thought you were, and the white people you thought loved you don’t. And now you’re in this between space you’ve chosen, denying reality, trading truth for white lies only to learn that your humanity was never in question. It was denied by the very people to whom you sold your integrity to gain proximity.

I don’t know when you’ll learn that lesson, but you will. And it will hurt. Because one day, when you’re swimming fully in the sea of falsehoods that white supremacy sells, you’ll realize that the problem was never being good enough — it was our audacity to continue to exist at all.