First of all ladies, I want to say how proud and inspired I was by the Women’s March and the continual protests I am seeing of women across the country. Seeing so many women peacefully making their concerns heard, taking to the streets, and refusing to normalize misogyny is a beautiful thing. Something I don’t think I would have believed possible after all the times I had heard feminists be called ugly dykes who just need to get laid, and seen my fellow women laughing at those jokes. So I want to thank each and every woman who walked, you are fucking brave and amazing and powerful.

So now what?

Women's March in D.C., 2017, AfroSapiophile. Photography Credit: Johnny Silvercloud

We have made our voices known, we pissed off Mr. Trump, we proved to the world and ourselves that we have serious numbers and serious concerns. But one thing keeps tugging at me, and that’s the difference in police response to the Women’s March and police response to Black Lives Matter demonstrations. We just witnessed what happens when white women in pink hats disrupt traffic, walk in the middle of the street, and surround their capitals – the police smile, and give us high fives, and pose for pictures. That’s not what happens when women and men of color protest. When black women block a road, which again, we white women totally did, people threaten to run them over with cars and trucks. See the difference?

Women's March in D.C., 2017, AfroSapiophile. Photography Credit: Johnny Silvercloud
White silence

And that’s pretty fucked up when you think about it, because people of color should have the same rights to free speech and freedom of assembly that we do. And while we are on the subject, why do we have that ability that others don’t? Why did the police and public react to white women protesting at a completely different magnitude than they do when people of color do? It’s simple really, they don’t see us as a threat. The police have shown white women again and again that they again really not afraid of us – seriously, pretty much every white women I know has had an interaction with police where she has been sent on her way with a warning. I don’t know any black men or women who can say the same.

Now before you start to feel guilty, Ashley, hear me out. The police have revealed their biggest weakness. They underestimate us. They don’t think we are strong enough or powerful enough or dangerous enough to impact them or their policies in any meaningful way. But if you actually look at policing in this country is full of problems: a lack of accountability, lack of training on implicit bias, lack of understanding of the root causes of criminal behavior and mental illness. And the result of that is that people of color are more likely to be stopped by police, more likely to be arrested, more likely to be convicted  (and given longer sentences), and, you guessed it, more likely to be killed by a police officer. That’s a problem! And I think we should help because it’s the right thing to do, and we can help because the police don’t take us seriously. We can use our privilege by attending Black Lives Matter and Native Lives Matter protests and putting our bodies between protesters of color and the police. Just go, listen to people of color, don’t try and take charge, and use all those stupid stereotypes that get assigned to us to actually make a difference in people’s lives.

black-life-johnny-silvercloud-photography-afrosapiophile-2
A young black woman with protesters, Washington D.C., 2017.

Let’s take a stand for something important.  Let’s show the country that we are strong and powerful and unafraid. Let’s be the superheroes we know we can be, and have something to tell our children and grandchildren when they ask us what we did to stop American Fascism.

 

Written by Natalina

Natalina is a cat lady living in Northern Minnesota where she is studying clinical psychology. Her research interests include trauma and social reactions to interpersonal trauma disclosure. Twitter @NatalinaWineMix

11 comments

  1. Until white women actively mobilize against the issue of SYSTEMIC RACISM innate in Amerikkka and the UK and challenge the HIStory of racial oppression by the white supremacist patriarchal agenda which is alive and kicking for all people of colour, THEY are part of the problem!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve been thinking on issues of intersectionality recently and how white women tend to be infantilized, while black men tend to be demonized, and black women get to deal with the unholy combination of those. You’re making an important call to arms because we’ve got to find a way to make intersectionality bring us together rather than keep us apart

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for seeing what so many other fail to see. Thank you for speaking up and condemning the silence and the apathy brought on by years of conditioning to believe that in fact people of color are troublemakers, and the whole slew of negative propaganda assigned to us for no other reason than bigotry and prejudice.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Reblogged this on shitididthat and commented:
    The fight for women’s rights and equality is what opened my world to feminism. Not BS feminism that gets portrayed as hateful and full of vengeance.
    The type of feminism that is guided by love, compassion, and empathy for every other creature. That’s it, nothing more nothing less that means that my fight is not over as a human, until everyone else’s fights are won and we are finally living as intended.
    The type of feminism that means it is my fight and my responsibility to use my white privilege to defend those that are fighting for things I as a white woman, despite my struggles, will never be able to understand. Because by random change I lack melanin, and they don’t to varying degrees, thus by the beauty of nature we all look different.
    You, as a white person, did absolutely nothing to “become white” and yet you benefit from that every single day of your life. Which may or may not be “your fault” but that doesn’t detract from the fact that you are privileged for no damn reason. Which is as asinine as anyone else being hated (to put it lightly), and faceing far far more obstacles, because the skin color they were born with.
    If you can’t swallow your damn inflated pride and acknowledge that fact, and make it your job to fight for your fellow man against a system made to destroy them, then you are actively part of the problem. And you should be damn ashamed of that.

    Please walk up to the next person of color you see and tell them that things being “the way they are” is personally their fault and they should be held responsible and their children punished before even being old enough to understand the world.
    If you can’t do that, then you know damn well it’s wrong. And you have some serious thinking to do about if you are a good person or not.

    Like

  5. Thank you, Natalina. I appreciate your words. I offer the following comments as an invitation to dialogue, with you and anyone else hanging out in the comments with us. I agree and support SO much of what you say…. really, all of it. But I want to add a couple of perspectives. I’m a white, queer, crip/disabled femme who has been involved in both the BLM/Anti-police violence/Anti-white supremacy and other anti-oppression movements for some time. You said, “Why did the police and public react to white women protesting at a completely different magnitude than they do when people of color do? It’s simple really, they don’t see us as a threat. The police have shown white women again and again that they again really not afraid of us”…. That is true. But there is more. Its also because of historical and systemic racist practices and the space that Black women and white women have historically occupied in the USA. It runs deep and has many historical and systemic manifestations.

    The other thing I want to put out there is this. YES, emphatically, we must use our unearned light/white skinned privilege in service of deep social justice. But it is real how that safety afforded white women will start to crack when we do put our bodies in between the police and our People of Color and Indigenous Sisters and Brothers. I’m not at all saying don’t do it. DO IT, and/or the many other actions to resist and subvert the dominant structures of white supremacy. But you are spot on in saying LISTEN to POCI about what would be helpful in any given situation. Thank you for saying that! Essential!

    But to my white Sisters… go into knowing you may be arrested, you may be treated in ways hitherto unknown to your experience. DO IT ANYWAY, if you can. That is a personal choice based on many factors in each of our lives. I say this, not to be a debbie-downer or to discourage anyone. On the contrary, I want this movement to keep growing. I want ALL my Sisters who I saw out there to KEEP SHOWING UP FOREVER. But we all have to recognize and accept that by opposing the system we are working to change, we are going to run afoul of it. Because of our white skin, we won’t be the first arrested. We won’t be the first teargassed. The legal consequences to us will likely be softer. Our white skin privilege will still afford us some unearned softening of the consequences relative to our POCI Community Members. I say all this because, for real change to happen, some of us have to be willing to risk these things and we need to not run for cover and in shock when the systems we are challenging bite back.

    So build a strong and fiercely loving web of people around you and be part of that web for other folx. Do all the things you need to do to nurture your body and spirit. Its going to a long walk. Its already been a long walk. We are joining it at this time in our lives. Keep walking. I love that you showed up. Keep. Showing. Up. Love, lovingly, Palma from Minneapolis

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your insightful comment! You make a great point about the likelihood of us white women having less serious consequences for protesting.

      You also touched on the idea of self care as well which is going go only get more important in the coming years. It can be emotionally exhausting to look at all of the awfulness we are facing, and in order to keep showing up to the best of our abilities we need to take care of each other.

      Thanks for reading/commenting and it’s always nice to talk to another Minnesotan 🙂

      Like

  6. Natalina, I didn’t say strongly enough how much I appreciate that you wrote this and for all the crucial points you made so eloquently. I don’t see a way to edit my post, so I’ll just add this here. We white women have our particular work to do and a HUGE part of that is working amongst ourselves to examine white skin privilege, the historical legacies we have inherited as white women and what we can do to use our privilege to challenge the systems we benefit from in some ways, while being oppressed by them in other ways. That’s work to do on our own and to bring the fruits of that labor into our work as allies. Thank you for keeping this work going.

    The other thing I wish to add to my comments and as a plea to my white sisters…. Learn about INTERSECTIONALITY, if you don’t already bring this essential lens to your work already. If we are to keep building new and just ways of life, we must do so with a deep knowledge of intersectionality. In Solidarity, Palma Cady

    Here is one resource to learn more. https://www.sfu.ca/iirp/documents/resources/101_Final.pdf
    “Intersectionality 101” by Olena Hankivsky, PhD
    Here is an excerpt:
    “WHAT IS INTERSECTIONALITY?
    The term “intersectionality” was coined in 1989 by American critical legal race scholar Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw (1989). However, the central ideas of intersectionality have long historic roots within and beyond the United States. Black activists and feminists, as well as Latina, post-colonial, queer and Indigenous scholars have all produced work that reveals the complex factors and processes that shape human lives (Bunjun, 2010; Collins, 1990; Valdes, 1997; Van Herk, Smith, & Andrew, 2011).
    As intersectionality has gained popularity, it has been interpreted and discussed in vari- ous ways – e.g., as a theory, methodology, paradigm, lens or framework. Moreover, many different definitions have been proposed. In general, however:

    Intersectionality promotes an understanding of human beings as shaped by the interaction of different social locations (e.g., ‘race’/ethnicity, Indige- neity, gender, class, sexuality, geography, age, disability/ability, migration status, religion). These interactions occur within a context of connected systems and structures of power (e.g., laws, policies, state governments and other political and economic unions, religious institutions, media). Through such processes, interdependent forms of privilege and oppression shaped by colonialism, imperialism, racism, homophobia, ableism and patriarchy are created.
    2
    PUT SIMPLY: According to an intersectionality perspective, inequities are never the result of single, distinct factors. Rather, they are the outcome of intersections of different so- cial locations, power relations and experiences.”

    Liked by 1 person

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