Dear Liberal White Women

Dear Liberal White Women,

 

Today, we find ourselves at the familiar intersection of change and privilege. We have been here many times and each time you have chosen the path of privilege. You are willing to throw women of color under the bus, to ignore our community needs, and reinforce the power structures of a society geared at your white fathers, husbands, and sons.

 

History repeats itself over and over as some of your famed feminists have chosen to advance YOUR causes by separating from the problems of us brown folks. At times, Susan B. Anthony to Gloria Steinman has all divorced their feminist calls for change from the calls of people of color.  When you were fighting for the right to go to work many women of color were working in your homes. Instead of fighting for the rights of women to choose their path you focused on you. You have not thought about race because you did not have to.

 

That is where the problem lies. White women will always choose privilege, comfort, and power over fighting for us all!! As long as racial oppression exist our issues will never be the same. Yet, you refuse to acknowledge your role in our oppression. This familiar intersection shows us OUR OPPRESSION BENEFITS YOU AS A WHITE PERSON. When white women got the right to vote they abandoned black women in the Jim Crow South.  Historically, you have always seen the value of being white and you always choose the path that leaves us behind if it advances your cause.

 

Today, we claim to focus on Intersectional Feminism. We are recognizing women of color who can not separate their racial oppression and fight solely for the causes of women. This radical feminism requires that women of color are central to equality work. Sadly, not surprisingly, we find ourselves at our familiar crossroad of truth. Liberal white women face the same choice as their predecessors, and they continue to undermine intersectionality by prioritizing white power and privilege every day.

 

Consider the co-opting of the kneeling protest. The kneeling protest is strictly about BLM. A cause many liberal whites have avoided or felt uncomfortable about since it started on the field. All over social media, after the disgraceful Kavanaugh vote, liberal white women called for us to kneel to protest the injustices against women. This is privilege at play. Whites stealing the ideas and symbolic gestures of people of color to use as their own. This is the intersection and those white liberals prioritizing their own pain and trying to hijack the energy and the visibility of the BLM movement is an example of liberal racism.

 

The truth is liberal white women say they care about Black lives but they do not care enough to sacrifice the comfort and privilege they get from being close in orbit to white men. When faced with issues of race and racism many liberal white women attack women of color or shift blame to white supremacist or conservatives. Any Pantsuit Nation post about race is immediately attacked by whites trying to defend their own personal goodness or discredit the writer. You do not want to look in the mirror and see that your complicity perpetuates the oppression of women of color.

 

The harsh reality is that you, yes you, liberal white women, play a vital role in perpetuating racism. The only way to undo this truth is to face it and choose the path to change. You must follow the lead of women of color. You must give up your seat and voice to them more often than not. You must talk to other white women about how they handed Donald Trump the election and the nomination. You have an obligation to address racism within your own community.  You have an obligation to educate yourself and those around you. You have to be willing to put your body and your relationships on the line for people of color. Show up to BLM protest. Seek out books about race relations. Donate to communities of color causes and groups. Use your privilege and resources to help women of color by doing what they ask of you and no more.

 

White women are you willing to self-reflect on your stake in the power structures? Are you willing to give up your power and privilege as a white person? Is your whiteness STILL MORE important than your womanhood? Are you still more important than me?

 

Best wishes,

 

Sunny Matthews

A Black Feminist

Co-Founder of Dimensions of Isms

 

Kenyona “Sunny” Matthews is a motivational speaker focusing on issues of diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism. She is a University of Akron School of Law graduate who focused civil liberties. She earned her bachelors from Guilford College majoring in Political Science, Philosophy, and African American Studies. She was an active college student helping to start an Anti-Racism team at Guilford College, responsible for organizing city-wide diversity/inclusion events, and developed coursework focusing on race and racism.

https://www.facebook.com/dimensionsofisms/

sunny 2

10 thoughts on “Dear Liberal White Women

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  1. I an chagrined to admit I am a whites woman who thought kneeling would be an effective protest in the #metoo movement. I’m did because I saw how much it pissed off aggressive entitled white men. Until I read this I had not realized it was an appropriation and so I won’t do it again.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is yet another piece that needs to be shared and shared often. There are far too many white women that look like me and sound like me and claim to want to help while protesting the fact that they are responsible. We all are. I’m going to share your piece. I continue to hold to the belief that we need to first admit that we are part of the problem. We need to ask P.O.C. what they are going through, LISTEN without shelling out excuses or denials, ask what we can do, DO IT.
    If it means I turn down a job promotion, I do it. How many women of color have been passed over for a white woman? It means I don’t work anywhere that’s been whitewashed. It means I refuse to sit in any panel, group, or meeting where people of color are not equally represented. It means I will stand up to those who won’t fight against racism and social injustice.
    I am deeply ashamed and sorry that we live in this world and have allowed this hate to live. If there is anything local to me (Philadelphia) that you know of where I can continue to show my support and stand for P.O.C. please let me know.
    Thank you for sharing your article.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Women have to unite as one for there is too much at stake. We need respect, equal pay, the glass ceiling destroyed, control over our reproduction, and stricter laws protecting us against physical, mental, and sexual assault. Listen to the concerns of our Black sisters, let them teach us. Let’s move forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a politics blog and have recently begun a series on institutional racism and white privilege, with the focus on educating myself and other white people on dismantling our white privilege. I get no feedback from it so I mostly feel like I’m writing in a vacuum, wondering if I’m doing the right thing. Reading this article makes me feel very sure that I made the right choice to travel down this path, even if nobody else wants to go with me. I’m just one voice with no real power, but I am done with letting my white privilege allow me to get away with racism and upholding a racist system. Thank you for sending out this reminder. I will strive to continue fighting for true equality and equity in this country.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel that I’m on the right path and maybe can be an example to other white women that there really is a lot we can do, that’s real and helpful. This is not to brag but shows what even poor white women can do to be of real usefulness:
    – my friend grew up in the projects of Baltimore. His ideas about how to make things better are rooted in that among other things, that poverty holds Black people far, far back. I’m a poor single mom with little cash to donate for winter clothing, so I organized a clothing drive at my job so we set up drive bins in 8 office kitchens. Time will tell what donations come in, but even without deep pockets I have access to collective wealth and am tapping into it to keep low income POC neighbors warm.
    -i pay 10% of pre-tax income as voluntary reparations to a community fund that buy a school supplies, warm clothing and essentials to folks in need. 10% Is a lot of money to someone on a budget like mine but it’s nothing compared to the why we must stop be selfish.

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  6. I’m a liberal white woman. I did not vote for Trump. And I don’t think we can wait any more on the people who did. They haven’t changed and probably won’t. I can’t “collect them,” answer for them or explain them just because I happen to also be white. Those on the side of equality and humanity can now choose to argue amongst ourselves or move on, together, without the people who can’t or won’t get it.

    Like

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