Monday, February 16, 2009

Blind Allegiance To White Women

My truth and my history tells me that blindly trusting white women is a mistake.  On an individual level we can get to know each other and share intimacies but on a systemic level whiteness will always divide us.  Even the  person most aware of their racial privilege will eventually say something racist that will cause a rift in the relationship.  A lifetime of socialization is not easily undone.

Even though we are well aware that there is no such thing as a monolithic woman, we are still approached  solely on the basis of shared womanhood. Black women remember that white women were just as brutal during slavery as white men.  They regularly wielded the whip with no thought of our so called shared womanhood.  When black woman screamed with a mothers lament as her precious child was snatched from her embrace, white women turned a blind eye, viewing us as no different that cattle. When your husbands snuck down to the slaves quarters to rape our foremothers, you anger was unleashed upon us, the victim.  How many of our sons have danced with the rope to protect your honour? 

It matters not what page you turn in history, your whiteness has always been levelled against us like a weapon.  Even in times when you came in the guise of friend, race served to create a hierarchy in our relationships with one another.  Ask the Native mother what it felt like to be told she was unfit to raise her own child?  Ask the Native mother what it was like to be forced to give her child to a white woman to nurture with the knowledge that said child would grow disconnected from their culture and beliefs? 

Have you taken the time to evaluate why it is that [email protected] women are thought of as only useful to work as domestics?  With your wealth and your class privilege, you roll your eyes as though speaking Spanish renders someone an idiot.   I remember watching as my favourite professor was routinely spoken down to by her white colleagues, even though they were far from her equal.  It took her twenty years to earn her Phd and she wore each year like a badge of honour and yet those less capable were promoted.   Of course it was never acknowledged that women's studies “needed” to be represented by white women. 

Yes, we are women however; crimes against womanhood are most often enacted on our bodies.  Silenced and shamed we must continually battle for the smallest modicum of respect.  When we demand the right to be heard, we are considered angry and aggressive.  Why are WOC expected to be docile?  White women who rebel against patriarchal oppression are celebrated within women centric circles. Somehow your pain is the only pain that is realized, while ours exists as the noise of savage malcontents.  

When we speak about historical wrongs we are silenced as these crimes are deemed irrelevant to present day, as though whiteness does not live in privilege today because of every single act of criminality that was acted out upon us.  You continue to extend hands in friendship and have the nerve to look confused when we are reluctant accept you at face value.  How can we trust you, when you have been as deceitful as Judas? 

WOC initiate this very same conversation repeatedly and yet nothing changes.  We get a little patronizing, perhaps a momentary expression of solidarity, only to have the same issues repeatedly occur.  White women: you need to listen and learn. Privilege is the rock upon which you continually stumble and it is our bodies that wear the bruises.  Though you would much rather the conversation focus on you and your needs, race must become an issue that is critically discussed, because race is what separates us and marks WOC as secondary citizens.  Tokenism is dishonest and we are not fooled by your lack lustre efforts.

Until you can acknowledge your own whiteness; it will continue to come between us and make any attempt of sisterhood a futile effort.  We hear the words solidarity and sisterhood but your actions continually prove that the only equality you are interested in, is between you and your white male counterpart.  We shall not participate in uplifting you so that you can continue to oppress us at every turn.

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