On White Women
Let me start off by saying I have a lot of white women friends...
At the same time, I’m realizing more and more, that I’m a pretty confrontational person and any white person in my life that’s close to me has probably had to have extremely honest conversations about whiteness. If you’re a radical person of color, this is probably a lot of your life, navigating these interactions with white people. I’m saying all this because it’s true. If I can’t have truth, I’m not interested in a relationship. Having said that I’m also moved by the white people, white women, that I know who have dedicated their lives to unlearning white supremacy. Those who understand, at default, that they must unlearn anti-Blackness and racism by comprehending that the very nature of being white was created against Black, brown and indigenous peoples… that the very construction of whiteness is a declaration of superiority. This is the very foundation of the colonial project, to dominate us for perpetuity. This is why we are still so entangled, why our world is still so divisive. We have not agreed on this very reality we share, and many want to pretend as if it isn’t so. But, the very work white people need to invest in during their lifetime is to identify all the liminal places where whiteness has abstracted reality and humanity. In fact, we all have to do this, we all have to learn how to remove ourselves from the tether of white supremacy.
This work is uncomfortable but it requires our engagement, meaning we just have to be uncomfortable through it, and accept it’s a steep learning curve. Truthfully, discomfort is a state most everyone who is not white probably feels often. I know I do. From birth, having to navigate the completely abhorrent structures we’ve all found ourselves in, we are thrust into a society not made for us where we have to try that much harder to be taken seriously, to be heard, to have a say, to have value. The work to undo this takes not only acknowledging, but it also means metabolizing what you learn so it becomes holistically felt in your actions, in your cellular structure, in how you treat and engage with the people around you. Resmaa Menakem writes about this so profoundly in My Grandmother’s Hands, how white people have a responsibility to unlearn racism spiritually, emotionally, psychically in order to actually do the work. But this takes time, it takes diligence, it takes knowing this is life’s work.
I’m never going to sugarcoat anything. It’s not my style. I’m a blunt bitch and it’s something I actually fought really hard to be. Nobody wants a femme person to be in her power, especially not a femme of color who attacks systems of oppression. I knew that writing Who Is Wellness For? would antagonize a lot of white people but I also believe, trust and have seen that those who are doing the real work can meet me there, and that’s who I want to talk to anyway. I’ve been MOVED by the responses of the white women who have reached out to me after reading WIWF and I’m so grateful. I know it’s uncomfortable to face that truth, but if you can do it, I’ll meet you there. And I’ll have a lot of respect for you if you can.
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