White women, this post is for us.
After planning to attend the Women’s March on Washington, attending the march, and processing what happened at the march (and other marches across the world), I have decided that we, white women, are much like the apostles of Jesus.
After the death of Jesus, the apostles set out to expand his movement that proclaimed the prisoners would be set free and the blind would see. We can give the apostles credit for leaving their homes to march toward the unknown.
However, we can’t forget that the apostles were courageous part of the time, confused a lot of the time, and at many points, they distrusted the radical, upside-down path that Jesus forged for them.
The apostles made mistakes (especially that douchebag, Judas) and sometimes forgot that the movement was not about them
One of my favorite parts of the gospel of Matthew is when Jesus shouts to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” Jesus had just told his apostles that he would be betrayed, tortured, and killed. Peter, bless his heart, was distraught by the idea of Jesus’ death, so he proclaimed, “Never, Lord!” He wanted to help Jesus—to change Jesus’ fate—but he ended up offending Jesus by refusing to accept his personal truth.
White women, this is us.
This isn’t ALL of us ALL of the time, but if we can’t or won’t recognize that we are like Peter, then our wellintended actions toward people of color will consistently become microaggressions. When we only center our own narratives within the fight for justice, we can’t comprehend or accept the truth spoken by women of color.
Like Peter, we do and say things that we think are helpful. We do and say things that make sense from our perspective and within our contexts. By prioritizing our experiences and our desires, we further marginalize the needs and experiences of women of color.
I went to the Women’s March and I’m glad I did. I’m glad the Women’s March happened. It was a momentous occasion in the face of oppressive government. BUT, I want white women to hear why many women of color refused to march, were disappointed by the march, or were harmed by marchers.
Read this blog post by my friend Alicia about why she didn’t attend the march. Consider if your pink pussy hat represents the bodies of all who are female identified. Read this Facebook post by Lakeshia Robinson about the violence she encountered while trying to attend the march.
White women, the critiques and truths we hear from women of color do not negate our own struggles. We have faced misogyny and have been held down for most of our history. Now that many of us have marched, we must continue to resist the patriarchal systems that bind us.
But hear me when I proclaim that patriarchy and misogyny are bound up with white supremacy. To fully march toward freedom, we must stand behind and stand beside women of color. We MUST follow them, we must honor them, and we must listen to them and believe them when they speak truth about our aggressions.
Follow women of color on Facebook and Twitter. Read Roxane Gay, Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez, and Michelle Alexander. Listen to everything Angela Davis has ever said. Learn more about the women who started the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Pay more attention to Women’s March co-chairs Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, and Carmen Perez.
If listening to truth telling by women of color makes you feel uncomfortable or sad or guilty, sit in those feelings for a while and wrestle with them. I’m sure the disciples felt that way all the time.
Brittany lives in Charlottesville, VA with her wife Lindsay and their skeptical dog Eliza. She enjoys dancing, deconstructing destructive dominions of dominance, and alliterations. Above all else, Brittany tries to keep it real.