Kitanya Responds to Comments — 22

One thing that’s bothering me about White Feminism is being told to “get angry.” I’ve been angry for a long time. I carried the burden of that anger alone. Ironically, I find white women to be among those who are most uncomfortable with my expressions of anger.

After reading your article I see the irony in white women telling people to “get angry” about inequality. (Just one irony among many.)

I don’t even know where to start or how to self-define anymore. As a child of the 60’s who celebrated Roe v. Wade, bowed down to the wisdom of MLK, and helped build mini shanty towns in protest of apartheid, I had this crazy idealistic dream that (most) people are inherently good — and that understanding one’s own pain would make them sympathetic to others’. Atheist though I am, I thought most Americans really bought into this “love thy neighbor” and those other commandments. I thought most people cared about people. I feel stupid.

The truth is, feminists who are white (vs. “white feminists”) are a mixed bag, as is any group of any size. I was pleased to participate in my local women’s march the past couple of years because women of color helped lead and organize, were well represented, and many of us marched together (vs. simply side by side). Yet the truth is also everything you said, and it is far too prevalent. I watched numerous white women duke it out during the march plans, over who was the bigger ally and how the march could best support our “friends of color” — instead of asking them to simply tell us.

We (feminists who are white, not white feminists, and really all good-hearted Americans) absolutely have so much we could learn from you, and by following people of color. The best event I’ve had the good fortune to participate in is the Moral March, led by the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II and the NAACP here in Raleigh, where I see so many causes supported by a rainbow of supporters.

There should be a Moral March in every city where there’s a Women’s March, and then some. This isn’t just a good thing, but a necessary thing. Right now our country is at a crossroads where evil is out in the open, out-right condoned, and we need all good people from all backgrounds to come together, support each other, learn from the many lessons that the more oppressed people have gathered over the centuries, and yes — follow the lead of those who have the most experience eliciting change. Like it or not, none of us has a demographic majority and so we need each other.

But then, we should have figured that out years ago and we clearly haven’t. Maybe there aren’t enough good people. How do you even find them? “Liberal” is rapidly being equated with hypocritical, a lot of progressives were too self-centered to vote when they didn’t get their candidate, and yes — you’re absolutely right — we whites tend to be recalcitrant children when we’re not given the reins. White women are as suspect as white men. So how do we find good people? How do we get them to be even better? How do we develop trust? How do we make people care about people and not just power?

Sadly, I’m at a loss.

Side note, I was off the grid last weekend but as a Carolina fan I was thrilled that Eric Reid had joined the team and happy to hear that he took a knee; hopefully this other thing will die a quick death? I hadn’t heard about it elsewhere.

In utmost sincerity I want to say thank you for writing this. And I have to admit that I, too promoted and co-opted the Take a Knee sentiment without even thinking about its implications and was swiftly corrected. I have much work to do and that includes continuing to learn from those who know more than I do about how best to be an ally.

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