(Not all photos were taken by me. Pictures at the bottom of this post, I did that to force you to read the entire thing. Don't scroll past all this.)
The Women's March is complete and now the work continues. Over 5 million marchers worldwide, over 1.3 million in DC alone, this is the largest mass mobilization in world history. Obviously this is the largest thing I have ever been able to be apart of organizing. I am beyond proud of us and the work and the turn out. I want us to feel all of the good parts that came from this. I will write about how Inspired i feel soon. But I want to talk about something else first. I want to discuss this problem now so that I can let go of it and get back to feeling this high and prepare to do more work.
Many Black women opted out of participating in the march. They felt that they didn't want to be apart of a mass mobilization of white women. Although this march and the organizers behind it are diverse in every way including race, sexual orientation, gender, class, ability, and language, this march still created a mass calling in of white women that should have already came in long ago. However, they came now which is great on one hand but on the other.... now many white women are judging Black women for not showing up to this march in full force.
Women of color have already been showing up in full force for every movement. We show up and carry the movement only to get left out of the movement. Black women have already been giving white America reasons to show up and many did not listen until they felt like they were under threat as well. That is a massive privilege.
Women of color and other marginalized people couldn't turn away from any of these issues because it affects everything we do. It's the same reason that 94% of Black women tried to save the world and voted for Hillary Clinton. We voted for her despite her calling our children Super Predators. We voted for her despite her supporting a bill that gets us and our family members thrown into jail at higher rates. We always try to save everyone but instead get left behind ourselves. We get walked on, we have glass ceilings shattered over our heads by white women constantly. They shatter glass ceilings and say that that is in the advancement of ALL women but the women of color are left to clean up all the shards of glass.
This time some Black women choose not to show up with a bunch of white women that they don't trust. We always show up.
These particular white women attacking Black women verbally online, may not have voted for hate and bigotry themselves but they knew people who did and most didn't try to convince them otherwise because they were not personally affected by it.
Many of these white marchers are the same ones that wouldn't listen to us speak about how Hillary Clinton makes us feel unsafe and therefore didn't do enough to force her to be better. Many of these white marchers are the ones that have turned away when they saw someone being racially discriminated against. Many white marchers have also been the ones who talk over us and down play our oppression. I have seen comment after white comment of white women judging Black women on their posts, for not attending the march. I see white women quoting Martin Luther King as a way to shame women of color. MLK's vision of unity does not mean that white people can force Black people to do things or that white women get to drain the Black wells of knowledge even further. White women demanding that Black women further explain why they feel unsafe around the most privileged among us is the root of the problem. Black women being required to create the unity among white supremacy is the root of the problem.
So what now? We've organized and we've mobilized, what comes next? Well there's a shit ton of work ahead of us and this is work that needed to happen regardless of who won the election.
Remember that, get it in your head. This system is broken. It ALWAYS needed to be fixed.
It's time to unlearn, acknowledge, and do better. Here's some things to remember:
- It is your job to unlearn your worst thought patterns. You will never be finished unlearning. You need to be open to the idea that you don't know everything because everyone has growth left to do. The best way to accomplish this is to listen and not to always talk.
- Acknowledge that you have privilege, everyone has a form of privilege. It's not about being ashamed of it, it's about using it for good because we need it to fuel change. This does not mean you are not oppressed in other ways. I wish I didn't have to keep repeating myself with that statement.
- Acknowledge that this is not about who was elected this is about the systems that elected him. If he wasn't here the systems still wouldn't work properly because as long as this system is shackling some of us it is shackling all of us.
- Acknowledge that as a white woman you don't get to judge Black women for not coming to support you because white women collectively do not support Black women. Over 53% of white women voted against their own best interests, over 53% of white women voted for racism.
This means white women do not even have time in their social calendars to find anything wrong with what Black women are doing, including Black women not attending the Women's March, because white women need to clean house. Black women put the interests of women's rights, LGBTQ+ rights, global warming, differently abled rights, immigrant rights, etc at the forefront and voted for the best option in a box called "the lesser of two evils". More than half of the white female voter population voted against all of those things.
We have watched white women who have never been involved in activism before, cry over this 5 million+ mobilization, and i want to celebrate with them all but I still remember that it hurts us that they weren't crying as Black bodies were shot dead on the streets and Black women were raped and killed by officers sworn to protect the people. There were no tears a few years ago, as Black girls were thrown around class rooms and public swimming pools for an entire summer, getting their arms and jaws broken by officers meant to "protect".
There was silence.
These little Black girls lives don't seem to matter nearly as much as Trump saying he would grab a white women's pussy.
Korryn Gaines being shot while holding her 5-year-old son didn't seem to be included in many white fems definition of Women's Rights.
Proving to republicans that we shouldn't keep talking about Hillary Clintons emails could warrant thousands and thousands of posts, tweets, and articles but Sandra Bland getting killed by a cop for failure to use a blinker on the highway didn't bring in the same demand.
Recognize the privilege in all of this. In the fact that indigenous women have been going missing for centuries and they have been screaming for help yet the white population remains silent. Recognize the fact that in 2016, 26 trans people of color were murdered for being trans and for being of color and most white people didn't speak on that. Recognize that the number 26 doesn't speak for the ones who were killed for being trans but their families didn't label them as the gender they are. Recognize that the number 26 doesn't speak for the trans people who were killed but their death wasn't ruled as a hate crime. Recognize that the number 26 doesn't speak for the trans people who have been assaulted but not killed for being trans, and that those assaults are even higher for someone who is of color and trans or differently abled and trans or all of the above.
White women haven't been doing very much that wasn't convenient for them since even before they could easily force Black enslaved women to breastfeed their own white children.
So when we ask you, white people, if you're in this with us, we don't just mean that you need to show up at rallies. We mean that you need to show up entirely. What are you willing to risk to fight in the revolution? If the new president creates a Muslim registry and we tell you that we ALL must register as Muslim to flood the system are you also willing to risk jail time for lying on a federal document? If you say you will come to a march for people of color, are you willing to put your bodies in the revolution when a cop gets out of line with your sister or brothers of color? When more states than Dakota, Flint, Chicago, the Bronx, etc experience environmental racism in the form of water pollution and other things, are you willing to physically (more than just Tweeting) fight in the struggle with them as they defend their right to clean water? Will you be standing there with them as rubber bullets and concussion grenades are thrown at all who defend water?
How far are you willing to go in the struggle white people? If your activism doesn't go past tweets and instagram reposts than that isn't being 'down' for the struggle. But if that is as far as you wish to go....well you better blow that shit up and virtually support the work being done in the ground. But do not be surprised when people of color say they don't trust you or call your activism white washed and fake because it has to many limits. Marginalized people have been putting their bodies on their line to protect rights.
I understand that by saying all this to you, many white "allies" that do put in work will rebuttal what I am saying by responding: "well I'm not like this!" But what you should be doing is reading this post and saying "How can I be better?" Black women are tired. Women of color in general are tired. I am tired as well but I have taken on the job of educating. I made that choice. However that is not the job of women of color. We are not required to be a shoulder for white women to lean on after how we have been oppressed by them. We are not required to show up in spaces where white women will be. We are not required to educate white women. And we are not required to trust white women when white women have repeatedly, for CENTURIES, proved themselves untrustworthy.
White women have work to do. White men have work to do. So decide if you're gonna do it or not. Then be up front about it. That's all you should be worried about.
Another stereotypically angry Black woman who voted for Hillary Clinton and who marched with you.