A quick note: This is a response piece to a previously published article on white guilt. I am speaking on whiteness/white supremacy as an institution. If you know you’re a “good white ally” then this message isn’t aimed at you. Sit back and listen and try to learn something.
Skylar, sis, I read your article and went through a full spectrum of emotions. I then listened to Lemonade and went through the full cycle of grief: denial (she can’t be serious), anger (is she SERIOUS with this right now?), bargaining (I bet if I reached out to her, I could change her perspective), to acceptance (I guess…??). After that emotional roller coaster, I finally settled on one:
Translation: I’m not at all surprised that a white woman would feel this way, let alone write such a messy, tragic article for public consumption.
This article is, for lack of a better word, disgusting. News reports have been littered with hate crimes against people of color, LGBTQ, Jewish people, and Muslims and rather than be horrified and demand change, white guilt rears its bloated ugly head and places itself directly in the center to say that it is the victim. “I’m tired of having to constantly apologize for… being born white.” This is an actual sentence that someone thought out and typed. White guilt is essentially public masturbation: it is self-serving and nauseating to those who have the misfortune to be privy to it. In the wake of the election, it is clear that the white vote gave us President-Elect Trump. Whiteness created this Neo-Nazi movement, whiteness is cultivating it and allowing it to thrive without checks and balances, whiteness is looking the other way while hate crimes rise, whiteness elected the physical embodiment of white supremacy and now whiteness must fix it.
White women in particular face a sort of double consciousness; their whiteness grants them rights and privileges but their womanhood also negates it.
Perhaps this why they are able to hop in and out of being considered a minority (when it suits them, of course. I’d @ Taylor Swift but I don’t want to get sued). In this election, white women chose their whiteness over their femininity. In overwhelming numbers, they voted for Trump. I am not surprised, whether it’s Susan B Anthony or white female voters, white women in America have a history of demanding emotional labor from WOC and then turn around uphold the same values that keep them on a pedestal. Rather than examining their privilege and what they can do to help, they’ve played the victim. They feel silenced because for once in their life, they are not being praised or revered. Tony Morrison once asked “What are you without racism? Are you any good? Are you still strong? Still smart? Do you still like yourself?” And now that they have their answer, they are shaken. Their natural defense is play victim and quite frankly, I am not surprised.
Skylar, I get it: you’re not used to being “othered”. You’re not used to being broken down into a series of disjointed stereotypes or into a meme. You have always been the default standard of humanity. Now, despite you having Polish ancestry, your people have since assimilated under the umbrella of “whiteness” and reap the privileges that it gives.
What you need to understand is that we are angry; “we” being people of color, the LGBTQ community, Jewish, and Muslim people. Our ancestors gave their lives and blood in the hopes that we could progress. So that we wouldn’t have to suffer under the same conditions that they did. They marched, boycotted, physically fought for rights and were met by water cannons or actual bullets. Our progress has been two steps forward, one step back. Trump’s election was a giant leap backward and we are pissed off. You have to understand that. We are pissed and we no longer trust whiteness, not after the election results came back. Some of us will lash out. The difference between us and you, Skylar, is that once you log out from seeing your black friend post memes about white girls on the internet, you will go back to being on top of the totem pole. Yes, you may have your day-to-day problems and pain but I promise you that whiteness did not cause them. Your black friend, however, has to go about their day with the fear that they’ll become another hashtag because of Nazi attacks or the police. That being said, I’m so sorry about your hurt feelings. This must be a difficult time for you, what with you feeling sad and helpless due to your skin color.
On the night of the election, I had a dear friend in a southern red state message me and tell me that the Klan had ridden through her neighborhood like the good old days, so I am finished with white guilt and white allies. From what I have seen of them, they aim to gaslight, derail, and put their hurt feelings in the center of every narrative. That is what you did in your article, Skylar. I’ll trot out a Dr. Martin Luther King quote, “First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate… the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice… who constantly says ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action.'” That’s you, sis. Think of this and get out of your white feelings; there’s work to be done. You tried, Skylar. You really did.
An angry black woman