We all have a stake in each other's liberation. Only by confronting our participation in the oppression of others can we all get free. For white women to be in true solidarity with People of Color, we need to
For centuries, violence has been done in the name of--and even physically enacted by—white women. We have continued to perpetuate white supremacy in a myriad of ways, even while working towards social change. We as educators, organizers, and creative change agents believe in examining historical context in conjunction with personal story-sharing to reveal how white supremacy shows up in our own behavior. Through vulnerable discussions about individual complicity, we empower attendees to disrupt white supremacy from within their own communities. We believe that white women can be better accomplices in the fight for freedom and are committed to helping them embody that change.
What is “White Womanhood”?
As white women, we simultaneously hold social and financial power as white people, while suffering under the confines of "womanhood." In this way we often enact harm while relieving ourselves of responsibility for our actions. We are viewed as objects to be defended (or violated) by our white male protectors. White men's presumed ownership of "pure" white women does not keep us safe - and it certainly does not free us from patriarchy. It reinforces it. The silencing of women's history has erased the ways in which we were (and are) active creators of the white supremacist system we live in today. We believe there are four main areas which we participate; Violence, Universalism, Post Racial Optimism, and White Saviorism.
How do white women participate in the oppression of people of color?
- Violence: "Protecting white women" is used as justification of violence against Men of Color. White women using this fear/protection to cause harm to Men of Color.
- Universalism: The assumption that white women's experience of womanhood is the universal experience of womanhood, ignoring the lived realities of Women of Color.
- Post-Racial Optimism: The habit of ignoring the oppression of People of Color in favor of elevating false narratives of equality
- White Saviorism: The assumption that a white person can single-handedly "fix" a Community of Color's problems without following the leadership of that community, often resulting in further damage to the community.
What does it mean to “Confront White Womanhood”?
White women feel our oppression under patriarchy so strongly that we often overlook our participation in the oppression of People of Color. It is time to be accountable for the harm we cause, however unintentional it may be. This means confronting ourselves and our communities in the ways we we support, organize and interact with People of Color.
THEORY OF CHANGE:
Reflection and accountability:
Educate white women on the historical context of white womanhood in the United States, and guiding white women towards locating their own behavior in that context to help them understand their role as perpetrators of harm.
Demonstrate to white women that white womanhood is a gilded cage—that it harms them in addition to harming People of Color—and imparting on white women their personal stake in dismantling systems of white supremacy.
Development of and training in behavior change strategies white women can apply in daily life.
Create a habit of sharing financial and labor based resources with People of Color led groups, with no expectations of outcome or credit.
*We do not believe in creating white-only spaces; all people are welcome to attend our workshops. However, they are designed for white women committed to being part of an intersectional feminist movement to unpack the ways they uphold and benefit from white supremacy. Any Person of Color interested in attending who may have questions, please reach out through our contact page.