At the protest for justice for George Floyd

symmetry
Posted May 30, 2020 from United States

At the protest this evening for justice for George Floyd and an end to police violence against black people, so many speakers shared such raw, deep emotional stories of the trauma and the violence they have suffered at the hands of the police….black teachers talked about the racism they see exhibited by very young children – which is because they learned it at home…..and one man raised a really important point about privilege: he pointed out to all the white women in the crowd that much of the violence perpetrated by white men against black men in this country is and has been done in the name of protecting white women. That if something happens to a white woman, twenty white men from all around are gonna turn up to “protect” her.

And that just struck me, as a white woman in this country, that this is one of those invisible, unspoken privileges that I have enjoyed all my life and never really thought about. But it’s true. That is the history of this country, and it is the current reality. All these older white men in my life growing up in the US, looking at me patronizingly, giving me silent cues that they are somehow ‘on my side’. And I think about when I was biking around the country, through these little white towns where maybe one or two black families might live... how I was able to feel safe doing that, feel like I could bike all over the country with no worries. Because of my white privilege. And imagine how quickly the white people of one of those small little towns would turn on their local black family if I, an out of town white girl, had made some claim that a boy in that black family had raped me. Imagine this reality that exists in the US – that they could live side by side with people for years, but if an anonymous white woman had come into town and claimed something like that – I guarantee in almost every place, the white people of that town would turn against that black family. That’s how white racism works.

Virtually every lynching carried out by a mob of white men in the US was done in response to some white woman claiming a black guy had transgressed in some way against her. That poor child Emmett Till was beaten to death, his body horribly disfigured, for allegedly whistling at a white woman. And so many, many others whose names I do not know…...and now the brutal march of hashtags, one after another, #TrayvonMartin #MichaelBrown #EricGarner #AhmaudArbery and now #GeorgeFloyd, an army of black men marching into death at the hands of white men for the ‘crime’ of being ‘uppity’, of ‘not knowing their place’, the ‘crime’ of making these white men feel afraid simply for being who they were: black men.

And why are white men so afraid of black men? Why so jumpy? Why so paranoid and quick to shoot? Because in their blood, these white men know that they have wronged these black men. That if black people ever sought justice for how badly they have been wronged by this country and continue to be wronged by this country, then that justice will be coming for them.

We are our ancestors, white people. Do not forget that it was just six generations (that is, our grandparents’ grandparents) ago that black people were enslaved, deprived of freedom, treated as property, shackled in chains and forced to labor in the most despicable conditions. And the lynchings of black men by white mobs were even much more recent than that. And remember something else, when we talk about white men engaging in horrific violence against black men to protect the supposed sanctity and purity of white women, many of these same white men engaged in horrific violence against black women. Enslaving them, raping them, ripping them from their babies. These men who claimed to care about women and protect them were somehow able to disassociate "their" women, the ones with paler skin, who they pledged to protect, from their darker-shaded sisters, who they thought of as their property.

Only a true sisterhood of black and white women can break this cycle of systemic violence in this country. Our black sisters continue to be brutalized, stereotyped, attacked, disappeared, sold into sex slavery, locked into economic hardship and deprived of their sons and brothers and boyfriends and husbands who get killed and locked up at unconscionable rates. Only when we, white women, stand in solidarity with our black sisters and follow their lead can we truly break the hegemony of white supremacy in this country. Only then can we break down the ‘good old boys’ fraternity of white men in power. Only then can we truly break the chains of the legacy of slavery that continue to hold this country hostage.

Comments 11

Log in or register to post comments
Dawn Arteaga
May 30
May 30

Thank you for sharing this powerful post. It spoke to my heart. I am with you. I recently read Ain’t I a Woman by bell hooks and it brought me a similar epiphany - as well as a lot of rage that after living for 39 years with this blanket of white privilege I was reading that book for the first time. Every high schooler in America should be required to read it, process it with peers and take action as a result. So glad you shared your experience - thank you!

JULITON
May 31
May 31

Your right,

Tamarack Verrall
Jun 01
Jun 01

I am with you too and thank you for laying it out clearly. "Only a true sisterhood...Only when we, white women, stand in solidarity with our black sisters and follow their lead can we truly break the hegemony of white supremacy". This means real action to end racism and white privilege.

Hello, Symmetry,

Welcome to World Pulse!

I don’t belong to the white or black race because my skin is brown. But I am aware of the racism that is happening in the US, not just for the Black community, but also for the Asian community.

Thank you for speaking up. Your powerful message moved me to tears. We stand with you. Keep raising your voice high, let it be louder. Let us break this cycle so we can heal the wounds that has been passed on from many generations.

Thank you so much! Welcome again to our growing sisterhood!

jessg411
Jun 03
Jun 03

Thanks for sharing. Agree that things need to change and it breaks my heart that we are still dealing with this in the 21st century. We need to do better.

Tola Makinde
Jun 05
Jun 05

Welcome to World Pulse, the same colour of blood is red. The sooner we get this right, the better our world would become.
Thanks for sharing

Chi8629
Jun 07
Jun 07

Thank you for sharing.

Oluwatoyin Olabisi
Jun 07
Jun 07

Breaking White Hegemony and stereotypes is the strategy. You said it just the way it is.I just followed you,please follow back.

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi

Thank you so much for sharing. I totally feel you . White supremacy has to end otherwise more black people will lose their lives. The white women need to show their solidarity with the black women because as women they are stronger and can break the chains of the white supremacy.
I am with you.

Laetitia Shindano
Jun 12
Jun 12

Merci chère pour cet appel à l'Union des femmes et des hommes pour mettre fin à la discrimination raciale dans votre pays.

Laetitia

iam_mrsfletcher
Jul 05
Jul 05

Thank you for sharing