A Twitter encounter yesterday got me thinking about how most white women I encounter somehow demand that I be of service to them — and how this assumed privilege leads to the inherent mistrust black women have of white women.
Essentially, a white woman responded to a status I retweeted 3 weeks ago, and demanded to know how I felt about black people teaching white people how to twerk.
I retweeted a photo from someone else who took a screen shot of a magazine clipping that gave steps on how to twerk. This woman asked me how I felt, and I simply refused to engage with her (as a matter of mental wellbeing, I have a policy of not engaging with people who respond to tweets that are weeks, if not days, old; most people who do this are trolling for content and/or are trying to catch you in some sort of contradictory statement). I referred to her as a troll (I mean, who else responds to a tweet that’s 3 weeks old) and blocked her.
That didn’t stop this person from unleashing a rash of tweets railing against me and throwing a tantrum because I refused to deal with her foolishness. She actually made a series of tweets that revealed her true colors:
I should note those and another set of tweets that basically ridiculed me and another black woman on Twitter who refused to play the role of supporting actors in this and other white women’s drama on social media were deleted. In a nutshell, this woman got pissed off because she expected me to engage with her about the photo I retweeted and lost her shit because I wouldn’t.
The woman who went after me on Twitter yesterday felt it was my *duty* to pay attention to her and validate her ridiculous and racist question with an answer. And when she didn’t get her way, she went on a rampage accusing me and other black women of abusing and derailing white women who are just asking questions. My refusal to play her game is the reason why so many white women refuse to be allies with black and other women of color, she writes.
Yes, white women refuse to be allies because the big black bitches refuse to play nice. Not because of her basking in her white supremacy and her racist notion that I be on call to teach and explain to her everything there is to know about blackness…
All this got me thinking about privilege-denying, white supremacist-backing white women, and the tyranny they can cause when they don’t get their way. These women are like to have it both ways: sit upon their pedestal and look down with resentment upon people of color and, when it suits them, jump off their pedestal and claim that if we dismantle sexism, other forms of oppression will crumble. These same women will decry the persistence of sexism/misogyny/misogynoir, but deny they are complicit in white supremacist imperialist capitalist patriarchy that oppress people of color on a totally different level they can comprehend.
My experience has taught me that there are far too many white women out there who are more than happy to go along with the systemic oppression of people of color, particularly black women, when they have something to gain. My first experience in the tyranny of white women started when I was fresh out of college and working my first job in my career field.
This woman who was not really my superior, but managed the newsroom when the managing editor was not around, went to great lengths to create drama. She would routinely check my time card, read my work emails after I’d left the office, meet with me every morning and go over my “errors” (while making note how she had to stay so late to correct them) and accuse me of not wanting to work with her (because all black women have an attitude). This woman accused me of insubordination and pretty much sabotaged everyone she hated, particularly the people of color in the building, and created this notion that we all did not want to work with her and we had “problems” with her. I eventually got a better paying job and moved on while she stayed in the same position until she eventually got laid off (needless to say, her behavior caught up with her).
That and other abusive work-related situations pretty much made me hesitant to being friendly with white women in the work place. Not to mention the falling out in social settings over white women who expect me to go along with their racist sentiments, and accuse me of being angry and obstructionist when I don’t. Not to mention the white women who expect me to teach them how not to be racist pieces of shit and how they can learn to see people of color as humans, not tangible objects they can exploit and use as props in their causes. To this day, I only have one, maybe two, white women I consider actual friends. The situation on Twitter yesterday pretty much made me more steadfast in keeping my distance.
I write this because I am tired. I am tired of white women thinking and believing that I exist to serve them. That I exist as a way for them to explore the exotic without leaving the confines of their bubbles. I am tired of the hair questions, their resentful looks when a white guy actually shows more interest in me than them, the “oh, that’s weird” comment in their reaction to a white guy liking my afro, expecting me to be their on-call lecturer on all things race-related and demanding that I toss aside my well-being just to coddle and validate their feelings of being good white women who are dedicated to the cause of dismantling oppression.
I am tired of white women who devalue our autonomy and believe we should be grateful that they take time out of their day to ask us questions. I’m tired of white women acting like they deserve a fucking medal for showing women of color the basic dignity and humanity we’ve been marching and dying for for the past four centuries.
So, no. I won’t let you feel my hair and marvel at how soft it is. No, I won’t recede to the sidelines and serve as your sidekick while you scrounge around for white men to hook up with. No, I will not let your perplexing comments about how weird it is that a white guy likes my afro go unchecked. No, I will not validate your perceived superiority by giving you resentful looks whenever I see you out with a random black guy who is just as unappealing to me as you are. No, I will not wipe your white woman’s tears, hold your hand and assure you that the racist shit you said was not all that bad. No, I won’t stand in as your token black friend who you allude to when you’re accused of being racist. I won’t be your social justice football you can kick around when needed, and tossed back into the closet when you’re bored, ready to move onto the next cause or when it gets too hard to acknowledge and work on your white female privilege.
Black women don’t owe you shit, white women. You are not entitled to my time and attention just so I can go over basic oppression 101 with you whenever you’re feeling scholarly and want to learn how to be a decent person. Black women and other women of color are not obligated to cater to your privilege and serve as on-demand professors just because you’re too lazy to pick up a book. No, I don’t owe you shit.