Dear White Feminists,
I am tired of being your token. If and when I’m invited to your table I am either ignored or stripped of my integrity. You demand the world of me— thinking I can solve life’s biggest problems. Even if I do provide you with my ideas and opinions, do you even listen? Do you even care?
I have been socialized to be complacent and agreeable so that I can survive in the liberal white bubble that is my hometown. I was taught that these characteristics would give me access to higher education, a career, and respect. In the process, I lost myself and sacrificed my mental wellness.
I am tired of trusting you to do the right thing. I am tired of supporting you only to have you do or say something problematic almost immediately after I voice that support. You constantly try to make me choose between my race and gender as if I can separate those parts of my identity. From Lena Dunham not believing a Black woman survivor of sexual assault to white women uplifting and supporting the Kardashians for appropriating Black aesthetics and culture all while degrading Black women, white women continue to prove that solidarity is exclusively for them.
Dear white feminists, Black women have built this movement and you have co-opted it and excluded us. You’ve tried to silence us, take our spaces, and steal our magic. You use your tears and feelings as weapons to put us in our “place”. I am exhausted and weary, but I refuse to let you break me. Black women continue to do the work so that Black girls can be themselves unapologetically. White feminists, if you truly want liberation for all women, now is the time for you to dismantle the systems of oppression that you’ve helped build and maintain.
I refuse to fit into a mold that wasn’t built for me. I refuse to keep doing emotional labor for you without anything in return. I refuse to keep thinking there’s something wrong with me. My feminism does not make space for white women. I reject complacency and white supremacy in my journey towards liberation.
I wrote this piece after working at my predominantly white non-profit job for a few months and feeling exhausted and completely drained. I realized this feeling wasn’t just caused by the nature of my position, but also the additional and unrealistic expectations white women put on me at my job. A few weeks ago, I was yelled at by a white woman for not standing still while the national anthem played. Over the last few weeks, there have been many stories of white women calling the police on Black people for existing. Though this is nothing new, these events have inspired me to make this letter public.