Now is the time for white women to take a stand.
With everything going on in the world, a lot of white women are confused. I have talked to many of my friends about this, some of whom have been completely silent on the issue of race relations, even in the wake of the #BlackLivesMatter protests. Many of them have a lot to say on the subject, even if they worry that they aren’t saying the right things, while others feel like they don’t have a right to speak on it, or are afraid of being vilified or misunderstood.
Both of those are valid thoughts, because instead of speaking, right now white women should be listening. After we educate ourselves, we should examine our own biases, and then find a way to make a difference that helps the cause, without detracting from it.
Women had to fight for our rights, just like people of color, and the LGBTQA community. We are STILL fighting for body autonomy. We know what it is like to be marginalized, and treated like second class citizens. All we have to do is reach for the compassion that comes with knowing that feeling of being treated as ‘less than’.
Once we do that, it becomes very easy to sympathize with oppressed communities, get angry, and vow to make a difference.
My name is Karen. In this day and age, that comes with certain connotations. I don’t personally take offense to any ‘Karen-related- criticism, because the truth is that there is a whole subset of white women out there, who bask in the freedom and safety of their own white privilege, and use it as a weapon against people of color.
As white women, we are born with privilege. That doesn’t mean that no white women have difficult lives. At the most fundamental level, it just means that the color of our skin doesn’t make our lives harder.
Right now, it is the responsibility for white women everywhere to stand beside our brothers and sisters of color. We have to use our privilege to make change in the world, and that change starts within our own homes.
READ MORE: How to Be a Good Ally
Encourage discussions about racism with your friends. For people who have never experienced racism, it can seem like a mine field. Creating an open dialogue about it within your own friendship circles is a powerful step towards changing minds, and getting everyone to understand how deep this problem goes. Traditional housewives had book clubs, but I think now it’s time for guided discussions about social change, especially if you invite a diverse group of people who are willing and open to discuss such difficult topics.
Raise money for charitable causes. Charities are always in need of donations, so one of the ways you can make change is by donating, convincing your friends to donate, and even holding events to raise money for important causes. Here is a list of charities and causes directly related to #BlackLivesMatter
Examine your sphere of influence. Beyond donations and discussions, you might be surprised at how far your sphere of influence goes. Take a look at your own community, and brainstorms ways to make it more sensitive and inclusive. Examine your own sphere of influence to figure out if there are ways you can create change, even on a small scale. If there are instances of racism or bigotry within your own circles, speak up about it, because that is what allies are supposed to do.
Stand against racism within your own family. This one is a tricky one, because I know we have all heard the old adage: ‘Times were different back then’ to justify a racist family member rant. However, times have changed. The world is in flux. And no matter how old your family members are, there isn’t, nor has there ever been, any excuse for racism.
Make it clear and known that your family members are not allowed to make racist remarks around you, encourage them to stop making those remarks at all, and vow to remove yourself from any situation where racist remarks are tolerated or encouraged. Make your family members choose between their racism, and your company. And be completely at peace with their choice.
Take a public stand. Nothing we do as white women makes more of a difference than taking a public stand. Many people are afraid of this, because they think that this is an issue of black versus white. It is actually an issue of everyone, versus racism. Once you remove your own biases of white privilege you can see that we are not victims, and it is our duty as human beings to stand up for the actual victims.
For some, this involves standing between violent police and peaceful protestors. For others, it means making an internet video vowing to do better, and throw off the blinders of white privilege.
Regardless of what makes sense to you, I urge you to do something. Find some way to lend your support to oppressed communities of color.
Not only will it help move the conversation forward, but it will also create a strong example for your children.