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Ode to White Women from a White Woman

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Ode to White Women from a White Woman

by M. Brianna Stallings

Art by Jenn Solo

Art by Jenn Solo

Ode to White Women from a White Woman

(And Why I Shouldn't Have to be White to Get You to Listen)

Some helpful advice from someone who looks like you, ladies.

 

You do not get to advocate for trans-racialism.

You do not get to claim that reverse racism exists.

You do not get to whine about the perils of white/cisgender/heteronormative privilege.

You do not get to say that someone is “too [insert race here]” or “not [insert race here] enough.”

You do not get to get into pissing contests about whose struggles are harder: yours or those of everyone else.

You do not get to claim that you are colorblind as a way to shirk your responsibility to be a thoughtful evolving person.

You do not get to say that “some of my best friends are [insert race here]” when called on an obviously prejudicial statement or gesture.

 

You do not get to speak for women of color.

You do not get to dehumanize another person by describing them as “illegal.”

You do not get to assume that women of color are poorer or less educated than you.

You do not get to tell women of color what work they get to do or how they get to do it.

You do not get to assume that all white women come from the same class or educational backgrounds as you.

You do not get to treat people who do not look like you and do not live where you live as pet projects to bolster your charitable image.

You do not get to congratulate yourself for properly compensating the efforts of women of color in service to you because you “know how hard their people work.”

 

You do not get to use women of color as props.

You do not get to comment on beefs that have nothing to do with you.

You do not get to wear Native American headdresses to music festivals.

You do not get to collect cultural artifacts from a culture to which you do not belong because you think doing so makes you seem “worldly.”

You do not get to weigh in on cultural appropriation with equivocating statements about costuming and “done all in the name of fun.”

You do not get to get famous for stealing from queers, transfolk, and/or women of color, then denying them the validity and significance of their works.

You do not get to co-opt the slang or vernacular of a subculture, community, or racial identity to which you do not belong in an attempt to bolster your street cred.

 

You do not get to praise white female celebrities like Lena Dunham or Chelsea Handler without understanding how they are deeply problematic.

You do not get to understand how deeply problematic white female celebrities like Lena Dunham or Chelsea Handler are without turning that same type of scrutiny on yourselves.

 

You do not get to sexually objectify people of color.

You do not get to congratulate trans women for “passing.”

You are not automatically issued a gay black male best friend.

You do not get to ask transfolk about anything related to their anatomy, attire, or sexuality.

You do not get to transform gay bars and Pride events into your own personal bachelor party sites.

You do not get to define sexualities, sexual expression, or sexual identities for communities of which you are not a part.

 

You do not get to wear dreadlocks. Ever.

You do not get to dictate how Muslim women dress. Period.

You do not get to touch black women's hair. I cannot believe I even have to fucking tell some of you this.

 

You do not get to weight shame anyone.

You do not get to tell women of color how to raise their children.

You do not get to determine what constitutes reproductive freedom or justice.

You do not get to police the bodies of queers, transfolk, and/or women of color by adhering to a false belief that yours is the penultimate beauty/physicality in Western culture.

 

You do not get to tell people of color how to interact with the police.

You do not get to deny someone the validity of their voice because they have been incarcerated.

You do not get to assume that people of color who suffer from police violence have such experiences because they’ve “done something wrong.”

 

You do not get to determine accessibility to a space.

You do not get to base another person’s worth on their physical needs, mental health concerns, or level of functionality.

You do not get to deny someone the validity of their experiences simply because you were not there with them to witness those experiences as they were taking place.

 

You do not get to assume a voice of authority.

You do not get to say “not all white women.” Ever.

You do not get to pout or rationalize when you are called on your bullshit.

You do not get to reduce someone to one aspect of their identities and then wonder why they get furious at you for doing so.

You do not get to assume any concept of a “universal feminist struggle” and thereby nominate yourselves or others of your ilk as spokespersons for all of what you perceive to be womankind.

 

You do not get to pretend that there have not been countless other queers, transfolk. and/or people of color before or after me that have not, do not, or will not tell you the exact same damn thing as what I am saying right now.

You do not get to stop learning how to be a decent, receptive human being simply because you read this.