Being a Difficult Woman means challenging the status quo. For me, that comes from a place of self-approval, love and compassion. To understand myself more deeply and that includes recognizing the privilege I have based on the color of my skin. White privilege.
February is Black History Month which seems odd to me now. Black people have always been a major part of the history of the United States. Consider for a moment that there is no White History month – because the history we are taught is white and whitewashed.
I’m not knocking Black History Month. The more I learn and understand how racism and white privilege are in my DNA the more I recognize how this is killing not only Black, Brown and Indigenous people – it’s killing all of us.
I didn’t always understand this. Until not that long ago, I didn’t see whiteness as race. I do now, but that doesn’t erase the racism I was raised in that has seeped into my bones; the unconscious bias. To be white in this country is to be privileged.
Privilege isn’t about what you’ve gone through. It’s about what you haven’t had to go through.~ Janaya Khan
You may not agree…and I get it. Because you are a ‘good person’. You treat everyone the same. You have worked hard to get where you are. You’ve struggled. You weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth. You have one or more black or brown friends. Me too…to all of these things. This doesn’t absolve me or you from the harm done to Black, Brown and Indigenous bodies. We may not have created the systems…but we sustain and uphold them…mostly with our silence.
White privilege doesn’t mean you didn’t struggle or have to work hard to get ahead in life. It means that you are NOT systematically disadvantaged by the color of your skin.
If you ask me now if I am racist my answer is “yes”. It’s in the water I drink and the air I breathe. I am not racist in the sense that I want to do harm to people of color…or anyone for that matter. I am racist in the way I was raised not to see my own color as a race and understand how that permeates everything about life in this country. I’m willing to challenge my own limited perceptions however messily and imperfectly.
Dear White Woman – I challenge you to look at your own privilege and how white supremacy is built into your breakfast cereal, the media you consume, where you bank, and the clothes you wear. Racism is our problem. If you read White Women by Regina Jackson and Saira Rao, you may begin to see how it is a White women’s problem. How the very systems of white supremacy keep us, white women, striving for perfection and hating ourselves and each other so it is impossible for us to truly be in community with Black, Brown, and Indigenous sisters.
I invite you to read, listen, and learn more…and to do so with an open mind. This is an emotional journey, unpacking racism. One that takes courage and grit. When I first started this discovery I felt sad, disheartened, angry and really defensive at times – “not me”! When you feel triggered, and you will, by the words you read, what you see and hear, lean in with a tender heart and curiosity.
There are so many wonderful resources to choose from and so much history to learn that has either been whitewashed or completely obliterated from our education and therefore our lives because that too is steeped in white supremacy. These are a few resources that have deepened my understanding of white supremacy and opened my eyes and heart around racism and privilege. If you have others, I’d love it if you would share them. You can join the conversation in my Facebook community – A Difficult Woman Collective.
Books: White Women – Regina Jackson/Saira Rao; White Fragility / Robin DiAngelo; Mindful of Race / Ruth King; My Grandmother’s Hands / Resmaa Menakem
Documentaries: All of these are or were on Netflix: 13th; Who We Are – A chronicle of racism; Civil – Ben Crump; Amend. I Am Not Your Negro on Youtube
Movies: Just Mercy
NOW ACCEPTING 1-1 CLIENTS: I work with women ready to reclaim their ‘difficult’ nature, free themselves from perfectionism and the need for approval so they can create more of what they want in their lives and in the world. If this is you…book a complimentary call with me.