By Suzanne Broughel of the tART Collective
I am one of you. And we need to figure this out. Mia McKenzie delineates this in her article “How Can White Women Include Women of Color In Feminism” Is A Bad Question. Here’s Why. I don’t have all of the answers. This is ongoing work. But perfectionism can contribute to white silence, and I’d rather be imperfectly, receptively, vocally intersectional. Flavia Dzodan said it: “My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit”.
Here are some things we can do:
– Listen to women of color. Don’t expect them to educate you, but do read the vast resources they have already shared. tART, the collective that I am part of, is undertaking a year long reading series on race and feminism.
– Support the work of women of color. Donate to sites and organizations like Black Girl Dangerous, The Feminist Wire, Crunk Feminist Collective, and The Black Woman’s Blueprint. If you are unable to donate, spread the word.
– Acknowledge that you see color. Pretending that you “don’t see color” denies the very real oppressions people of color face. Acknowledge that, as a white person, you too are racialized.
– #SayHerName. Black women and girls are victims of police violence along with Black boys and men, but often get ignored. Participate in the #SayHerName campaign.
– Take a workshop such as Undoing Racism or What White People Can Do About Racism. We carry a lot of misunderstandings and misinformation about what racism is. Understanding its structural nature is key.
– Seek out other white people doing this work. Learn from them, and share what you learn with more white people. One place where white antiracist organizing happens is European Dissent meetings. European Dissent originated in New Orleans and has groups in New York City and Seattle. Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) organizes in Atlanta, New York, and nationwide. There are also more intimate spaces where you can challenge racism on a personal level. In New York City, Constructive White Conversations take place monthly (see item #10 in Dan Zanes article). *
– If there are no groups near you, think about starting a group, or bringing an Undoing Racism Workshop to an organization you are already part of. You could also attend the annual White Privilege Conference.
– If in-person meetings are not an option, there are still a lot of online sources for learning (and dialoguing via their social media communities). Here is a great compilation of online resources, and for purchasing books, check out this online bookstore.
– Follow leadership of color. PISAB and SURJ are part of multi-racial coalitions. This is important.
– Broaden your intersectional lens. I re-visited feminism because of my anti-racist education. Both introduced me to ableism. All of these have deepened my understanding of LGBTQIA and class oppressions. It will happen naturally if you are persistent on this path. Online writers like Son of Baldwin, the team at Everyday Feminism, and those mentioned above sped up the process for me and continue to teach me so much. Their online community of commenters are an integral part of this.
– Don’t run away from the discomfort. This is your “growing edge”. Growth is good.
* I am more familiar with organizing in New York than Atlanta, but a friend suggested the coalition of groups listed at the bottom of this article as another resource for people in Atlanta
Suzanne Broughel is a multi-disciplinary artist based in New York. In her work, she explores issues of race – particularly the construct of whiteness and its implications towards being a raced individual. She is a member of the tART Collective.