Quite a few Black and brown women have recently asked me how they can help their white women friends understand white privilege, in the hopes that they'll start their anti-racism journey. In the hopes that their white women friends can become trustworthy.
Here's what I've learned: whiteness is the most powerful drug on the planet. And if you, yourself, don't want to wean yourself off of whiteness, it can't and won't happen.
You have to not just want to wean yourself, you have to *desperately* want to wean yourself.
I was a white feminist until 2016. I was deeply self-loathing and internally oppressed. Nearly all my closest friends were white women. These women were in my wedding, and I in theirs. They cradled me when I wept for my dead mother. They would have done anything for me.
EXCEPT GIVE UP WHITENESS.
I spent one full year meeting them for coffee, drinks, lunch, dinner. I sent them articles. I wrote articles. I sent them those. Rather than show an interest in awakening, nearly ALL of them, dumped me.
Dumping has involved a pinch of ghosting, a dash of "I'm really worried about you, WE are really worried about you." It's involved leaving me and my family out of group plans - and pretending it was an accident.
It's involved leaving me out of group plans - and not pretending it was an accident. Some of these women weren't really even friends before, but have bonded over their mutual disdain for me and my "craziness."
They've bonded around WHITENESS.
This is no different than the KKK. Instead of robes, they coalesce around brunch, weddings, spin classes.
I no longer harbor anger towards them. I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me sad from time to time, because it does.
But the overarching feelings I have are (a) UNDERSTANDING. Understanding how they are all just reading from their Whiteness Script. A script they received before they were born and (b) FEAR.
Fear that if the intense love they had for me and my family wasn't enough to reflect on their own white supremacy, what hope do we have.
Those who love us still love whiteness more. By a long shot.
The most powerful drug on the planet.
As for that advice: save your time, save your energy, save your heart. Until and unless they themselves want to eradicate the toxic whiteness embedded in their DNA, it'll never happen and you'll be crushed trying.
You can follow @sairasameerarao.
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