Memo to White Women in the USA
While the iron is still hot, I have a few things to say.
Yesterday I watched most of Dr. Ford’s and Judge Kavanaugh’s testimonies before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Like Dr. Anita Hill years ago, Dr. Christine Ford stepped up to the microphone and told her truth. I couldn’t help thinking about my experience giving my ‘testimony’ before my father and my mother. Then, as now, it didn’t seem to end well.
Nonetheless, as white women, we have work to do with each other and with men and other women of good will. However, we must immediately consider NOT doing at least one or more of the following:
- covering for white men who abuse us to our faces and behind our backs
- believing lies about ourselves as incapable, weak, over-emotional or intruders
- endorsing candidates for political office because it will keep the family ‘peace’
- playing our childish popularity playground games
- settling for lives put on hold until it’s too late
- looking the other way or shading the truth to protect ourselves
- going along to get along in politically or emotionally charged situations
Instead, we might try one of these instead:
- Pick up the phone and dial 911 for ourselves, not just for others
- Begin describing what life is and is not like for us as white women in the USA
- Consider who really benefits from our white male loyalty
- Speak for ourselves, especially when we hope someone else will say it first
- Refuse to go along to get along in politically or emotionally charged situations
I wonder why, in this age of so-called ‘liberation’, many white women in the USA are still in bondage to the need for White Male Approval? What do we fear? Perhaps we’re so hooked on the power and prestige we get standing by our man that we can’t even imagine living without them.
The demographics of our country have changed dramatically, yet we’re still governed at the highest levels by a huge majority of white men, with occasional token ‘others’ that include white women.
I wonder what might happen if more of us step up to the microphone and begin telling the truth about our white female lives? Or, even more miraculous, when more white men in positions of power begin listening to white women, black women, tan women, mixed-race women, Jewish women, Muslim women, refugee women, little girls and big girls, teenage women and elderly women. To name just a few possibilities.
I don’t think most men know what they’re missing. More’s the pity, since women have things that need to be both said AND heard. Not with a dismissive nod or a patronizing pat on the back, but with resolve to become partners in change for the good of this country and those who inherit the messes we’ve made.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 28 September 2018