full text of LBs (5 Ways White Women Center Themselves in Conversations About Race) (658 words)
LBs = https://radical.town/@persephone/104866984360748609
src @ celisiastanton on instagram
(All this data is in the image descriptions - they're thorough and accurate - but they were truncated when they federated to my instance, so I figure they'll've been for others too.)
Five ways white women center themselves in conversations about race
I don't care whether you're crying because you feel attacked or crying because you feel guilty - either way, you need to stop. When you cry the natural focus shifts to you because many folks don't feel comfortable continuing a conversation with someone who is so visibly distraught.
You've created two scenarios: either I have to console you, or I have to put away the conversation. Neither is fair and both are to appease you - the white person who is not harmed and is actually *benefited* by racism.
2. Redirecting to your trauma
Trauma and mental illness are both very real and should be taken seriously. That said, conversations about racism are not the time and place to focus on the struggles you've been through in your life, nor are they sufficient excuses for not engaging in the intention work of anti-racism.
I always find these redirects ironic because *racism* is traumatic. Constantly dealing with *white fragility* is traumatic. By re-centering the conversation to be about you and your trauma you are contributing to the racial trauma of the person you're speaking to.
3. Bringing up times when you were a "good ally"
Please stop. You think we can't tell, but I promise you - we can. I don't want to hear about that one time when you stood up for a black person, I don't want to hear how inspiring the book you read last month was, and I certainly don't want to hear about that one friend you have who you noticed did something racist once.
I'm sorry you're just not going to be getting a biscuit for *any* of that. Save yourself some energy, girl! Quit the show. We'll know if you're a good ally if you show us with your actions. When you recenter yourself in this way it forces us to reassure you that you are in fact a "good person" and "not a racist". Exhausting.
This is something that Robin Diangelo discusses in her book White Fragility shaped by her learnings from Black folks. Stop talking about all the qualifications you have in this area. Having Black friends, living in a Black neighbourhood, getting a degree in ethnic studies, working in social justice, writing a book. I don't care how "official" the credential sounds. If you are white there are not enough credentials in the world to immunize you from racism.
This really builds off the last point because you are again centering yourself in a way that expects the person you're speaking to to validate your "credential" as sufficient credit to excuse you of your racism. Yet again, the conversation has become about you.
5. Apologizing for white people and expressing your guilt
Unless you are being called out for a specific harm *you caused* I'm not sure why you're apologizing. I certainly don't understand why you're apologizing for people other than yourself!! You can't do that. Often when I'm talking to white people about race I'm looking for active listening, for empathy, compassion and solidarity. Not apologies and not guilt. I can't do anything with your guilt.
When you recenter the conversation this way the person you're speaking with is forced to accept your apology or attempt to ease your guilt.
-- A final note
While this list was created from my, and other Black folks, experiences with white women, I think some of these items are also relevant to any of us in dialogue about oppressive systems that we benefit from: whether it be transphobia, colorism, xenophobia, or any other form of oppression, those of us who benefit from an oppressive system need to be aware of the way we show up in conversation with those of us who are harmed.
(The OP's photography business website is https://celisiastanton.com/ , Instagram is https://www.instagram.com/celisiastanton/ , and - we believe, we don't have an Instagram and it won't let us view it logged-out - https://www.instagram.com/p/CDRY_sqFa0u/ is the specific source with the post quoted above. This commentary on anti-blackness by white women is not our work, this is primarily Celisia Stanton's work, please support the people doing the work.)
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