“Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul.”
Coretta Scott King
The day after America changed for the second time in 73 days with the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, I assembled in Washington D.C. to participate in the largest mass mobilization in US history — The Women’s March on Washington. The March was strategically planned to butt the start of the 45th presidency. This movement of collective action, knitted together by yarns of informal networks powered the wattage of our wired voices, to affirm our shared humanity and pronounce our bold message of resistance and self-determination. This display of sisterhood spawned the globe to 60 countries and seven continents.
“There would be no future peace for me if I kept silent”
White Women Observations
The canvas of 1 million women mobilized in D.C. saw white women decorated with pink pussy hats. The hats exhibited a powerful public-facing symbol of unity. Not surprising to this uprising was the absence of color. Women of Color (WOC) did not saturate the imagery of the March. One reason for their absenteeism points to Election Day data where 94 percent of black women and 68 percent of Hispanic women voted for Clinton as compared to 53 percent of white women voted for Trump.
“White Women Sold Out the Sisterhood and the World by Voting for Trump.”
WOC descended on the scene to handle the national business of the day on 8 November 2016. Poised in the resistance’s greatest hits, WOC voted for the first majority nominated woman presidential candidate only to be darkened by the red party traffic pattern of racial and gender bias voting. This voting behavior is seen not only in presidential elections but also in state and local elections across the nation.
“If you want to know if you are going the right way, follow women of color”
Digging Deeper – The Black Woman and White Woman Dichotomy
The messiness of US history, buried monsters and commoners alike, to subtract from the unequal past where the U.S.A. was handmade to oppress and limit inheritance to black and brown communities to enrich white families. This structure created a social order that benefits whiteness and fortifies the apparatus of racial, ethnic and religious discrimination. Data reported in 2013 reveals Black women are the most educated group in America, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. College-educated black women read the most books according to Pew Research. Paradoxically, white women earn 82%, as compared to black women earning 65% of the wage earnings of white men. Affirmative action policies are disproportionately beneficial to white women, too.
“In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be antiracist.”
To compound this narrative, our school’s blackboards have erased our uneasy history, contributing to a user-friendly version of our country’s ancestry. This co-opted truth has been passed down from generation to generation and lives vibrantly in our communities as the historical white truth. This white-wash version of historical facts has anchored a divide that undergirds the normative oppressive systems of position and privilege over racial inclusion and economic equality. This containment and control of historical misinformation hide our collective humanity from one another. The white franchise keeps intact the false black imagery that reproduces a narrative not befitting to a Queen. The sum total of black existence is packaged and assorted to redress white guilt. Anecdotally, some white individuals deny racism exists in 2017.
Sadly, the belief in whiteness and white superiority crowds the thinking of a reimagined American story. It’s time for truth-telling and courageous acts of participation.
Ten Commandments of Resistance
“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”
J. K. Rowling
Democracy is a daily demonstrative process. The Ten Commandments of Resistance is a guideline for daily living.
- Read history not taught in schools. Read black, brown and indigenous people history.
- Reconciliation is required to avoid repeating historical patterns. Understanding suspends bias and judgment against black and brown people.
- Reframe your thinking to include compassion and care for individuals that have a different historical experience than your ancestors. The plight of black and brown people remains in contemporary times.
- Reach-out to form new relationships across communities to nurture your empathy and deepen your humanity.
- Reprogram your allegiance to include families and folks outside your tribal group. If your concern is only for your white babies and not my black and brown babies, we are all doomed. Our collective existence is interconnected. We need each other to survive.
- Recheck your privilege. It is unconscious and constantly working to your advantage and my disadvantage. My blackness is equally as deserving as your whiteness.
- Raise your voice in your families and in your communities against bias behavior towards black and brown people. Your courageous acts of protest in your love circles are critical for a cultural change.
- Remain or become involved in social justice work and economic expansion work for black and brown communities. Focusing on the lowest of society will raise the tide for all.
- Refrain from excessive media indigestion, sideline commentary, and observational critique. The goal of resistance is to implement change and renew America’s promise through our individual and collective actions.
- Recognize you have the power to create change. Do not underestimate the power of small actions. Perform small actions and share your actions within your love circles – on and off-line.
Repeat the Ten Commandants of Resistance until all can rejoice.
Once or twice in every generation, a line is crossed so egregiously that where you stood on the issue will forever define you.
Take My Out-Stretched Hand
My labored history,
Shamefully supplied economic expansion for white abundance
My black body is America’s citizenry encumbrance
Your eyes turn the corner at the declaration of your blood-stained wealth
Camouflaged the past to absolve it from the abnormal conditions of the Commonwealth
Constructing me out of sequences from unread history
Paralyzing the misinformed in the deformity of conformity
This lack of knowledge of my human heart
Reduces us to unequal characters and not counterparts
The packaging of your history are sold on shelves
This demand is supplied with white sales of yourselves
You cloak me in anger to defend your fragility
Mass-produced the slogan ‘Angry Black Women’ because you feared my fertility
Media covers you in black dresses of elegance
And, Black women wear black skin draped in irrelevance
You gloss over my humanity with chapped notions of superiority
The scarcity of self creates fictional characters of inferiority
Chest puffed out, wearing your moral code of non-racist
This is not enough given the historical traces
Activate your morality against the establishment
Make it clear racism is in need of banishment
Take my out-stretched hand
Let’s band, stand and demand freedom for me in this land
Dueling oppressive norms,
Recruiting disinterested and uninterested to fight fairness for us, all
Your interest in my freedom is fundamental to break down the walls.
Join me in the resistance.
Please read my other written work.
I adore you for reading my writing,