Taboo Topic: White Fragility
#5 in a series of 8
“Being privileged doesn’t mean that you are always wrong and people without privilege are always right. It means that there is a good chance you are missing a few very important pieces of the puzzle.” ~Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race
There is something I want to call out. White woman to white woman.
There is a phenomenon I noticed emerge between white women, during the summer of 2020. I call it being “white fragilitied,” It is when a white woman decides to be a “good ally” for people of color and instead of focusing on her own inner racism, she focuses on sniffing out racism in other white women.
Before sharing more, I want to make a distinction. I am not talking about things like the Central Park “incident” when a white woman called the police, falsely accusing a black man of harming her when he asked her to move her dog out of a designated bird watching area of the park. He was not harming her. She lied to the police. In that kind of “incident,” take out your cell phone, record what is happening, wait for the police to arrive and be a good ally by speaking up and using your white privilege to support an innocent man. Also, use it when you notice a black person waiting in line at the deli and the cashier is serving white people first and ignoring the black person. There are numerous ways to be a good ally. Stay alert and use your voice.
I am talking about something else. It is when a white woman wants to be seen as, “a good person,” and tries to prove she is not a racist by pointing her finger at other white women.
Leslie Jones recorded a short video to illuminate white people about racism. She said, “Racism is a Spectrum.” There is a range from extreme racism to medium to light to unconscious bias. As the song from the Broadway show Avenue Q shows us, “Everyone’s a little bit racist.” Just admit it, get out the shovel and do your own inner work.
In Good White Racist: Confronting Your Role in Racial Injustice, author Kelly Connelly writes: “It is imperative that white people self-educate. We can no longer go through the world blissfully unaware of our inherent racism, insisting all the while on our goodness. This is to our detriment and…