The Ally's Burden

A Twitter encounter yesterday got me thinking about how most white women I encounter somehow demand that I be of service to them — and how this assumed privilege leads to the inherent mistrust black women have of white women.

Essentially, a white woman responded to a status I retweeted 3 weeks ago, and demanded to know how I felt about black people teaching white people how to twerk.

I retweeted a photo from someone else who took a screen shot of a magazine clipping that gave steps on how to twerk. This woman asked me how I felt, and I simply refused to engage with her (as a matter of mental wellbeing, I have a policy of not engaging with people who respond to tweets that are weeks, if not days, old; most people who do this are trolling for content and/or are trying to catch you in some sort of contradictory statement). I referred to her as a troll (I mean, who else responds to a tweet that’s 3 weeks old) and blocked her.

That didn’t stop this person from unleashing a rash of tweets railing against me and throwing a tantrum because I refused to deal with her foolishness. She actually made a series of tweets that revealed her true colors:



...All this got me thinking about privilege-denying, white supremacist-backing white women, and the tyranny they can cause when they don’t get their way. These women are like to have it both ways: sit upon their pedestal and look down with resentment upon people of color and, when it suits them, jump off their pedestal and claim that if we dismantle sexism, other forms of oppression will crumble. These same women will decry the persistence of sexism/misogyny/misogynoir, but deny they are complicit in white supremacist imperialist capitalist patriarchy that oppress people of color on a totally different level they can comprehend.

~ New Black Woman, "Black women don't owe you shit"
Here's the thing: I've never dug about the so-called "Alliance" and the so-called "Allies", because their "allegiance" always comes with a price.  They want your love, they want to call you "nigga", they want you to be their racial insurance - they always want something in return for simply masquerading as a decent human being.  I've said this before and I will said again and again: most white people are not part of the solution, and when I say "most" I'm generously referring to a good 95% - 99%. They are not necessary for the liberation of POC, they are not the path, the means, nor a prerequisite of any kind.  They are the very thing that's in the way.

That's why I have blogs like "The Black Girls Club" and "The Blasian Narrative", and even our dear Bar where the goal is not to obtain white support but to expose new ideas to POC so that we can educate and liberate our damn selves.  To me, counting and relying on white allies is a lot like waiting for someone who owes you a shit-ton of money from the last several years to show up at the last minute and pay your rent.  Yeah, um...good luck with that.

NBW's experience right here is a classic example of why I don't bother going out of my way just to get some white allies; hell, all my own damn skinfolk ain't exactly kinfolk, so why bother?  I don't even believe in the concept of "allies" - I believe you are either a decent human being or you are not.  You either do the right thing or you don't, and you don't look for some sort of social compensation/validation in the process.

Now, if y'all don't mind, we need to get back to our regularly scheduled programming.

*sips pink champagne*

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Comments

  1. "...you are either a decent human being or you are not. You either do the right thing or you don't, and you don't look for some sort of social compensation/validation in the process."

    --Yes!! Of late, the word "ally" makes me CRINGE and/or roll my eyes. The recent Tim Wise meltdown and encounters like New Black Woman's serve as prime examples of why I've allowed so-called white 'allies," especially white women, to get *too* comfy and cozy in the confines of my good graces.

    In many of my personal experiences, it's all fun, games, and Kumbaya, until you start setting and reinforcing boundaries and calling them out on their b.s. when they run afoul. I've also never been one for handing out 'passes' and 'ally cookies' to folks just because they've chosen (on a good day) to recognize my humanity and inalienable rights.

    Setting limits will always cause a so-called "ally" and friend to show their ass when you are adamant about not playing Abilene, spoon feeding them and mopping up their privileged tears.

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  2. I love how they expect detailed explanatios of why they should respect your humanity. They need evidence right? All those books, sociology departments, essays, and studies mean nothing. They need a detailed list and explanation from you of ever racist encounter you have ever had so they can personally analyze it and decide if it was really racism.

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  3. *sips long island* Yup, I don't need 'em either. They're a waste of energy. I would rather focus on my family and my sisters and brothers who already did the work to get here and survive. These people are fucking lazy and parasitic. They want to drain you of the will to fight back and divert your energy toward things that will never prosper. They are not the key to our freedom. People need to realize this. They have never been about us. It's been over 400 years. They don't plan to change. Best thing we could do is less them implode on themselves, b/c without us slaving for them that is what is going to happen. They have always been trying so hard to destroy us. But they can't. We will outlive them. And they know it and that's what scares them.

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  4. And she called it "abuse". Seriously..."abuse". Because NBW doesn't want to answer questions about twerking, it's "abuse."

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  5. I don't think it is even possible for white women to be allies to black women. The lives of black women and white women for the most part run counter to each other. For white women to be the most beautiful, black women must be the ugliest, for white women to be the most feminine, black women must be the most masculine, for white women to be pure and innocent, black women must be lascivious whores etc. The only way for a white woman to become a true ally is to come off the pedestal, call out the system that privileges her so much and become an equal to black women. Now I won't hold my breath because I don't think that will be happening anytime soon. But until the these "allies" can STFU.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Q: When was the last time a white person gave up their white privilege to be equal to blacks?

      A: Never.

      Delete
    2. Hence I'm not holding my breath or taking these "allies" seriously.

      Delete
  6. Expecting PoC to prove their humanity to you while, in response, guilt trip them into appreciating yours is the obvious sign of a horrible person. This woman is not as good as mommy and daddy told her. She is only out for her own exaltation at the expense of the emotions of black women whom she claimed to be an ally for.

    With allies like this, who needs adversaries?

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  7. I've discarded two white allies this week. I'm feeling pretty raw with my emotions as of the moment. Friend #1 is an elder and recently said something to me that was so insensitive. Why would you say that about the person I love, even if that person is toxic!? He is a Native man and has male privilege among other things however I know his life much more intimately that she does. Friend #2 start to play the oppression Olympics today. She was attacking me via text messages. At one point I decided to ignore and delete her texts. I was basically having the argument that there would not be a bourgeoisie Whole Foods on ANY RESERVATION COMMUNITY EVER. That Whole Foods decided to locate in downtown Detroit is great however it is not actually great for the people who live there. She lives in downtown Detroit so she is glad that is there since Detroit is considered a food desert in terms of access to foods and grocery stores. She knows my life inside and out however she was pointing to my privileges and kept saying she was poor, denying my economic poverty that I have lived through in most of my adult life. It was harsh so I'm going back to what my Dad said, "don't trust whitey." Goodbye white allies, deleted, discarded and tossed in the compost pile.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like they got comfortable.

      Delete
    2. They got comfortable not getting it or understanding oppression? Or saying what they wanted? Can you explain what you mean...

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    3. You know..."comfortable." Saying what they wanted because you and they were suuuuuuch good friends.

      Delete
  8. Okay, I see! I'm going to be very careful from this point forward.

    Both have struggled economically (poverty level) but even ex friend #2 makes a middle class income now and yes she has no car but she will be able to purchase one! I just couldn't believe what I was getting from her.

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  9. Most of my social circle is other PoC now. It's been that way since junior high and I don't see it changing anytime soon.

    I had this same problem but with a PoC friend of mine who, jumps back and forth between being white identified( she very obviously isn't but thinks that she can blend, she's a light skinned Pakistani) and also decrying white privilege and racism( when it happens to her that is). The expecting to serve is definitely there but I'm not sure where it comes from, her personality, her culture, or her upbringing(very economically privileged. And honestly I don't care but for the purposes of explanation I'd say its a combination of all three.

    I've downgraded the friendship but she's always inviting me out with her white boyfriend and his friends because she clearly doesn't like being the only token PoC, but when one of them said something offensive around me and I soundly put them in check, she tried to defend him( his friend, not the boyfriend). I told her she didn't know what she was talking about and I haven't been out with them since. She recently expressed a desire to reconnect with people in her community because, surprise of surprises, she feels marginalised/alienated hanging out with him and his friends all the time(something that I told her would happen). Even though she gladly ditched her brown and black friends and acquaintances to be with this white boyfriend and his social circle(who she hasn't known nearly as long and is starting to cool on.)

    I just downgraded the friendship. I made it clear that I wasn't going to be her babysitting best black friend, especially when she breaks her neck to defend white people at any given opportunity. With her I'm slightly tolerant because I know part of it is a maturity and experience thing. We're the same age but experience wise she's at a different place than I am. She's been raised to be somewhat spoiled by her parents who in turn abused her and made her have low self esteem and anxiety/depression. She also has little to no experience with people outside of her small ethnic community, no working experience or education so she's pretty naive. Which is somewhat forgivable because hopefully she'll learn better and quickly. But for someone so ignorant about even basic things outside the little bubble of privilege she grew up in, she tends to be very opinionated about things she knows nothing about.

    But brown people in GTA have this weird relationship with other PoC, particularly blacks. (This is all anecdotal but I've confirmed this many times with other black friend that interact with them.) Society still discriminates against them but even the darkest skinned ones get a "get out of black free card" socially speaking. So even though they aren't white they get privileges for not being black. So it's split down the middle with them. They can be really cool friends that get it and mostly hang with other PoC or they can be like tanner versions of white people with the way that they behave towards darker skinned people, ESPECIALLY the women: expecting you to help(serve) them all the time, disregarding your viewpoint and opinions(even when you're subsequently proven right and they had no knowledge or experience to argue with you in the first place but they still think you're wrong somehow.)

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    Replies
    1. YES this very true about other non-white women feeling they are above black women. I usually find I don't have any problem with brown men, but with brown women some very problematic behavior. My black female friends and I have had a number of experiences with Hispanic women ( el savadorian/central americans primarily however the puertoricans/Dominicans are ok) especially in the DC area. The ones who grow up here in the U.S are a little better, but the ones straight from their country really have an attitude.

      Delete
  10. Now that I think about it... most of my good PoC friends that are attuned to the social realities of oppression/privilege/racism all came from my class background( working class, lower middle class) or if they don't they know people who do. Although there are many notable exceptions. With the ones who don't "get it" I their economic privilege( and most have to have a certain degree of it to even immigrate to Canada in the first place, as the process is very costly, unless you know someone who will sponsor you, and the sponsor usually has to have the economic privilege to fund that sponsorship) tends to blind them to many things or they act like they don't see the same stuff their peers do, when it's convenient for them. This isn't true 100% of the time but it's so very common.

    ReplyDelete

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