Early in 2017 I began to diversify the voices I follow on Facebook. (Yes, I should have done it sooner.) It started after reading posts and articles from women of color (WOC) who weren’t going to the Women’s March. Before this I hadn’t heard of the term “intersectional.” As I’ve acknowledged, I am a white, middle-class woman and my privilege allowed me to be shocked by the election results, saddened that so many white women voted for 45, and get as far in my life as January 2017 without ever asking if feminism was for ALL women.
Around the same time I read How to survive in intersectonal feminist spaces 101 posted by SAROFUL in SJW.
I am forever grateful for the time she took to write this piece (if you haven’t read it before – or even lately please, please do). As I am writing this I have realized I should have been able to figure out a lot of her recommendations based on the training I received during my nonprofit days about how to support survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Things like just listening without moving yourself into the center of the conversation, not saying “I know what you mean” and then going on to talk about your own experience, and giving advice without being asked for it. It had just never dawned on me to extend those basics of supportive listening to other spaces. Yes, I know, privilege.
This piece by SAROFUL is full of gems. But after some things I read online this weekend, I want to emphasize her point that when you, as a white person, decide to step into a space (online or in person) run by WOC for WOC you are going to be uncomfortable by some of what you read or hear. And your first instinct is going to be to relieve that discomfort by yelling, “Not me. Not this white woman. No, I am totally with you.” Our white ally discomfort is soooo unbearable that we want to be sure everyone knows that WE are not like THOSE white people. So first we interrupt with the “not me” and then we keep the focus on us by wanting people of color to confirm that they know WE are different. No wonder they are frustrated and tired of our shit.
Now, if you’ve come to this piece because of the tags “spirituality, divine feminine or Goddess”, this next part is specifically for you. If you have ever said, “I don’t do politics (or talk about any of the -isms) because that is a lower vibration” you need to stop and seriously think about what you are saying — especially if you are on a path with the Divine Feminine/Goddess. SHE is about inclusion, interconnection and LOVE (both fierce and compassionate). She is about partnership and cooperation. She IS the Circle where everyone is equal simply by their existence. And if we aren’t willing to be sure everyone is included in that Circle then what part of HER are we serving?
And please, please, please do NOT come to the table waiving your copy of the Law of Attraction or Rules for Manifestation or any other New Age stuff that puts the blame for the reality WOC live with on them. Not one of their ancestors attracted slave traders or colonialists to their lands of origin because of what the were thinking, anymore than Blacks attracted burning crosses onto their lawns or Civil Rights Workers attracted police dogs and firehoses by not following the rules for “manifesting their best lives.”
The Feminine is not rising just so that we can play with crystals, build pretty altars or wear flowers in our hair. She is rising to support us in our work to bring this world back into balance. That balance can only be achieved through equality for ALL. It is not easy work. In fact, it is messy work that requires getting some dirt under our fingernails and at times, leaves and debris in our hair instead of flowers. It requires that we do both inner work and outer work simultaneously. Waking up is not a destination. It is a continual process.
Not the work you signed up for? You can choose to take a different path. But, I hope you won’t. I hope you will sit with your discomfort and ignore the urge to run. I hope you will put the crystals and stones that protect you into your bra (or pocket or however you want to tote them along) and tuck the others away someplace safe. Like me, you will make mistakes and have moments of “Ugh, I should have known that” while you are stepping in it. But, I would rather step in it than never join the fight.
In service to HER.