White fragility is a phrase coined by author Dr. Robin DiAngelo, and is defined as “a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves.” According to DiAngelo, most white people “live in a social environment that insulates them from race-based stress,” due to their privilege as part of the cultural majority. In turn, says DiAngelo, whites are infrequently challenged and have less of a tolerance to race-based stress, causing them to be hostile, guilty, defensive, or fearful when confronted. This phenomenon is white fragility. In the end, white fragility ensures that conversations about race are derailed, and the status quo of white supremacy is upheld.
— Sarah Watts, White fragility is real: 4 questions white people should ask themselves during discussions about race
But like forreal I just want to copy and paste this as a response to White people I see spewing racist fuckshit on the internet. I also appreciate that Dr. Robin DiAngelo is a (phenotypically) White woman.
We cannot expect poor women feeding their families on food stamps to have the same priorities as female lawyers hoping to become partners in law firms. We cannot expect working-class women concerned with getting paid sick leave to have the same priorities as college professors. We cannot expect women who face both sex discrimination and race discrimination to develop the same priorities as women who face only sex discrimination. … There has never been a single, unified feminist agenda. We see feminism as an outlook that is ever being reinvented by new groups of women. Feminism necessarily changes as the world women inhabit changes.
—Dorothy Sue Cobble, Linda Gordon, and Astrid Henry, Feminism Unfinished
(via Now You See Me)
Intersectionality is not optional. It is not something you can take off and put back on again at will, when you feel like it. An intersectional lens should inform any critical evaluation of a subject, because these connections are key to understanding the web of oppression that weighs down on us all. These interconnections, too, are very weblike in their nature, because when you tweak one string, all the rest vibrate with it. There is no way to separate these things out from each other.
People complain that people keep dragging ‘side issues’ into ‘their movement’ and they don’t understand that these issues are the movement. Because a movement that commits oppression in the name of liberation is not a good movement, to put it bluntly. We are more vocal about these issues because we have learned the cost of shutting up, because we constantly have to remind people, because the minute we stop, everything returns to the way it was, the status quo is reestablished, and the real structural and institutional problems that create inequality go, once again, uninterrogated.
This is all connected. To misquote Patrick Henry for a moment, give me intersectionality, or give me death. This is not hyperbole: The current system, as it stands, is killing me. It is killing my people. It is killing the people I work in solidarity with. It is killing you. If you do not give me intersectionality, if you will not commit to being intersectional in your deeds, your thinking, your doing, all the time, no matter how you identify your politics, you are killing me.
—Intersectionality Is Not Optional
When our culture (our media, our power structures, our society) says, “people who look like you shouldn’t expect to have a life like that,” we’re stealing. Stealing from people capable of achieving more, and stealing from our community as well. How can our society (that’s us) say, “we don’t expect you to graduate, we don’t expect you to lead, we don’t expect you to be trusted to make a difference?”
—Seth Godin “The tragedy of small expectations (and the trap of false dreams)”
(via Now, You See Me)
Some people might claim that my mother has no idea how systems of oppression work. Some might also claim that her focus on survival means she has internalized the system’s logic so that she oppresses herself. But get this: my mom has a different—but extremely deep—understanding of how systems of oppression work. She interacts with them daily, fighting to survive despite structural disadvantages. Working class laborers don’t need a physician to know that they’re straining their bodies or an economist to know that they’re being exploited. Most of the time they don’t even need organizers writing articles about “the struggle” to know that it’s there and it’s theirs. The lived experience of these oppressions is not only real, it’s indispensable. No movement is legitimate without it. We don’t do justice to mothers like mine when we alienate them by privileging analytical understandings of systems of oppression.
–Ngoc Loan Tran, “My Movement Mom”
(via Learning Everyday…)
One of the most durable paradoxes of white supremacy – the idea that those who are closest to an experience of oppression are its least credible witnesses.
(via knowledge equals black power)
The fact that 53 years later neither segregation nor discrimination have been eliminated indicates the eagerness with which white Americans have adopted the idea that securing racial justice was a matter of the passing of a law and the martyrdom of a great man.
—Chris Lebron, “What, To the Black American, Is Martin Luther King Jr. Day?”
I have firmly believed all along that the law was on our side and would, when we appealed to it, give us justice. I feel shorn of that belief and utterly discouraged, and just now, if it were possible, would gather my race in my arms and fly away with them.
–from the diary of Ida B. Wells
(via knowledge equals black power)