When non-Black women decided that they would go from antagonizer to ally in the name of ‘helping’ Black womxn, we should have known better…
It seemed like a good idea at the time. Non-Black women declaring that they would take their privilege and whip it into lean, mean, white supremacist dismantling machines. I know I’m not the only one who giggled as they clamored over each other to be the favorite of any given anti-racist influencer, activist, or artist. They couldn’t join enough anti-racism groups and organizations. They began to introduce themselves as ‘recovering’ racists (ha!) on a mission to collect their white and brown family and friends. Soon enough, the spaces they took exceeded their welcome and our patience. The few, very few Black womxn they would acknowledge were always expected to maintain a formation that was palatable and ‘gentle’. Brunches were replaced with marches, but, not really. In a matter of months, these women would bellyache about a weird racial fatigue that reduced their already half-hearted efforts into worthless thumbs ups and shares. Allies are bullshit.
What in the Pay Black Women is Going on Here?
Non-Black allies learned everything they know from Black womxn, or a non-Black womxn who regurgitated everything she’s heard a Black womxn say. We taught them the importance of respecting labor on a thread — hell, we taught them that it was even labor. We trained many of them to be our social media guard dogs in the ever-increasing online conflicts, often ending with us getting banned and them getting an increase of followers because they’re so good at allying… Make it make sense. Please.
Some Black womxn took the ideologies and critical thinking of the Black goddesses before us and saran-wrapped it for anyone willing to burn their pussy hat and step away from Pantsuit Nation. They did a really good job of teaching them about white supremacy, systemic racism, and other systems of oppression. But, they never declawed them from their weapons of whiteness, weapons that have caused us great damage, both personally and collectively. Now, rather than showing up to leverage their privilege and redistribute their wealth, many non-Black womxn are attempting to out white-woman each other, co-opting Black spaces and organizations, dragging the Black womxn who educated them in the process. We may have done a fine job of teaching them the abc’s of systems of oppression, but we fucked up when we didn’t consider what would happen when they weaponized our teachings and used it against us.
A while back, when I hit peak exhaustion of anything that walked, talked, or quacked like an ally, I declared that the road to anti-racism was the worst path for Black womxn’s liberation. Allies have demonstrated time and again that they can learn everything there is to know about systems of oppression and still weaponize their privilege against Black womxn and Black people. Misogynoir must be one helluva drug.
Which One is Awful? All of Them.
In 2017, I decided to antagonize alleged allies with what I referred to as ‘The Harmful Allies List’. A combination of Black people and people of color documenting white people in social justice/activists/Black run or led spaces who had created harm. While the list was a legitimate warning for Black womxn who engage with alleged allies within a close proximity, I’m not ashamed to admit that I also created it to taunt them a bit. It was in that brief moment in time that white women actually tapped into their inner common sense before clogging up my emails and comment sections with performative ally rhetoric that always began with:
“Let me tell you this long, five thousand word story about how I, a white woman who’s never met a Black womxn a day in my life, has come from a place of racism to a level of wokeness… it started when I was five…”
“I know you don’t mean all non-Black women but I wish you’d say not all non-Black women. Just to be clear for the rest of us Latinas. Just because we make fun of Black women’s appearances, ostracize them in social settings, and constantly portray them as unprofessional and unattractive doesn’t mean we’re racist!’
“Hi, would you mind if I share your statuses and repeat your intellectual property — word for word, while I suck the life out of your organization, just so I can ghost you and tell everyone how angry and you are? Great, thanks!”
Don’t Pet the Ally
Once alleged allies are caught white-womaning at the expense of the very people they claimed to support, they simply repeat the rhetoric of “I am harmful, I hurt Black people,” as though their robotic response warrants forgiveness. In kind, Black women return by dragging their asses to filth publicly. This cycle has increased to such an extent that I’ve had more than one Black woman request that I dust off and revise the old Harmful Allies List. I’ll be keeping my list in retirement. I’m done with any action that centers them; it’s us— always us who should be centered. That, and these draggings get in the way of something more important than their behavior… our money.
In a racist, classist society that’s placed Black womxn at the bottom of the privilege pyramid, we need to care way less about the behavior of non-Black allies and worry more about what they’re doing to aide in our liberation. I was never in this for friends, and, I’ll remember that white and brown women can pull the plug on their alliance anytime they want.
Black womxn do not and never needed non-Black womxn. However, if they must be present than we should demand that they adhere to our requirements. Some seem to believe that non-Black women serve more than two purposes when it comes to the liberation of Black bodies. That is simply not true. There are only two applicable ways for non-Black allies to show up:
1. Redistributing wealth and privileges providing resources and centering, amplifying, giving, and contributing to the liberation of Black womxn, Black people, and Black causes.
2. Funding by way of reparations, contributions, donations, credit, patronage, etc.
That’s it and that’s all. Periodt.
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