I wrote this for several rallies in the past week on behalf of #BlackLivesMatter and the multi-racial protests for an end to white supremacy and carceral rule.
We helped elect Trump
We too often call the police for protection
We are not actively anti-racist enough
There is no neutral silence
Silence is read as acquiescence or active support
You do not get to distance yourself from COVID without doing a white privilege check-list
Stop being too protective of yourself
You can only do this because you are white
Wear a mask and then
Live like you are a Black woman and do what must be done.
Act like racism is as much of a threat to you as COVID is
Ask this of your white mother and father and sister and grandparents and grandchildren.
Imagine repairing our society.
That means reparations—
You need to be ready to have less so others can have what they need, and deserve.
The new equality will feel strange.
You will lose some of your white friends.
How do I know if I am doing enough?
And, if you are not feeling sad, uncomfortable, in chaos—you definitely are not.
In case you are feeling uncertain:
NEVER call the police
Support and vote for all challenges to the de-militarization of the police
DEFUND the carceral state
FUND social services instead
DEMAND THAT YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY DO AT LEAST ONE THING TO UNSETTLE WHITE SUPREMACY – one thing a week. There are tons of lists—do a google search.
UNTIL YOU DO THIS you will not know the camaraderie and the courage and the joy that being anti-racist feminist can bring you. But also be ready to be lonely sometimes.
A noted feminist writer and activist, Zillah Eisenstein is Professor Emerita at Ithaca College. She is the author of twelve books, among them The Female Body and the Law, which won the Victoria Schuck Book Prize for the best book on women and politics, and, more recently, The Color of Gender: Reimaging Democracy and Hatreds: Racialized and Sexualized Conflicts in the 21st Century. Her book Abolitionist Socialist Feminism: Radicalizing the Next Revolution is available from Monthly Review Press.
Feature image from Frankie Fouganthin on Wikimedia Commons