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Mangy Jay @magi_jay
, 26 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
1/ (Thread): On this platform, I keep seeing the following phenomenon pop up:

A black woman says something along the lines of, “White women, you need to get your shit together. . . . . ”
2/ And then some white woman inevitably pops up and is like, “I don’t generalize about black women! You can’t generalize about me!”

(In addition to all the regular not-all-white-women nonsense)
3/ This isn’t *limited* to interactions between black & white women. I see this nonsense spewed from all sectors of the white community towards all POC. . . . .
4/ Men also like to whip out this logic when women are telling them to get their shit together, e.g. “How mad would you be if I told women what to do?”

But I see this happening the MOST often in black women's spaces.
5/ So, I want to talk about why this reaction doesn’t make much sense. But, before I do, let’s get TWO things straight. . . . .
6/ Thing #1: This is a tricky topic and, yes, I might say something dumb. I will be grateful for anyone who chooses to call me out in a rational manner. I will also be happy to rationally discuss these topics. (Key word: rational).
7/ Thing #2: YES, my fellow white people, I will be prescribing how I think you should behave based on my subjective opinion. I’m not proving a theorem here. . . . .So don't respond to me as if I am.
8/ Okay, here goes:

Yes, black women have the right to say things like, “White women need to do X, Y, Z.”

NO, white women do NOT have the right to say, “Black women need to do X, Y, Z.”
9/ Similarly, women have the right to say “Men need to do X, Y, Z.”

Men DON'T have the right to flip this.

Members of the LGBTQ community have the right to say, “Straight, cis folks should do X, Y, Z.”

Straight cis folks don’t have the same right.

10/ Why?

Well, for a few reasons. But, basically it all boils down to *who* has power + privilege in our society, as well as *whom* they have power over.
11/ I am a white woman.

I have social privilege vis a vis black women.

This doesn’t mean I am a stronger person, a smarter person, or a better person than any black woman.

It does mean I live my life free of the multitudinous harms of racial discrimination & inequality.
12/ It means I am safer in this society. I have been privileged in my education and my employment. It’s more likely that, if I were to seek medical care, I would receive the help I needed. It’s less likely I will be arrested for a minor traffic violation. Etc.
13/ Overall, you just don’t get to make generalizations about people who are *less* safe than you are. Like it or not, if you are white, you are part of the *marginalizing* class. You can STFU about people over whom you wield societal power.
14/ For one thing, if a black woman makes generalizations about white women, there is no risk that this generalization is going to harm ANY white woman.
15/ Black women are not enforcing oppression when they make generalizations about white women.

White women ARE enforcing oppression when they make generalizations about black women.
16/ In this same vein, when black women make generalizations about white women, there is no risk of re-enforcing harmful societal *stereotypes,* which themselves facilitate further marginalization & oppression.
17/ For example, when black women use the term “Becky,” it doesn’t harm me. Sure, there’s a sense in which, if I were called a Becky, it would hurt my feelings.
18/ I’d be VERY sad for a day or two. But that’s it. I’d be sad. The act of calling me a Becky is an ISOLATED act. It is not part of a larger practice of oppression.

White people, not black people, have power over the MAINTENANCE of *harmful* stereotypes throughout our society.
19/ Now, in this same vein, if a white man called me a stupid bitch, this IS a behavior that stems from a larger system in which MEN exert power over WOMEN.

Because men have institutional power & privilege vis a vis women. As well as maintenance over stereotypes that HARM women
20/ Finally: If a group of people does not have societal power over you, their day-to-day treatment of you will NOT affect you in any long-lasting meaningful way.

This means it doesn't make much sense for you to confront their treatment of you in a broader forum.
21/ If I went outside my house today, and every single black woman I encountered was mean to me, my feelings would be hurt. But their behavior towards me wouldn’t constitute a societal harm.
22/ Conversely, the behavior of white women DOES cause societal harm to black women. From micro-aggressions to the way we vote, white women, as a group, cause societal harm to black women.
23/ So guess what?

When such asymmetries of privilege exist within a society, the people who are *harmed* get to speak out against the group of people who are HARMING them.
24/ So, at the end of the day, as a white woman, I get to say the following:

“Men, you need to do X, Y, Z . . . .”


“White women, you need to do X, Y, Z. . . .”


“White people, you need to do X, Y, Z” (hence this thread).

That’s it.
25/ If you really believe in racial justice, you shouldn’t spend your time dictating how black women talk about the broader class of people who cause them societal harm.
26/ Maybe, one day, 53% of white women won’t vote for a proud & proven racist.

But, until that day comes, black women have all the right in the freaking world to be like “what the fuck is up w/ white women?”

And, no, white women don’t have the right to complain about it.
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