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Shay Stewart Bouley @blackgirlinmain
, 13 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
A few weeks ago, I had lunch with a childhood friend. White girl from the Southside of Chicago, she's now a professor here in NE. Our friendship ended at 18. Why? White woman tears. I told her she made me feel like a charity case and it hurt her feelings.
When we met for lunch, she told me that my words had haunted her for a long time. She didn't understand why I felt that way. But 28 years later, she got it. She understood what I was saying.
I was 17, I didn't have any racial analysis or vocabulary but in that moment, I knew her hurt feelings and tears had more value than how I was othered in our circle.
I dropped out of high school after that because our "friends" thought I was horrible. Fun shit. Yeah, WW tears will f*ck you up. The power they hold.
Point of this story was that WW learn early in life that their feelings and tears hold power. My friend never understood why I felt like the token Negro in the group. It was all about her and the rest of the white girls took her side.
I've said this over the years but it's extremely hard for me to be tight with white women. I've got two ride or die white girlfriends. My experience is those tears and angst get used when they can't hang. I'm too old for that ish.
Key piece of learning for white women who do racial justice work is learning to stop using their tears. To learn that those seemingly innocent tears are weapons against POC. They shut down conversations and can endanger our very lives.
Flip side for BW is learning to give ourselves the space to cry and to feel. We are socially conditioned for good reason to not cry, to hold it in. That's not healthy.
I'm of an age where I remember being told not to cry. Eff that! Let that out. No, our tears aren't weapons and aren't valued overall but not releasing is not ok.
I'm convinced that the Black folk reparations package in addition to including money, should include culturally competent therapy and a host of holistic options for wellness.
There is a subtle shift in our online discussions in this moment. Hopefully white folks who are earnestly trying to do better are picking up on it. Racism is a form of daily, domestic terrorism. It's everywhere.
I hope that the white women who follow me and the other BW discussing our encounters with WW tears can step back and sit with our words. When have you used your tears to silence a Black woman? When have your tears and emotions become weapons against POC?
Be honest with yourself.
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