Dear White Women: A Reflection on Rage, Sisterhood, and Action
Right now you’re angry – no, more than angry. Heartbroken, horrified, exasperated, enraged.
It’s the same heartbreak we felt watching Dr. Ford testify. It’s the same disgust we felt when we watched Kavanaugh gripe about how unfair it was. It’s the same rage we felt when we watched the vote go his way.
That rage? I feel it, too. I feel it in the depths of my soul. And I want you to know that I see you. I feel you.
I see you and I feel you because I am you.
That rage you feel, I want you to let it move you. Let it move you towards action. Look for a local abortion fund, become a clinic escort, donate money, call your representatives.
I’ll do it with you. We’ll do it together.
But that rage? We cannot blame it solely on the actions of white men. We cannot let it end at the right to choose. And we cannot allow to fade into the ether and return to life as usual.
I need you to feel that same rage you feel now for women who don’t look like you. For the ones who feel far away. For the realities you can’t imagine and will never experience.
Feel it for the Black, brown and indigenous women who will actually be arrested and jailed when these policies go into effect.
Feel it for the women who tried to warn us that our lives would be under attack too.
Feel it for brown mothers being ripped from their children at the border.
Feel it for Black mothers dying in childbirth.
Feel it for women who are incarcerated.
Feel it for women who’s loved ones are incarcerated.
Feel it for Indigenous women going missing. Feel it for Black girls going missing.
Feel it for the mothers losing children to gun violence in inner cities.
Feel it for the sisters and daughters and wives losing loved ones to police violence.
Feel it for the women being brutalized by police.
Feel it for the disabled women being denied basic accessibility.
Feel it for Muslim women threatened for their head coverings.
Feel it for trans women and sex workers slain everyday.
Feel it for the women who have to choose between medical care and keeping the lights on.
Feel it for the girls who can’t afford metal health services.
Feel it for the women who don’t make a living wage.
Feel it for the mothers who’s children are exposed to lead in the paint and lead in the water.
Feel it for the ancestors who died fighting.
Feel it for the women who will continue to die fighting.
Feel it for them, because if we reserve our rage for the issues that impact us directly, we will never be free.
If we only move to action when the issue hits close to home, we’ll never be free.
If we try to lead the way, we’ll never be free.
Our Black, Indigenous, trans and queer siblings have been fighting for our freedom for centuries. They fought for us when we were determined to leave them behind to get our small sliver of power pie. They’ve fought for us over and over and we’ve thanked them by stepping on their necks time and time again. And yet, in a miraculous, undeserved, radical act of love, they continue to fight for us.
It’s time we channel our rage at the issues that we think will never impact us. It’s time we view women who don’t look like us, who feel far away, as our sisters. And it’s time we start taking our cues from them. It’s time to listen to them first, and then it’s time to move towards action.
Action means amplifying our sisters’ voices. It means letting them share their own stories. It means redistributing and reallocating our resources to their organizations and donating our time to their initiatives. It means listening instead of talking over. It means standing beside and behind instead of stepping in front. It means recognizing that we are new to this fight, and that our sisters know more than we do because they’ve been doing it for centuries.
I promise you they’ll welcome us, but we are obligated to ask to join them in the right way. They’ll welcome us because they embody sisterhood. We must ask and act in deference to them, because we must act as sisters.
So let’s lean into our rage and return the radical, revolutionary type of love our sisters have summoned from their ancestors since the beginning of time.
“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very djifferent than my own.” – Audre Lorde
With love and rage,
Authored by Janella Cuyler