Originally published by Threads of Solidarity on Medium on August 1, 2017
And Featured in HuffPo Black Voices on Sep. 14, 2017
We can not be friends. In case you don’t know, Beckys are white women who aren’t actively seeking to understand and dismantle white supremacy. Beckys are good people; they are well meaning and their intentions are everything. Beckys are colorblind and think classism or sexism or fascism or capitalism (or literally any other -ism) but not racism, is the problem we all need to join forces to fight against. Beckys are positive that if we focus on positivity and respectability we shall overcome. Beckys don’t realize the harm they cause. Beckys are white (or white presenting) women who have privilege and implicit bias on their side but refuse to acknowledge it. They participate in maintaining white supremacy and don’t understand or care to unpack how they are complicit in order to affect change.
In short, I can not be friends with white women. Not white women who can’t acknowledge that being colorblind is problematic AF. Not white women who see calling out racism as spreading hate. Not white women who lash out and turn into teenagers spewing insults when I speak my truth and it hurts their feelings because she is set on saying to herself “But I’m a good person!” Not white woman who can’t acknowledge simple concepts like white privilege. Not anymore. Both in real life and online, I can not have friends that are not working on anti-racism from the inside out.
It’s my fault though. I invited you to the cookout too soon. I gave you a pass when you said something subtle, casually, as a “joke.” I was afraid of being seen as angry so I laughed along or stood quiet. My silence earned me validation, earned me “one of the cool ones” status. So I did not guard my space and protect my energy from internalizing your reality. I was naive and didn’t understand but now I know. While I know you may not have been aware of what you were doing, you also did not care enough to want to understand. So don’t call me your best friend if you don’t want me to be whole.
I have escaped the Sunken Place but with people like this in my life, it’s like having one foot still in and constantly fighting off being dragged back down. Not today Satan. I am stronger than your invalidation. I am wiser than your lack of understanding. I am happier than your perception of me when I am fighting for my liberation. “My eyes are open and I cannot and will not force them shut.” I am deliberately grabbing liberation and creating it for myself.
deliberately grabbing liberation
and creating it for myself.
My liberation starts in accepting the truth of my reality and not allowing others to gaslight me into believing there is something wrong with me. I deserve to be whole. I deserve to be comfortable. I’m done swallowing hard and biting my tongue to keep from explaining why what you said wasn’t okay. How that, that thing you just did, is an example of fetishizing, tokenizing, pre-judging, colorism, exceptionalism, tone policing, respectability politics, anti-blackness…the list goes on and on.
I know you don’t want to hear that you are complicit. Guess what? I don’t want to experience (or explain) the harm you are causing in demonizing or dehumanizing people who don’t look like you. Make no mistake, it causes me harm and triple the harm if I say nothing and try to move on. You’re tired. I’m exhausted. I have exhausted my patience, my time, my energy, my love and my acceptance. I have extended my limits of tolerating intolerance and given too many “well meaning”, “good intentions” passes. I’m tapped out. I’m done being silenced and made to feel small. Because I can’t have friends that aren’t on the same page as me; not now, not ever! if I want to be whole. It happened before and it will happen again and if I don’t stand for something, I will fall for anything. I’m done being pushed until I fall off the cliff.
So before you ask me, what happened to Kelly or Jane or Becky? Or why she doesn’t come around anymore, don’t. Before you look at me sideways like I can’t keep a friend, don’t. I chose myself and my sanity over her comfort. That’s what happened. The end.
Deliberately Grabbing Liberation
(Formerly known as “angry, bitchy, black friend”)