Ask a White Woman
Woman, I have so much to write, so much going on in my mind that I don’t know where to start. Mostly, it is prompted by my current trip back West from China and helped along by my rapid and deep official and deliberate immersion into radical feminist theory during this last year. The general feminist orientation I’ve held for years and years is nothing compared to what I’m going through now. I opened my can of whoop ass and things changed in a more positive, but infinitely more difficult way. And because of this deep immersion, it has really become clear to me how traumatizing living in China is, and how that trauma affects me when I come back to a very different, but equally disturbing West.
I do want to write some things about East vs West, and I also want to write about politics, but I still have much more to say about the whole race-sex interplay and the myth of the privileged white woman, so this post will be a part of the White Girl series.
I and some other bloggers, in light of the escalating white woman hate and the recent rash of sexual attacks on white women by men of colour, have been addressing the topic in a variety of ways. Today, I want to address something that really only clicked for me a few days ago as I was standing on an Amtrak platform waiting for a train. It is a matter of illogic. It is a matter of reactions and beliefs not matching reality.
We all know that white women, especially those of true feminist inclinations, have become the most hated group on the planet, responsible for all the evils and oppressions the world knows. According to the world, white women practise all the newly invented phobias and negative ‘isms’. White women don’t do enough good, but manage to perpetuate all the bad. We are the super-powers that hold the public purse and pull the strings of all the world leaders, apparently. We are turning the education system to shit, and are personally responsible for poverty and school shootings and police brutality. How this all works, I have no fucking clue, but the world says it’s true and they advocate punishment to rectify the situation.
But here’s the thing. When you look at reality and how people behave when not fired up by agenda, you will notice that all people know that white women are the most harmless, most innocuous, and possibly the most do-gooder, free-help-providing and activating people in the world. White women are safe.
Well, that sounds pretentious, doesn’t it? How the fuck would I ever come to such a conclusion?
As I was standing on that Amtrak platform, a middle-aged white woman and a foreigner, I realized that I was the beacon. I was the one targeted as the safe, universal information and protection kiosk. And it has always been that way. And they are right to come to me. I am a helper. I help people. I empathize. I know what it is like to be insecure and lost. I try to be very aware of my surroundings, and when I help the lost, I also try to reassure. I am safe. I make people feel safe. I am a white woman.
I hadn’t taken that particular train in 8 years. I don’t live in the US, as I said, I’m foreign when I’m in America. I’m not particularly knowledgeable about Amtrak or that particular route. I don’t necessarily look ‘American’, and carrying travel gear, I certainly don’t look local. But standing on that platform, it was me that everyone went to for help. In the space of 20 minutes, I helped four people with train and location and logistical information: an older white man from Australia, a middle aged man of colour, a young white woman, and a young black woman with a small child. They could have approached any of the people on the platform, but they all came to me. And when they were finished with me, they felt safe. They knew what was happening, where to go, and what to expect. And they were all thankful.
It has always been this way. I am always asked for information, directions, reassurance. I am always assumed to be the docent in a museum, the librarian in a library, the local person. I’m never in uniform. I don’t necessarily walk around with an air of confidence or knowing. I am not especially tall or striking in appearance. But I am safe to approach. People just know that I won’t beat them, rape them, murder them, steal their money, take them hostage.
So my question is: if I, the white woman, am so helpful and so safe-seeming to all regardless of others’ ethnicity, sex and age, then why the fuck am I so hated? Do we hate that which we can trust most? Is it easiest to lash out at those who help the most?
That’s how it seems. And if you want a definition of unfairness, that is it right there. You use us, and then you brutalize us. We are safe, and we take our abuse in silence like we deserve it. We are told we deserve it. We tell ourselves that we deserve it.
Yes, it is the definition of unfairness.
Posted on January 19, 2016, in Feminism, Stereotyping, Violence, White Women and tagged abuse, misogyny, patriarchy, psychology, United States, women. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Ask a White Woman.