Tonite we were at a progressive church in a very small town, although it appears to be the largest town we've been in since leaving Madison. I have found a place to park my truck in front of the church and on the busiest main street in town, so she's getting lots of small town visibility! Yeah!!!
Our dinner has been provided for us by the local activists, and about 10 or have joined us, swelling the number of white people to about 25 now, with still just two brown people and no Black people.
At the end of the presentation, a
white womon approached me, very anxious to ask me a question about Black
Womyn’s Lives Matter. She wanted to know why those Black womyn are not
interrupting other presidential candidates besides Bernie Sanders.
I got the distinct impression she
didn't listen to any of my presentation but just was so thrilled I was here bringing
up the subject of BWLM, and she was bursting to tell me exactly what 'they'
should be doing.
She proceeded to declare that she
thinks that Black womyn and men should be going to presidential candidate
gatherings of republicans and democrats to challenge them instead of harassing Bernie, our very best (i.e.
white and male) candidate for president.
I marveled once again, at the ease
with which white people think they can tell Black people what to do and how to
do it, when Black people are attempting to eliminate or at least hold whites
accountable for our racism.
I point blank told this womon that I
do not think it is the place of white people to tell Black people how to fight
us and our racism. She was surprised but did not get defensive, instead she said
she hadn’t thought about it in that way, then she actually agreed and promised to
think more carefully.
I asked her if she had approached
Sanders or any other presidential candidates raising the issues that these
womyn had raised with him? Of course she, a little sheepishly, shook her head ‘no’.
And why hadn’t she? She understood that she was content with Sanders’ platform
of restoring the middle class, and hadn’t even considered Black people might
want something else, but had also waited for a Black person, once again, to
challenge our racism.
I also pointed out how poorly – well
actually how male and whitely – Sanders responded and how white people can
learn by his example how not to react in a racist way. I asked her if she had
any ideas of how he could have responded in an anti-racist way.
We agreed that his platform could and
should have included addressing the issues of police brutality, poverty, racism
that these Black Lives Matter womyn were bringing up. He could and should have
deeply thanked them, acknowledged what they were saying and his privilege (i.e.
racism), and made a public commitment right then and there to prioritize
abolishing racism, while making this an integral and central part of his
asked her if she saw her willingness to tell Black womyn what to do as
part of white privilege? She nodded and thanked me again for showing her how to
be a better anti-racist.