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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is froth with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want all to thrive in

Monday, May 20, 2019

When “white” is understood…


When “white” is understood…

I rushed to attend Womonwrites this past week because I knew this four decade old lesbian icon of Southern Womyn Writers was coming under attack by the transdomination community and their allies.

I also knew that the overriding purpose of this session of Womonwrites was to hold high and act from womonist/feminist values while formalizing the division into two separate conferences: one that honors female sovereignty and magnifies womon words; and one that strives to be “inclusive” of everyone who feels they “belong”.

In those early Womonwrites days forty years ago, the voice of womyn – especially lesbians – was not just barely heard in u.s.ofa. life but it was unheard of for womyn to gather together to write, to stand up on a stage behind a microphone and read, to amplify their voice, their thought, their value with and among solely other womyn.

Today with still less than .09% of the published written word – including news sources – penned by females (the ‘of color’ understood) and 17% by their white female peers, womyn’s voices are once again being intentionally silenced in favor of boosting the voice of men who now ‘identify’ as womyn under the liberal guise of being “inclusive”.

But it is not this current method of vile misogynist attack against girls and womyn that is driving me to write this morning: it is the horrific continuation of racism that ignited into violence against the one Black womon who was not only present at this conference but working non-stop to provide sustenance that was healthy, beautiful, scrumptious. Meals that also brilliantly accommodated a long list of dietary restrictions or desires.

Although it is not nearly enough, I want to very publically and emphatically apologize to this young womon – and all womyn of color present or not – for this latest egregious assault: I am so very sorry. It should have NEVER happened especially at Womonwrites where it should have been a safe, loving community for  all womyn of Black and brown womyn.

I want to call out this overt act of a white individual’s racism that hurt another womon and also consumed the good will of all white womyn on this land, tainting their very presence and actions as well as lack of action. But it is also crucial to acknowledge the overriding whiteness of the structure of this conference that allowed and fed personal racism.

I want to promise Black and brown womyn I will organize and work very very hard to smash the racism that is inherent but certainly not unexpected in the structure of this old Womonwrites: for to be white in the u.s.ofa. is to naturally be racist; for white womyn to build community in the u.s.ofa. is to naturally build a white community.

White womyn attending Womonwrites could have looked around, felt their ‘natural’ comfort when slipping into an all or predominantly white space, stepped back and realized this racial segregation reflected that of society – and this acknowledgement should have made them very uncomfortable.

This is not to say that over the decades white womyn did not at times see and attempt to rectify this blatant racism that lead to the ‘white’ being understood at this conference. But the commitment did not include the longevity and intensity necessary to truly combat centuries of racism.

In the past, efforts extended on the part of white womyn were rendered feeble at best due to underestimating the monster racism is and the extended commitment required to abolish racism on the part of white womyn. Most efforts that were designed  to “include” womyn of color failed, as white womyn hopefully learned quickly that this approach is itself born of racism.

Tragically, white womyn committing themselves to prioritize anti-racism instead has NOT been a path constructed let alone well-traveled.

Not yet at least.

I want to invite any other white womon who wants to  work together to institutionalize anti-racism as a priority and commitment of the new female sovereign Womonwrites branch to join me in this journey.