No White Woman Formed against Me Will Prosper against My Mustards

“Do you guys realise this is an open space?!”
“Be quiet”
“The young radicals”
“You have to allow everyone to voice their opinions”
“You wear such colourful clothes, I could never”
“New and younger staff need to be better trained”
“You’re a bit too sexy in that outfit, don’t you think?”

 I hear these remarks on a weekly almost daily basis in the workplace. Seemingly innocuous. Except these remarks are made particularly by white or white passing women as a critique of the young black queer womxn staff. The condescending questions, the policing of sound, dress, politics and accusations of intolerance when Becky;s are accused of misogynoir,  reveal a new unease in the workplace. An unease with the new burst of energy, bravery, care-free black girl magic that is the millennial generation.  
They are uncomfortable that we laugh loudly.
Uncomfortable that we voice our opinions loudly, that we challenge white supremacy, heterosexism, transantaogynism.
They’re uncomfortable that we are debunking myths around womxn’s sexuality.
 Actually discomfort is too pleasant a word, Beckys are shook!
 “don’t be condescending, you as a white woman ought to be aware of your history and your positionality given the tone in which you are speaking to me and the inherently skewed power dynamics of it.  You will not speak to me that way.” 
This was my response to a Becky who had spent a team meeting, defending white fragility by belittling, shutting down and questioning the knowledge and experience of the exponentially more knowledgeable young black womxn she was surrounded by. But Becky had miscalculated, no one was going to shrink or bow down to her wagging finger. 
See Becky, who for so long had seen black womxn quiver at her shaking finger, her raised voice, her condescension could not compute my response. The look of shock, then blood draining from her face was priceless. See Becky had, like many other white women convinced herself, that she was somehow the center of oppressive masculinity, she failed to account for her role in maintaining white supremacist heteropatriarchy. Becky forgot that her racial purity, was preserved by the murders of scores of indigenous people, white men who would go on to murder and rape indigenous people, at Becky’s accusing finger. Becky forgot that Black womxn, had breastfed her children, raised them for her; only to have Becky’s kids murder and enslave Black people. Becky forgot that a Black womxn probably raised her, cleans her  home and that she pays Black womxn barely a living wage for this work. Less money than she spends on her chihuahua’s pedicures. Becky forgot that we, Black womxn, write and create art, literature, fashion etc. that she steals and appropriates. See, Becky forgot that her tongue lashings were embedded with centuries of colonialism , slavery and settler colonial genocide.
When Beckys are confronted with this legacy, they have no place to hide. They panic looking around for some remainder of their victimhood, only to be confronted by their prevalent whiteness.  Rachael Edwards’ blog post this week “White women in the workplace are the bane of my existence” summed this up so well: 


“The prevalent images and ideas of white womanhood makes their racism cozy, their womanhood gives them the privilege to ignore intersections of race and gender that can lead to untimely deaths of women and femmes of color – our Blackness and womanhood are a “threat” to their humanity.
We see it in how they talk to us, how they reprimand us versus our white woman colleagues. We see it in their performative Blackness, in passive aggressive emails and in-person micro aggressions and the list goes on. They would rather see us down than to see us uplifted, especially if this means standing alongside them in a way that does not serve or center them. White women’s racism will cut you in the dark and then ask you why you’re bleeding.”

White women are the bane of my workplace existence, but they have lost the power to shape me, to shake me and undervalue my input. So yes, Becky I am loud, and I love it and tomorrow I might laugh louder. Does my happiness disturb you? Becky I will call you racist when you are endorsing white supremacy. Yes, my big black ass is a sexy beautiful sight to behold, but no Becky, it is not inappropriate for me to wear jeans to work because of it, you only think so because white colonial hypermasculinity and misogynoir, have hypersexualised my ass and normalised your flat one.  Yes, Becky I wear bright colours, and today I came in wearing all mustard, because Becky, Black womxn look amazing in yellows!

One Comment Add yours

  1. kelley says:

    YES! two snaps

    Liked by 1 person

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