To all the white women at the Women’s March on Washington and similar marches around the country:
Where were you before?
Where were you at the Black Lives Matter shut-downs I’ve attended, the justice in the Middle East protests I’ve been to? Where were you when you had no skin in the game, when your own rights weren’t at stake? This is the first protest I’ve attended that was majority white; it’s also the first protest I've attended for an issue that wasn’t primarily about people of color.
Why did you equate womanhood with a pink, knit hat?
Why were you so impressed by how “nice” the police were?
Why was this protest a party for so many of you?
If your feminism isn’t intersectional, it’s bullshit.
To be an advocate for gender equality, you need to support trans women, black women, native women, hispanic women, and people who are neither woman nor man. The threat to abortion access hurts all women, but where are you when black women are terrorized by the police, when hispanic mothers are ripped from their children and deported, when the right to water is threatened in Standing Rock and Flint? If you are not there for the women who don’t look like you, you are not there for me. You cannot call yourself a feminist.
Again, this does not mean that there are no white, intersectional feminists.There are many women who advocate for racial justice, for queer justice, for environmental justice, and are white. Just as “Black Lives Matter” doesn’t mean “Other Lives Don’t Matter,” the address “Dear White Women” does not mean “Dear All White Women, Who Are Terrible”. This letter doesn’t mean you are unwelcome at marches; it means you need to be aware of your position in society.
If you see yourself in this letter, if you feel personally attacked by this address, do not fall back upon centuries of racial prejudice and tell me I am just another angry Latina woman. Instead, come march with me and say #BlackLivesMatter. Come and help with ESL tutoring at an immigration center, befriend refugees and help them navigate your home city. If you wrote angry messages on sanitary pads and posted them to a wall, donate a box of Tampax to a local women’s shelter.
You showed up in Washington and a hundred other cities on January 21, and I'm glad you did. Now keep showing up.