Why This Why Now?

Oya, Yoruba Orisa of Change, image credit The Works of FemiolArt

White women have been one of the constant violences in my life, a life of many inventive and horrible forms of violence. Because the violence you (the collective and individual white woman) do is so soul killingly insidious, and pervasive I choose to break the imposed silencing of my Black womxn self by the agency you exercise within white supremacy. Leave your guilt, your shame, your not all’s, your what about me’s and all Beckery outside of these pages. My goal is simple–to stand in the truth of my lived experience under white supremacy. I hope that you are provoked to go deeper in your own transformation, your own work to dismantle the internalized white supremacy that lives in you. That is and has always been squarely in your control and in your hands.

Only the most courageous will hear what I say here. It is my belief that the number of white women with the grit required to do their own unpacking and transformation in an authentic and truthful way will, as the saying goes about angels, fit on the head of a pin. The fact is all white people are dangerous. I said what I said.  Some of you may be dangerous to us on a personal level. All of you are dangerous to us on a cultural, social and everyday level because you are, willingly or not, primary agents of white supremacy.

You have been birthed into it, raised up in it, and taught everything you need to know to uphold it, support it, and keep it reinventing itself.  When you ask us why we always make everything about race, the answer is because the rules of the game were forged in it, because whiteness was and is the foundation from which everything else in the known universe is measured, judged, consumed, discarded, or destroyed. The most horrific of the lies you’ve been given as part and parcel of your birthright is the one that has taught you to not see any of this.

Here in this space is where the flow of violence done to Black bodies, minds and spirits is interrupted and replaced by a shift in the narrative that removes whiteness from the center and places the voices of Black Womxn firmly and rightly where they belong. This is my belief, my experience, and my heart. I am one old Black Womxn. I am mostly cis-het, and while I do not believe in the gender binary, I make no claim to speak for every Black person because we are legion of expression, experience, and pure magic. We are just that damned good.

This is not an attempt to speak for all of us. I am aware that my siblings and fam are in this room with me so what I say is not the gospel according to Black people. Don’t try to go there with my words. I am not anyone’s magical Negro. Believe me, I’ve been that in my life and I know what it looks like. This is my truth and my truth is worthy as all of our Black truths are, and holds a path for white people, white women in particular, to find their way out of doing violence, emotional and otherwise to Black Womxn. I am here to tell you what I need to be free. Who better than me knows what I need?

What do you need to come into this space as a white woman? You need to adopt the posture of learner. That means accept that what you think you know is tainted, at best, dangerous to Black lives at worst. Learn to accept that you have a lifetime of complete blindness to your membership in the oppressors’ club. That blindness will be uncovered in ways that you will want to deny, fight against, and run from. Resist your natural inclination. Sit in your ugly, unbearable feelings. Break them open. Build new eyes and new actions based on what is right instead of what makes you comfortable and safe.

Understand that this is not safe space for you. In order for you to change your safety exits and the fire of vulnerability enters. You are the only one who can do this. I can’t and won’t do it for you. Here is where you for damned sure will do your own work or get on. This is not a space for you to tell me how you’re progressing. It’s not a forum for you to earn a badge, a cookie, or an accolade of any kind. If you come here expecting hearts, hugs, and love emojis, there are spaces out there for that.  If you are here to debate or negate the validity or verity of what I write, you will be disappointed.  I do not engage trolls. I am not the one. Do not try me.

Why this space now with so many others out here? Much of my life was wasted trapped inside internalized white supremacy I did not even know existed in me. I have many decades of stories to tell and many lessons learned. It is time to tell my stories and share my lessons.


Compensate Gaian Bird, Writer


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