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It was raining in San Francisco and a wave of people rose over the streets around me.
Signs in the air were wrapped in plastic, each slogan stolen from my lived experiences, my sheroes mouths, my people’s backs. White women, everywhere, taking pictures with their friends, yelling at the sky, screaming chants that they’ve never heard before tonight.
Chants that were forged in fires on West Florissant. Chants that were written in candlelight by enslaved Africans who dared steal their freedom from the hands of men who had white women standing beside them. Chants that my grandmother’s people sang as blows from billy clubs rained on their heads.
I realize somewhere between being pushed into a trash can by an oblivious “Nasty Woman,” and being racially profiled by an elderly feminist, that white women marched yesterday for themselves alone. My presence was inconsequential. No, worse, my participation in this march was an act of violence against the organizers all around the country fighting for Black liberation.
And I am sorry.
White women were not called to action by the voice of intersectional resistance. They weren’t hoping to lift the burden of resistance that Black women have been carrying in concentration for the past three years. No, they were simply mobilized by the fear that something had gone awry in their lily-white world of privilege.
And if you asked them what the true danger of a Donald Trump presidency was for them, you might not have gotten a clear answer. Signs bellowed about the autonomy of “OUR uteruses” and the threat of “WOMEN’S RIGHTS,” completely oblivious to the sheer stupidity in assuming that a) every woman has a uterus, and b) that “women’s rights” has a historical track record of including the needs of ALL women across the country. But that wouldn’t have mattered. Catchy slogans, empty promises, and blindly displaying the same privilege that proves lethal to my people were the name of the game on Saturday.
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Everything this country knows about resistance, about defiance, about the reclamation of power from systems, we have learned from Black women and indigenous people.
I want to focus on the former, here. Black bodies, choking on teargas in the dark, running from bullets in between streetlights. Black bodies, pouring milk into their eyes, while laughing at the ancestors that held them up. Black women, singing as our feet bled in Ferguson. Black women, feeding the multitudes with fried fish and warm bread in Selma. Us.
And yet, it is white women who are allowed the audacity of resistance.
It is white women who are not questioned when they take to the streets in cities all over the country, by the hundreds of thousands. It is white women who can scream, “Fuck Trump” and “it is our duty to FIGHT” while police officers look on in mild amusement. It is white women who don’t realize that even if they take away abortion, even when our healthcare is repealed, the plight of being a woman will never be more dangerous than it is AT ITS INTERSECTIONS. Black, Queer, Trans, Brown, Working Class, or worse, a combination of many? We hoist feminism on our backs as you ride atop it.
The nerve of you to forget.
Being a white woman in America can’t be too hard, when 53 percent of your sisters voted our new president into office. Can’t be too hard, that you’ve been missing from every single protest that has happened in our great nation since the dawn of The Movement for Black Lives. Are you not a feminist AND a water protector? Is it too hard to protect voting rights in the rural south? Were you busy burning your bras when the call came from Black women, everywhere, to #SayHerName?
The color of the bodies in the streets.
Yesterday, white women rose like a wave in the streets of our nation, drowning out the voices, bodies, stories, and visibility of Black women like me. In a million small ways it felt like nicks in the skin with a hot knife. Painful and intricately placed. Sometimes in a million huge, unfathomable ways: I am still weeping for my sister Raquel Willis who was invited to speak at the DC march, only to be kicked offstage mid-speech so that a white cis woman could share her feelings.
This is violence. This is historical. This is why y’all still got us fucked up.
Black women have held this world up, as our “allies” blatantly ignore our contributions and genius, if only to depreciate our brilliance. We’ve shifted the global lexicon in regards to anti-Blackness and white supremacy. We’ve tackled the media, and reclaimed the ability to tell our own truths. We’ve created models for intersectional resistance that include the most marginalized of us, and made these models accessible for the world. We’ve changed policy and law. We’ve deconstructed and demilitarized. We’ve wept. We’ve roared. We’ve conquered. And we ain’t even halfway there.
Long live black girl magic. Even when you swear you can’t see us, somehow you always end up rocking our shit.
Put that on your poster.
Aurielle Marie is a Black Queer woman resisting anti-Black state violence through the vehicles of hip-hop, spoken word, and grassroots organizing. Follow her on twitter @Ellevation_.