“Empowered Women Empower Women” Is Not To Be Used As an Out When As White Women We Need to Hold Each Other Accountable For Our Internalized White Supremacy
Yeah “empowered women empower women”, and “girls support girls” is great, but it shouldn’t get in the way of us also holding each other accountable. I have noticed how cis white women skirt around the issue of how we center whiteness in our language, behavior, and thoughts. I hear us saying that we are “tearing each other down” when we address the harm that a fellow white woman is causing. This is something I have heard in response to the recent essay I wrote on Terra Incognita Media. Appeals for sisterhood in these circumstances are really just asking for white solidarity.
I admit and acknowledge that I have been problematic and have made cringe-worthy, white-centering mistakes. I continue to learn from these harmful instances, some of which have caused pain to people who I have considered dear friends who no longer want to speak to me. I have written extensively about how my own missteps and lessons have, at times, come at an inexcusable cost. You can see more of my writing on this here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. And more, right here on my Medium page.
When I address the harm I see in the climbing community or in other white people, I am not doing so in an effort to disguise my own complicity in white supremacy. When I use influential figures in the climbing community as examples it is not to make myself feel better about my own actions. It’s an effort to hold each other accountable because as white people we need to be doing this.
It’s to hold people accountable who perform “solidarity” in an Instagram caption when behind the scenes they are not listening to the Indigenous people and leaders of the land that they are climbing and bolting routes on. Did they ask permission to do this? Are we asking Indigenous communities if they want us to climb on their land? If they want us to bolt?
It’s like when people say we are only “dividing ourselves further” when we call out liberal white people. And then you hear people say “identity politics” are driving us apart. I’m all about driving us further apart if it means exposing the insidious ways white supremacy continues and…