New Feature: Dear FEMWOC

*We are starting a new feature where people can anonymously submit questions to the community in an effort to cultivate constructive and sincere conversations in a place that is safe for WoC. We would like the community to engage by answering the questions in the comments section.*

White paper with word 'Dear' written at the top. The tip of a calligraphy pen is suspended at the end of the word.

White paper with word ‘Dear’ written at the top. The tip of a calligraphy pen is suspended at the end of the word.

Dear FEMWOC,
FEMWOC, I am a white feminist Mormon Utahn, 22 years old, and I have been heartbroken and furious about what is happening with Sandra Bland. I have primarily lived in white neighborhoods my whole life and unfortunately never had more than three black classmates and friends growing up. I have been reading all of your articles, Twitter feed, and Facebook and I am asking constantly, what can I do more? How can I help “change the system?” I feel more than silly asking you this, but I am still learning how to be a white ally. I am loud on social media, I am remembering the names of those we have lost. What can I do more? I would like to help my brothers and sisters as much as I can. I feel silly asking, but if you have time to reply, I would love to hear. I will keep reading your articles and social media. Thank you.

Love,

A-

Please submit questions by messaging the Facebook FEMWOC page or email us at femwoc@gmail.com.

4 responses to “New Feature: Dear FEMWOC

  1. I don’t have any ideas of my own to contribute — I’m basically in your same position and looking for ways to improve. However, I did just come across this list, and it has some helpful possibilities: http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-14399-how-to-be-an-interrupter.html

    Like

  2. READ! It is great that you are reading our blog and learning about our experiences. I would also suggest reading books that talk more about history and theory. I frequently turn to goodreads for finding new lists. I am suggesting that you do some research and find something that speaks to you right now. From reading one book, you will probably be guided to your next.

    As you are reading and working to understand and you feel like you are starting to ‘get it’, I want you to stop and take a moment to reflect. It is at that point that you know there is still more work to be done. I don’t need an ally that will say they ‘get it’ and act as if they have experienced my pain, I just want someone who is willing to take the time to understand and teach and correct others.

    At this point, continual education and a willingness to speak up but not over PoC is a beautiful contribution.

    What am I reading right now? The New Jim Crow. Still reading, but I highly recommend it.

    Thanks for the question!

    Like

  3. I have found myself engulfed in the sorrow and disbelief around the Sandy Bland situation as well. I watched the original video and then the full length video, and still don’t understand how this happened or why this needed to happen. I found myself online having to defend her, both to white people and to other people of color. I think that you’re off to a great start just asking the question and trying to find a way to do more. Sandy was an activist herself in the #blacklivesmatter movement, which is one of the biggest ironies of this whole thing. She left a series of videos on her Facebook page. Here’s her last one: https://www.facebook.com/sandra.bland.5070/videos/vb.73304051/10100618184266304/?type=3&theater
    Personally, I think listening to the words of the woman herself can be a great place to start. Reading, like Natasha said, can be helpful as well. I also think that this new forum is going to be a great learning tool, since people won’t be afraid to ask questions and others won’t feel uncomfortable responding with how they really feel.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The current structure is always designed to maintain the status quo. Which means that when organizations and communities (MoFem and otherwise) discover that they seriously lack the voices of WOC, its not enough to simply recruit WOC to join a board or guest blog, or whatever. White feminists need to really be introspective and self-critical about what choices and assumptions they are making that make it so easy to exclude WOC’s voices and issues. In theory, feminist work CAN’T be done without intersectionality. Why, then, are white feminists able to do what they do without us there? Why is our participation not critical to moving forward? Why is race work/anti-racism not seen as foundational to feminist activism?

    (I think a good corollary is the recognition that LDS congregations can function 100% without the presence of a single woman. Sure, they are better and enriched and more aligned with the articulated mission when women are integral to administration and ministry, but they are not *NEEDED*. I think white mormon feminists need to recognize that their efforts suffer from a similar phenomenon.)

    So, one big thing to do is to start looking critically at your own activism and communities. Start asking hard questions about the issues you champion and the structure of the organizations and communities you inhabit. What is making them inherently lacking in intersectionality? Are you starting with the wrong questions/issues? (not that your issues are not important, but are you jumping ahead without laying a foundation for intersectional activism? Are you looking ways to help THEM in THEIR causes before inviting them to YOURS or are you simply hoping they’ll lend their hard-won social/political capital to what you have deemed important to you?

    Like

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