Omkari Williams

The Blog

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What I Want White Women to Do and Know,

I want white women with gentle hearts (the hard hearted ones are beyond my reach or concern) to sit with the discomfort of witnessing black women, indigenous women, and women of color whose hearts have been dismissed, demeaned, and broken. I want white women to witness the pain of living in a world where the color of your skin is the single most important factor in assessing your humanity, your opportunities, your right to even survive on this planet.

I want white women to look, and listen, to observe the systemic racism in our world with the intention of understanding what they are seeing. I want white women to take responsibility for their own education and not ask those in marginalized groups to be their teachers on this journey.

It is not our job to do this work for you. Even if we wanted to, and we do not, we couldn’t. We can’t make you open your eyes to what being white has meant for you. We can’t make you open your eyes to what not being white has meant for us. You have to choose to step into that understanding.

Sit, observe, listen, take the spotlight off your experience and shine that light on others. See what our lived experience is. Witness it, digest what you’ve witnessed, contrast it to your lived experience and let that lead you to create change.

Pay attention, the discomfort tells you where you need to grow. The pain, the shame, and the rage, all these will guide you on your way. Look at the things you want to look away from. Black Lives Matter and #MeToo (started by a black woman) are responses to oppression and injustice. Listen to understand, read to learn, step out of the spotlight.

I get how easy it is to feel guilty about having white privilege, I think that’s a waste of time. This system was in place long before you were here. But the system is in place and you do benefit from it. This is not about blaming you, unless you choose to see and do nothing, in which case you deserve the blame. This is about whether or not you choose to lay down the shield of your privilege and dismantle the system that supports that privilege.

If you truly want justice the price is that you who have privilege lay it down and step off the pedestal that whiteness affords.