They say Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. A year ago I interviewed 8 white women about what they are doing to keep to Check Their Privilege, in hopes to not cause harm to Black Indigenous Women of Color. That one question has led me down the path of 12 months of up’s, down’s, and deeper self-reflection.
After 12 months of trying to figure out different ways to hold white women accountable to show up without causing mental distress to Black Indigenous People of Color, it comes to my attention… it’s damn near impossible. In fact, I could say that it had more of a negative impact on my mental health than one could imagine. This is not to guilt or shame members of my community or followers of my work. This my truth.
I’ve tried workshops, webinars, social media communities, live streams, sales funnels, workbooks. All the traditional CIS WHITE brand and marketing techniques I know because.. I’m trained as a marketer. Each quarter I’d swap out my approach, my offers, call my handlers (white women), ask them for advice and no matter what was offered I realized you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. The lack of participation and/or interest felt like a perpetual failure. One example (and there are many), in my online community, harm was caused, a restorative circle was held, the group committed to the process… A majority of women ghosted their commitment. “Ghosting is the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.” I’ve learned when building a community, ghosting is to be expected.
Experiencing what Kim McLarin calls “ pick and choose self-righteousness.” I found my self experiencing the negative effects of the entrepreneurial growth cycle. You see, like most entrepreneurs, that feeling of inadequacy whispers in your ear that you’re not good enough, articulate enough, non-credentialed enough and so on.. But I realized, in a white supremacist racist world no matter what credentials I have this would still happen unless I was vetted from the inside. White supremacy patriarchal colonial racism makes it hard for white folks to consistently show up. Patriarchy is so good at shaming ALL of us for showing up at our fullest most compassionate human potential. It is so insidious that we can’t even drop into our shadow selves and witness our own relationship with internalized oppression.
With these revelations in mind, I now know that it wasn’t the feelings of inadequacy that was holding me back from moving forward. It was my own internalized oppression getting in the way. No longer looking at the situation with rose colored glasses I realized two self-identified truths. One rooted in my real and raw masculine self and the second truth rooted in matriarchal, “heart-centered” accountability, plus compassion which leads to co-conspired action.
Most white women STILL aren’t ready to do the work. Well, unless the work is led by a white non-threatening cis white affinity expert. White folks, particularly white self-identified woke folx, cannot sit in a BIPOC led space without naming Dr. Robin Diangelo, Time Wise and the like, as their superhero. I truly believe there is room for both. Remember, most of the research from these individuals is taken from the perspective of BIPOC living, working, and existing in a white racist oppressive society. So will the real expert’s (BIPOC) please stand up.
Most white women STILL aren’t ready to do the work due to embarrassment, shame, fragility, and guilt. The gut-wrenching choice to look inside yourself, face yourself and dismantle your own privilege is too hard to handle. With the deep level of accountability that I offer in hopes to end throw-away culture, many feel ashamed, fear getting the work wrong, and flog themselves for not getting it right.
My way forward
As a woman who tends to lead from an empathic, intuitive matriarchal space, I do not condone or stand throw-away culture. My offer is honestly not about me, but about US learning to lean into the discomfort of dismantling the systems of oppression together. I recognize that most aren’t ready for the deep level of accountability I offer to be actual work, and that’s ok too. This work requires us to challenge the norm, go beyond the GRE Lexicon dominating cis white anti-racism spaces. It requires a culture shift depending on self-reflection and accountability while digging deep to figuring this s*** out. Collective group thinking is amazing, but a large majority of the work is about our individual journey to reconcile with your racist and/or oppressed selves in hopes to have a shared responsibility in doing this work.
I recognize it’s hard for white women to dig into those dark spaces and seeing what subconscious and unconscious truths allow their actions to cause harm to Black, Indigenous, People of Color. I realize it’s not just doing the work that’s important, it’s what I call Living Into The Work. Living into stepping back. Living into owning your mistakes… Living into dismantling white supremacy racism to dismantle the systems that set BIPOC to FAIL while rebuilding a system that allows us to succeed.
What I know for sure is that I am the expert in this work, because I LIVE INTO THE WORK, shaped by my life experience every Day. No amount of credentialed experience will shy me away from continuing to hold white women accountable for the way they show up. Even when they ghost the process, I will continue with this work, welcoming anyone who cares to co-conspire with me.
Myisha T is a Mental Health Activist, Speaker, and entrepreneur. Through Check Your Privilege, she guides co- coconspirators to explore their relationship with power, privilege, and racism.