White Women: racism is as insidious as rape culture and misogyny
By Erin White
December 5, 2017
Okay, White Women, hopefully, the last few months of bombshell accusations against powerful men in media, politics, business, etc. have shown you that systematic and institutionalized power imbalances do exist in our society in a wide-spread, culturally embedded way. A way that favors cismen to the detriment of everybody else.
Quite literally, it’s been demonstrated to us that mainstream corporations and businesses (which are dominated and controlled by men) would rather pay out tens of millions of dollars in misconduct allegation settlements for male employees, than they would to pay women fair wages for their work or, employ women at all.
And White America would rather have an unhinged sexual predator for its President than a Black man (or a White woman).
As with the misogyny routinely reinforced by the conspicuous absences of women in positions of power, politically and in business, racism is a powerful system that keeps PoC, mainly, WoC, out of leadership positions and most vulnerable for abuse and marginalization.
It’s not a coincidence that the men now meeting justice are mostly heavyweights, network stars, shot-callers, CEOs.
And it’s not a coincidence that, after 8 years and 683 panelists, Business Insider’s flagship conference has never hosted a Black woman panelist.
Or that when Mwende “FreeQuency” Katwiwa did a rehearsal for the TED Talk she was invited to speak at, she alleges that she was asked to remove the “Black Lives Matter” from her messaging after being told “that it was not worth sharing anymore because something similar had been shared 2–3 times recently.”
Or that, down in Georgia, Stacey Abrams is running to be the first ever Black woman governor of an American state. You see, racism and sexism are friends
Why does this matter?
Because if you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably what’s for dinner.
When a room full of men are the only ones in power, it’s been made clear that their attitudes towards unfairness towards and harassment against women are, overwhelmingly, unbothered. We see this reality bare out in the way men vote. As they voted for Donald Trump last year, White Men voting in Alabama are, so far, unwavering in support for accused child molester Roy Moore.
In the case of Matt Lauer, it’s been said that the fact that he was bringing in so much money for NBC it gave him carte blanche to behave however he wanted. Like Harvey Weinstein Bill O’Reilly, and Kevin Spacey. “When you’re a star, they let you do it.”
Likewise, the police continue to kill unarmed civilians because they’re supported by systems that will shield them.
Bill O’Reilly continued to sexually harass women at Fox because 20th Century Fox allowed him to.
No one person enables abuse or marginalization, it is a collection of people willing to support and uphold ideology and practices that are harmful to others.
In certain cases, like with Weinstein, the ways in which he organized his system of harassment and opportunities for assault, involved women who, too, were victimized despite their compliance. An interesting paradox to consider and I find myself relating it back to the Africans who sold others into the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and the Jews who policed Polish ghettos through to their liquidation.
Fucked up shit happens when power is uneven.
Being in the room is merely the start, White Women, what we need is balanced representation from the top down. If Matt Lauer had to answer to a chair board comprised mostly of women instead of 16 men and 1 woman, might he have felt differently about his ability to behave badly?
If communities of color had the power to hold the police accountable, would they be fired to think before pulling the trigger?
White women, while you’re witnessing the unmasking of sexual predators in power and leadership roles, it’s (finally) time understand that racism, like rape culture and misogyny, is insidious and it manifests as unbalanced power dynamics that enable racial abuse, too.