I recently wrote a guest blog post for The Exponent II talking about some of my encounters with white LDS women at different stages of my life, sharing some of the racist comments they have said to me. I went on to share the post with friends and some of the women I mentioned. Most of them sincerely apologized and went on to express how the encounter changed them and propelled them to confront the racism that they hadn’t realized was a part of them and are now doing the work of anti-racism. One of them told me they hadn’t remembered saying what they did, but that IF they had offended or hurt me that they were sorry and that they are married to a black person now and will someday raise a black family. I told them that I remembered the encounter and shared the post with them because I wanted them to read it and I thanked them for doing so; they thanked me for sharing.
Fast forward a few hours later, I get a message from their black spouse stating that I had labeled their partner a racist and that they had come crying to them because they didn’t remember saying what they did and had apologized and apparently I didn’t accept the apology and so on and so forth.
So, in sharing my personal experience with this person they claimed that I was now labeling them a racist, didn’t accept their conditional apology, and they were married to a black person and speaking up about injustices, so somehow it meant that I could no longer share my traumatic experience that happened at their hands. It’s okay that they no longer remembered it because I remember it like happened yesterday. In fact, the night after it happened I told several people about it when I got home.
Who stands up for the black woman? When are we allowed to be upset because our character was attacked? Who has the black woman’s back?
Why do white women get away with doing and saying racist stuff while black men are murdered because of it? While black women are threatened and made to feel unsafe because of it? While black families are disrupted from having a fun family gathering because of it? While the worker can’t do so in peace because of it?
Being married to a black person, having a black in-law, having black children/grandchildren, even having black siblings does not absolve you from racist behavior and implicit biases. When you use the black person in your life as an excuse for your egregious behavior you are using our skin color as a defense for yourself, but when we are targeted and murdered because of our skin color you are silent and suddenly no longer comfortable with talking about race and race relations. Black bodies are only bothersome to you when we are seemingly inconveniencing your life. Black bodies are only okay with you when we are entertaining you, feeding you, humoring you, or guarding you from being labeled a racist.
I have learned that although many people are slow to defend and support black women we continue to rise and force our voices to be heard, because even when we are pushed out and dismissed you will still hear us.