Note to White Women: You're Not Allowed to Speak Out Against Racism

Navigating the do’s and don’ts of race sure is tricky these days, but Charlottesville at least has everyone on the same side taking issue with racist chuckleheads — so that’s a good thing, right?


Obviously, most people have taken a few shots at the neo-Nazis at Charlottesville. A few have even found relationships between what took place and their own pet issues, unsurprisingly.

However, if you’re a white woman, you need to kind of sit there and shut up apparently.


Do not be a white woman who uses a white supremacist uprising to “find her voice.” Do not be a white woman who dresses up a tweet about her book deal in the language of righteousness while black and brown people are suffering. Do not be a white woman who uses a tragedy to promote her brand. Do not be a white woman who talks when you have nothing to say.

I recognize that talking can feel like healing, and I suspect that the impulse to speak out in the face of injustice is near universal. But I’m also willing to bet that the urge to speak out, no matter the topic, no matter the time is probably more common among journalists, writers, comedians, actors, politicians, and the otherwise famous than it is in the general population. Women of all races in these professions are forced to spend an unfair amount of time defending their right to hold them in the first place and to offer opinions and perspectives publicly—particularly on topics of any seriousness. But since the election of Donald Trump, the sexist fruit has hung so low that very little seriousness is required grab it, name it, and make it your beat.

And many of us have. In the months that followed the election, white women who write were treated to a spate of pieces reviewing our work that were all called some variation of “Surprised Teen Vogue Covers Politics? You Shouldn’t Be.” Some white women who write about politics, social justice, and Donald Trump for women’s publications read these pieces and thought, “yes, that is my job.” Others thought, “now is the time to build my brand,” and sell t-shirts, and they went about doing so with less wit than gusto and less sensitivity than shamelessness.


In other words, no matter the validity of what you have to say, if this is what got you motivated to speak out, shut up.

What crime motivated this, though? What horrible thing was said by a white woman that necessitated this post? Oh, it was horrible.

I’m not saying there aren’t plenty of people capable of speaking plenty of stupid. Just read Duca’s post at Teen Vogue about Charlottesville.

However, she’s not “building her brand.” A case can be made that her brand is far more prevalent than that of a Jezebel editor or some random woman on Twitter. After all, she’s an award-winning columnist who writes for a large publication that has far broader appeal than one of the surviving Gawker brands.

I may not agree with a single word Duca writes, but the beauty of our country is that she’s free to write them. The beauty of being a liberty-minded guy is that I don’t have to agree with her to defend her right to write things.


Yes, even if she were building a brand.

But hey, if Jezebel and company want to alienate their supposed allies as the left eats its own, then do continue. Just give me a heads up next time so I can pop some popcorn.


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