On “Sh*t White Girls Say…” : Making Microaggressions Conscious

A Youtube tsunami of sh*t all kinds of people say (and birds and wookies and beyond) has been flooding the internet.  Ranging from hilarious, brilliant and edgy to somewhat tired at this point, this formula has been a tremendously generative capsule to fill and spread, making us crack up by hearing things we’ve heard so many times with new ears, giving the familiar an anthropological twist.  One version of this creative phenomenon, “Sh*t _____ says to…_____” has also taken on a digital wildfire life of its own, sparked by graphic designer, video blogger and hair stylist Franchesca Ramsey, whose “Sh*t White Girls Say…to Black Girls” was the first viral video of 2012, now reaching over 7 million views.  Seven million views. Clearly a massive nerve was touched, and there have been waves of commentary and controversy, with high praises, gratitude, and, predictable accusations of “reverse racism”, or the “blacklash” as Ramsey has dubbed it. … Read more

Narratives of White Women Used to Uphold Racism and Patriarchy: A Partial Timeline

This is a timeline we use in White Noise workshops to help make visible dominant representations of white women that have historically served to reinforce, normalize and naturalize forms of racist violence and patriarchal oppression.  How do these narratives of white female sexuality and identity (re)appear in the present? How do they continue to live in our imaginations, bodies, dreams, media, collective consciousness, politics? By no means attempting to be some kind of comprehensive history, but rather pulling out some key threads in the unweaving of structures of domination.  Here we go:

Captivity narratives, stories of women and men of European descent who were captured by Native Americans, were immensely popular in in both the US and Europe from the 17th century until the close of the United States frontier in the late 19th century. A defining genre of American literature that told tales of Indian savagery, the bravery of white male settlers, and the vulnerability of white women in need of protection and rescue.… Read more

What’s Awesome About White Women?

Naming what sucks about white women is really easy and really satisfying. We do it a lot, especially us white women. We get to have the satisfaction of differentiating ourselves from the white female “prototype” ie. a hetero barbie who is a pretty, nice, passive, pure, covertly racist, helpless trophy and (do a really common thing that white women do) compare ourselves and think, “See we know what that is, and we are better than that”.  In our workshops we spend a lot of time naming what the white female prototype is in an effort to shift towards a radical anti-racist white female practice and away from the myth that we are all just individuals with no culture (we may not want to claim it as our culture, but it impacts us all nonetheless). After this mostly negative naming (see the White Female Culture post) we’ve asked, “What’s awesome about white women?”

This question always makes us incredibly uncomfortable.… Read more