While the “social media moment” may have passed, the Zimmerman verdict represents just one of countless examples in an on-going pattern of unrecognized white privilege lending justification to violence against black men. The need remains to continue the conversation about this case, particularly with respect to this pattern. One element of the pattern that is specific to white women is our stereotyped role as virtuous victims who need protection from “bad guys.” Looking at the Zimmerman trial with an eye to this narrative reveals how the verdict was shaped by the white female judge’s decision to frame the case in terms of Zimmerman’s fear, the white female jurors’ description of their key decision as a response to fear, and the significance of the white female neighbor in justifying that fear.
For us and for me, the learning was deep and came in unexpected ways. I learned so much from every workshop, keynote and conversation I participated in, including gaining knowledge about the anti-asian racism perpetuated by use of the practice and term “meditation,” ways that white supremacy shows up in organizational decision-making processes (even collective ones) and the destructive potentials and neocolonialism and international “aid.” Honestly, I couldn’t even begin to summarize these three days.
And so I’m focusing this on the learning that came from the process of presenting our newest workshop, White Females and Helping Professions in the Buffer Zone. In our workshop, we presented some of our thinking about the social construction of the“white female identity” and the “buffer zone,” reviewed a few threads of the historical context that encouraged white females to take on roles in the buffer zone (specifically as a part of the origin and maintenance of capitalism), and then engaged folks in creating a Theatre of the Oppressed piece in order to generate ideas about the patterns and how we can find our zones of influence to make change.… Read more
How have our experiences of gender oppression impacted our work in challenging white supremacy? What patterns are common among people socialized as both white and female? How do they show up or limit our anti-racist work?
In this highly interactive workshop, led by members of the White Noise Collective, we will explore how internalized sexism and heterosexism influences our work for racial justice. Through dialogue, presentation, Theater of the Oppressed, analysis of media images and other experiential activities, we will collectively investigate these intersections and the frequently raised themes of cultural appropriation, passive aggressive behavior, helping professions, and the ‘white women tears’ phenomenon. We will also look at the historic and current mythologies of white women as virtuous victims that are used to justify violence against people of color and co-create creative strateges for countering them.… Read more