I wish I could say that I’m surprised and appalled by the ignorance that white men tend to show when they approach me, but I’ve come to expect it. While white men are not the only group to hold racial biases and stereotypes against black women, they tend to be the least informed on the racialized and gendered issues that black women endure.
White men have the privilege of not having to actively think about their intersections of race and gender, which is starkly different from black women’s realities. White men navigate society with relative ease while black women are teetering on the precarious margins of race and gender that they do not have the privilege to ignore.
This is not a game to us, nor is it something we can ignore.
Our race and gender affects the way we carry ourselves, and this uncomfortable mindfulness is something that white men simply cannot relate to. While it may be hard for two people from widely different intersections of race and gender to understand each other, it’s not impossible once the more privileged party (in this case, the white guy) is able to recognize their shortcomings and how the intersections of race and gender affect every aspect of a black woman’s life.
A white man must be willing to work toward a better understanding of how race and gender intersect differently for everyone, and he must also be prepared to speak out against the injustices that their partners will endure.
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