As we were discussing today’s articles on white presence in black causes, I mentioned that it called to mind a Saturday Night Live skit the week after the Day Without a Woman. I’ll post it below:
But for anyone who does not want to watch the whole thing, here is the jist: two men decide to write a sketch “for women,” in which they include the entire female cast and discuss the misogyny women face today and how we all have to do something about it. The joke here is that none of the women say a single line except to thank the men for thinking of them.
Feminism and anti-racism are two very different movements, obviously, and it is problematic to equate them, but I couldn’t help but feel as if this particular sketch was extremely reminiscent of white people in black activism. In this sketch, the men are discussing horrors that they have never faced and will never face; in fact, they only know these issues exist because women have told them about it. They are self-righteous and proud that they are such enlightened men who are so in tune with female problems, fancying themselves saviors who are better than other men who ignore this subject. The line they wrote for the women (“Thank you for saying that!”) implies what they wish would happen when this subject came up in real life: women would be gracious that they would even consider these issues.
This is certainly a huge issue with white alliance. Often, white ally groups are more interested in patting themselves on the back for even caring about an injustice they will never face than they are in solving that injustice. I do believe there is a place for white allies in the anti-racism movement, but a quote Delgado used summed it up: if you’re getting anything out of your activism as a white ally, you’re doing something wrong – you should be giving up parts of yourself.