I am a white, cis-gendered, heterosexual, married woman with a European name. My husband is a white man. We were both born in the United States to parents who were also born in the States. I was raised in a house with both my mother and father and never knew anything but a happy, extended family. Both of our children were conceived in wedlock and both were delivered in a hospital. My husband’s job makes it possible for me to be a stay-at-home parent who is involved in my school-aged child’s education at a good school. His job also provides healthcare that I am not concerned about us losing. My family has enough political connection (albeit tenuous) that if the government were to come after me there would be people we could call. I am wrapped in so many layers of privilege that if one were to fail I have backups. I am not going to be someone a Trump presidency would come for. My suit of armor is thick.
I marched on Saturday with my husband and daughters. People have asked why someone like me went. Yes, birth control will be heavily impacted but I have had a tubal so even that isn’t a large concern. I do worry about ending up before Congress if they bring back HUAC but even then we could figure out how to come up with the resources to flee the country – a luxury that most don’t have. The truth is I didn’t march for me. I didn’t even march for my daughters. I marched for those who couldn’t.
For too long, white women have been lamenting all the horror in the world while doing nothing to stop it. We wring our hands at the injustice, frown, and go back to our lives. That needs to stop. We must step up and do the heavy lifting. We must wrap ourselves up in the defense that is given to us by society and use it. If I can go to a march, I need to be there. If a Congressperson needs to be called, my phone needs to be at my ear. If I can make a meeting with my Representative, I’m in my car on the way. Right now, there are a lot of people who are afraid and rightly so. If me sticking my neck out means that someone with less privilege than I can stay in the shadows, it isn’t just something that I need to do it’s a moral obligation. Those of us who are protected right now have to figure out what we can do to take the heat off those who aren’t. If we aren’t willing to work for justice, we don’t get to be complain about injustice.
This isn’t me congratulating myself for my action. This isn’t me asking for marginalized people to tell me I’m doing good things and then listen to me talk about them. This is me saying what I’m going to do, and then shutting up so others can talk. I can understand being pushed aside as a woman, but I will never understand how it feels to be a female of color. When those conversations happen, I need to be there as part of a shield of solidarity. Shield don’t speak; they protect and they listen. Right now, that’s what I’m focusing on and it’s what white women need to be willing to do. These are extreme times (and feeling more extreme with each passing day), but that doesn’t make my voice the right voice. I am an ally. I am a friend. So, I marched for people who aren’t me, people I haven’t met and in most cases, won’t ever meet.
Society gave white women a gift; it’s our time to use it.