Dear White Women,
I have thought about writing this letter for years and have finally realized that it is time. Perhaps a letter that has been long overdue. I have spent more than half of my life writing everything from poetry to novels trying to speak to women and encourage women to live their best lives. I knew after the 2016 Presidential election, I had a lot more to say than what could fit in a poem, so I started my blog. My very first blog, Becky, UGG Boots and Pussy Cat Hats, was read by thousands of White women, many of whom challenged me yet ultimately agreed with me and promised to work harder to fight against racism.
I am always one to give someone the benefit of the doubt.
So begin our awkward relationship. We tried to dance but never seemed to be able to catch our rhythm. You seemed to always step on my toes with “Not All” and “Not Me,” at inappropriate times. You accused me of being angry and even being racist when I was just telling the truth. Still, I stayed. Even when I started to let my guard down, you reminded me election after election that I was a fool. Yet, you told me that we were in this fight together. So, when it was time to stand up for Botham Jean, a young Black man killed in his own apartment by a White female officer, I looked for you to stand with Black women in protest and I couldn’t find you. I looked for you to stand up in the wake of a hate crime in Kentucky where 2 Black people, Maurice Stallard and Vickie Jones lost their lives, only to be met with indifference. Once again, Black women were alone with our tears, pain, quiet suffering and your deafening silence.
But you told me that were in this together. We were part of “The Resistance.” Yet daily there were missteps and mistakes from #BBQBecky to Blackface, and still, as Black women, we continued to give you the benefit of the doubt. Today, I feel foolish for believing.
I wrote blog after blog hoping that something would resonate with White women and we would see substantial change across this nation, and it never happened. After this week’s midterm election results in key states, I realized that our relationship was never one based in love and understanding. You did not love me or see me as your equal, and throughout history you never did. You were never going to vote for a candidate that fully supported Black women. You were never going to collectively vote against Whiteness. Black women were just your mascot; that Black woman you could point to and say, “Look, I follow Hannah online, and I read her blog every day and I always like her posts. I am not like THOSE White women. Hannah and I have a relationship.” But let’s be honest, we don’t have a relationship. A relationship is based on trust and mutual respect. And time and time again you have shown me that as a Black woman, I cannot trust you and by the way that you vote, you do not love or respect me. You whisper sweet nothings of justice in my ear. You use words like intersectionality and inclusivity, but you are double-tongued. You say one thing yet repeatedly do another. You have been duplicitous in your ways.
I realized that Black women were just your plaything, something to entertain you on Twitter and Facebook. We were your live and in color resistance rom-com Black best friend. We were your “hey, girl,” “yaassssssss,” and high fives. We were your sassy finger snap, neck roll, and “Auntie.” We were the face of your resistance memes as we “reclaimed our time.” Black women made the days pass faster until you could get your next Resistance fix. Until the next march, the next hashtag, the next knitted hat, Black women were your entertainment. Black women were your hidden lover. Someone you cherished online, cloaked in the anonymity of social media with no real commitment. God forbid your racist boyfriend or husband knew you were cheating on him with Black women telling the truth. We were your 2 am social justice booty call. After you got what you wanted from us, you would find your way back home to White patriarchy and supremacy, hoping that you didn’t smell of your online Black woman resistance lover. Black women were just the trendy thing, and just like Louboutins or bedazzled fanny packs, White women love to possess what is trendy.
To be honest though, perhaps that is our fault. Maybe we overlooked your flaws because ego got in the way. Many Black women had found an unoccupied niche. A platform that had been covered in dust and cobwebs was now available for us to brush off and assume our seat on panels and nightly news channels underneath glowing lights and hot mics. For many Black women, the period after the election was the only time we had a voice, the only time someone would listen to us, the only time that we were the authority. So, we carved out spaces and demanded checks next to our names to signify that we were the official voice of Black women. We started PayPal and Patreon accounts. We were in demand. For once we were the commodity on our terms. Or so we thought. We fought to hold the 53% accountable but accountable to what? Maybe we overlooked reality. We have tried for years to find common ground and work together yet it never seems to work. So it is best that I stop trying.
Breaking up is never easy to do, but I have decided that for those in the 53% and beyond, I must go my own way and you must go yours. As the saying goes, it is not you, it is me. Throughout history up until today, you have always been who you are, and it is my fault for not believing what you showed me. What I want for Black people is liberation and justice. I cannot fight for those things while trying to pull you along. Black women are drowning, and for me to swim, I must cast aside any dead weight. I am sure somehow you will find a way to float. White women always do. I have decided that I do not have the time or energy to make something work that just doesn’t seem like it wants to work. Maybe we are trying to force a relationship that was never meant to be. Perhaps we are pointlessly fighting to find similarities that we just do not have. Maybe we just found ways to tolerate each other instead of genuinely understand each other. Maybe we didn’t want to see, and I have to be okay with that as I continue on to fight with and stand with others that are genuinely about liberation and justice.
I can no longer fight to make you aware or make you want to convince your friends and family what is right. If the unjustified murder of Black men and women at the hands of those sworn to serve and protect won’t do it, I don’t know what will. If the countless KKK rallies won’t do it, I don’t know what will. If a President that calls Black women low intelligence won’t do it, I don’t know what will. If the blatant racist attacks against Black political candidates won’t do it, I don’t know what will. If a Black mother burying her 12 year old son won’t do it, I don’t know what will. If the murder of Maurice Stallard and Vickie Jones, two Black people that just stopped for groceries won’t do it, I don’t know what will. Black women have explained our position in blood. Do with it what you will.
But now I know, in life, some things just cannot be salvaged.
It’s Not You, It’s Me. I’m breaking up with you.
A Black Woman
Categories: Current Events, Politics, Race Relations, Thoughts, Musings and Reflections
Amen. Hannah, I have read your blogs wherein you showed countless facebook & twitter convos passionately, yet patiently, pleading with them to fight for justice, explaining things in plain English to them, asking for compassion, pouring love out of your heart to stone-faced evil women who responded to you with combative rhetoric, racism, & personal attacks on your beautiful blackness. Thank you for all that you have done & I’m sure the Lord will bless you for all of your efforts. I’m happy that you have decided to take care of YOU now. Black women ARE NOT Amerikkka’s wet nurses anymore. White women weren’t taking care of themselves, their men(boys), or their children(heathens) back then…our ancestors did it FOR THEM. We musn’t do it FOR THEM NOW.
These females only “resist” when THEIR friends, family, & loved ones have been violated in some fashion. These are the same folk who CONSISTENTLY pull the “n-word” when they have no other verbal ammunition. Pure cowards, just like their beloved white boys. Now that you have “kicked the dust [dung] off of your feet” you can heal in preparation for their day of destruction. They don’t even know, these white boys don’t really give a damn about them either. They are the pawns(enablers) of white supremacy, just like during slavery. They still carry resentment for the fact that their beloved white boys were having [non-consensual] sex with black women & producing “mulattos” such as myself. I am a walking reminder to them that their white boys strayed & I have had NO PROBLEM stating it to their faces.
Even though I don’t personally know you, I’m praying for your continued strength & complete healing. You have dropped a HEAVY burden that you needn’t carry any longer.
Blessings & favor to you & your family. (Please forgive my long-winded comment.)
Thank you Hannah. Thank you. I’m so glad I found your page. I felt like I was screaming in the darkness and no one could hear, let alone understand. Keep writing.
Youre a gift Hannah.
Thank you so much, Rev. Findley!
Great column and you hit the nail right on the head!! Keep up with your columns and let’s band together and keep the faith. You definitely speak truth.
Thank you, Sybil. You already know. Keep your head up as well and keep writing. One day someone will dust off our old articles like scrolls and say, “These women were on to something.” LOL! ❤️
Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!!!!!
Thank you so much!
I don’t know why, but for some reason, I put myself in a white person’s shoes reading this and felt a mixed of emotions. I felt sadness, disappointment, and anger. Then I felt regret, sarcasm and hostility. I’m channeling this “Who does Hannah think she is breaking up with me?” voice that some might take as a kick in the face because they really felt a friend in you when in retrospect, they were using you to say, hey, this is my black friend Hannah, I told you I wasn’t racist.”. Still not accepting accountability in their actions. This is an excellent read.
Thank you for reading, Ronika. I know this blog will stir up a lot of feelings. Even before I wrote it I was debating it over and over because I assumed the “not all” and “not me” emails would come and I wasn’t in the mood for that. So far though everyone has been understanding and that leads me to believe that they they understand Black women cannot continue to do this. It is disappointing and such a let down especially when you are continually trying to make something work. One person asked me, “Can we still be friends?” Undoubtedly! That won’t change but even a friendship should be one based on truth and love. How do we have a friendship when I am not sure if you try care about whether I live or die from day to day? I could go on and on but you get me. I just wrote this blog and already hundreds of people have read it and I am very interested in their responses. It is a biting truth but I have learned at times you need to use a chisel and other times you need to use a hammer. This is the hammer.
White woman here and I don’t care if you and your racism does with you
I love this. I will take this with me everywhere. Thank you for this.
Thank you so much for reading and your willingness to take it with you. That means a lot. ❤️
An excellent read, and no, you’re not the only one breaking up with them:
https://medium.com/@TaLynnKel (various writings)
https://medium.com/@TaLynnKel/2018-midterm-elections-aka-white-people-love-white-supremacy-423b6074bdc (specific post)
There’s a discussion between these two women that I thought was hella relevant to this discussion. Robin DiAngelo is the author of the book White Fragility and she very bluntly puts it all in perspective:
‘The White woman is the house dog. She gets to live indoors and sleep on the bed. The Black woman is the outside dog, she sleeps on the porch. The biggest difference between them is that the Black woman knows full well that she’s a dog.’
You should listen to the whole discussion. Its enlightening. Go to 34:20 to hear the quote in context.
Another strike against DiAngelo in my book. First, this is FAR too charitable to white women, who are not dogs of any kind— they are the mistresses of the house, while the white men are the masters of the house. WW possess a tremendous amount of power and influence; they are far from “inside dogs.” Second, characterizing black women as “dogs” of any kind, for any reason, at any time, is 1000% a no-go— full stop, no exceptions, ever.
Separately: Hannah Drake’s piece is brilliant, powerful and painful. Thank you, Hannah Drake.
Are these two White woman discussing this issue? White women are not the house dog. I wonder how they came up with that? Even the language is off putting. Black women knows full well that she’s a dog? Wrong.
Yes, it’s two white women and I’m not sure who DiAngelo was quoting. I don’t think she came up with this analogy herself, though. Let me see if it’s quote I can find and get back to you.
I couldn’t find a quote for that by googling it but I hope she didn’t come up with it herself. This was video on Matthew Shockley on YouTube. He’s had several conversations with these two women and normally they are correct in their racial assessments, but this is either a misstep on DiAngelos part or I’m not putting it in proper context. It is what I heard her say though.
Umm women aren’t dogs, that would be dogs. Dogs are dogs haha.
I read this one and spent some time contemplating if I should say anything and if and where I should. I spent a lot of time contemplating what I should say if I chose to. I read this and all that comes to mind is that I’m sorry Hannah. Like you I was hopeful things would turn out better by now, be better by now. I appreciated the tact you took in writing such a difficult message, knowing it could cause a knee jerk backlash from a lot of women. To be frank I see that in a lot of your work, and have always tried by best to look at the underlying message and not dismiss it. I’ve learned a lot of things, and maybe have a lot left to as well ( as I’m sure we all do heck as humans we all do). I found myself scared to write even this very message, and kept thinking even more how intensely more scared you have to be to write every post and poem you do. For what it’s worth you will always have a friend in me if you want one, for what it’s worth ( although you may not need it) you always have someone willing to help you if you want someone. I have always tried ( and will continue to) do my best to advocate, be respectful and realize there only is so much I CAN speak on with the lack of personal experience that goes with it ( though I’m always willing to listen and learn). But clearly, as a collective population it doesn’t seem to be enough. I have my own thoughts as to why. Perhaps one day I can share them and we can discuss it. But for this, all this once again I am sorry for the failure of our country to answer the call we were given… for all of us! Trump was even willing to throw his own party members that didn’t support him under the bus what does that say? I’ve already told you of the ballot here in Oldham and the joke it was? What does that say? Yea to me it shows a clear message that most of America seems to be happy with the way things are. Hopefully one day it will be different. Hopefully one Day complacency with the status quo won’t be enough. Sadly for now at least it is what it is 😰
Thank you Renae. While I understand you never have to be scared to share any of your thoughts on this blog. All of them are welcome outside of someone being completely rude and racist. Every time I think about it, I think I do not understand but really I do understand. I just wish it wasn’t this way. But every day I am reminded of why it is this way and that’s a hard pill to swallow every single day. I feel so many people have tried and it is a lot of labor and it is exhausting, like treading water with no land in sight. Perhaps as you said, one day things will be different. The work continues on.
You are nuts.
Why are you here?
Hannah, what a powerful pen you have!!!
Thank you, Deondra! ❤️
As a white woman, I’m listening. I vow to keep learning, reading, and asking the hard questions of who we are and how we change that in our daughters and granddaughters. I also vow to invest more of my time, money and efforts to support the fights I say I stand for… equality, safety for our children and friends, against police violence. I was not previously aware of your blog, wish I would have been before our break-up! While I was not in the numbers of white woman majority that appallingly voted the way they did in this election, I must uncover the white women that I might know who did and take on that fight to change this course! I surround myself with people of likemindedness and took for granted I could trust that…I was wrong too and saddened by it as well. As a white woman my respect for all of what you, as powerful black women have accomplished (despite our failure to be there for you), means little to you I’m sure! And rightly so! Thank you for sharing. Break-ups are always hard, but the best break-ups result in the greatest growth for all! Wake up white women!!!!!!!!! All of us!
Thank you for your comments, Dana. Continue on with the work you are doing.
Thank you Hannah. I thank you for the respect you’ve shown. I know it’s a hard thing to understand, why people are this way. I do have a story to share that I hope will help. It’s a story I’ve been reluctant to share but if will offer any insight at all its worth it. A lot of my moms side of the family were the racists you were speaking about, a few were full on white supremacists ( tried to get me to deny my jewish heritage level). One of them even said “ I don’t want no n word nurse”. One of the most embarrassing and shameful displays I’ve ever had the displeasure of experiencing. I’m related to this? It puts you in the position one never wants to be in. How can you love this person, knowing what they do? This is your grandpa or great uncle, you get it. It’s a torn feeling between loving your family and knowing what’s right. I’ve done my best to choose what’s right. Despite how hard it can be and I wish these women did the same. I challenged them at times knowing it can result in my own harm. And luckily some actually opened their eyes later in life. Maybe some women out of that dichotomous thought process choose not to challenge. To live in the bubble. Where it’s “safe”. It’s seems a reaction to being hurt and angry. And maybe even feel a bit rejected by “ the other”. Like they can never be accepted by them. They may sometimes take criticism of white people as an attack. Even those who may not necessarily harbor racist tendencies. Maybe see it as “ look at all the mean things they are saying”. Not understanding that if you’re not like that its not really about you then. So Retreat to their group, where we feel once again “safe”. It’s all a result of a lie. One may lose their job to an immigrant and make the false assumption that its “those people” that are the problem. Its “them” that’s causing violence and poverty. These aren’t “‘whites people problems”. And when you know no one else that challenges that. When you don’t even bother to talk to the “other” it’s just reinforced. The lie is reinforced. It’s misdirected hurt, misdirected rage. And many don’t want to even try, it’s easiest that way. It’s easier to dehumanize that way. I don’t know maybe it’s why this issue strikes such a chord now, speaking now cause I couldn’t as much then. I know you’ve probably heard many stories like it, but I once again hope it offers a window into where this all comes from. Continue the work Hannah, we are with you! 🙂 let’s continue the hope we can one day build a better nation for all of us. A nation you will no longer feel like or be “the other”.
Powerful read. Thank you.
So sorry for these failures. Black women do not owe me (us, WW) the labor of explaining “why” and coddling me (us) in exchange for my (our) support for your justice and equality. Thank you for your writing.