In a trenchant and heart-rending opinion piece at ColorLines, Jamilah Lemieux, Vice President of News and Men’s Programming at Interactive One, maps out her decision to not participate in the Women’s March on Washington, which was initially organized by mostly White women.
Lemieux, a journalist and longtime activist who recently joined Interactive One, doesn’t mince words in her condemnation of White women’s historic neglect for the causes of Black women, from slavery and reconstruction to the civil rights movement to present day, saying, “I’d like to see a million White women march to the grave of Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth or Audre Lorde, or perhaps to the campus of Spelman College to offer a formal apology to Black women. It’s time for White women to come together and tell the world how their crimes against Black women, Black men and Black children have been no less devastating than the ones committed by their male counterparts.”
From Color Lines:
I’m really tired of Black and Brown women routinely being tasked with fixing White folks’ messes. I’m tired of being the moral compass of the United States. Many of the White women who will attend the march are committed activists, sure. But for those new-to-it White women who just decided that they care about social issues? I’m not invested in sharing space with them at this point in history.
Will the Women’s March on Washington be a space filled primarily with participants who believe that Black lives matter? I’m not sure, especially considering the attitudes of some who have publicly stated that they don’t want to hear calls for attendees to check their White privilege at the proverbial door.
Thus, I am affording myself the emotional frailty usually reserved for White women and tapping out this time. I’m not saying that I will never stand in solidarity with masses of White women under the umbrella of our gender, but it won’t be this weekend. Managing my depression is a complicated daily task, one that will certainly be exacerbated by the presidential inauguration festivities. It won’t serve my own mental health needs to put my body on the line (a body that I believe will invite more violence from Trump supporters than paler attendees) to feign solidarity with women who by and large didn’t have my back prior to November. Not yet. Eventually? Perhaps. But not now.
What are your thoughts about the march? Sound off in comments.