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Girlfriends’ Guide to the Resistance Sisterhood

For White Women Who Commodify Oppression When Their Own Experience is Not Enough

How to be a Sister in the Struggle
Michael Salamone Creative

Dear Miss Ann aka those who wield power for money and pleasure and have no problem exploiting Blackness to get what they need:

Resistance! One of the greatest challenges to our ability to all just be a united front in this “resistance” against 45, is the conditional nature of your allyship. If such alliance ever truly existed in the first place. So much has happened since I first sat down to write this letter. We have seen the inauguration of the 45th President, as well as his flurry of Executive Orders. The rapid mobilization in response to the recent “Muslim Ban” as well as other proposed actions has been inspiring. Post-9/11 we have seen a rise in activism and movement building across many issues. The rise of movements such as BDS, Occupy, Climate Change, and Black Lives Matter have set in place the foundation for much of the work that is beginning to occur in this new wave of organizing and protest. Where this new wave of protests has drawn out those who may have been previously absent from the front lines, there is an opportunity to build.

However, continued divisions persist within an already tenuous resistance alliance. Many of us who would seem to be natural fixtures within these efforts are skeptical. We are wary about your ability to address underlying illness plaguing America and not just the festering boil that is the 45th President and his administration. Some of you seem only in this “resistance” to the extent which you can control the parameters of resistance activity. Few of you seem willing to be uncomfortable in this process, to do what it takes to grow beyond yourself and build with others. We are continuously bombarded with the generic “we have to all stick together.” But that is just code for once again you need once again to swallow your pride, issues, and own struggle and get with us on our milquetoast journey to get back on our perch. Don’t get me wrong; he has presented himself to be as problematic, dogmatic, and idiotic as was feared. Unfortunately these days Everybody Is Problematic!

Stop Speaking as if Your Perspective is The ONLY Perspective

I get that you are scared and frustrated with 45 and his administration. However hard it is for you, please understand that your experience or “conversations” with people from other backgrounds does not make you an expert on those experiences. Our struggles, challenges, and concerns are not to be weaponized by you or your associates in ongoing power struggles with other white people. You may have women of color friends with whom you regularly commiserate. Their experiences are not yours to exploit and manipulate to prove how down you are with x cause. The lesson here is if you do not have a valid point to make without evoking the experience, perspectives, or challenges of groups you are not a part of…just don’t. Listen and lend support. It’s ok not to be the center of attention.

Drop the Blame Game

Losing is tough, particularly when the opponent is less than worthy. It is common for there to be a period of sadness, even remorse over what could have been. Unfortunately, no last-minute intervention magically came to turn back time. A lot of mistakes were made during the election cycle. It is time to leave the denial corner and come into the real world with the rest of us. Team Clinton lost. Not because of Bernie Sanders. Not because of a few people who voted third-party. Not because of the Russians. But because of hubris and haughtiness. Not going to places like Milwaukee and assuming that riding on the coattails of famous people would be enough lost the election. Listening to Algorithm Ada, lost the election. Blaming everyone else, without honest self-reflection will lead to another round of midterm losses in 2018, and we can kiss 2020 goodbye. Fear and loathing in Camp Clinton is a festering wound on the ability of the rest of us to move forward and do real work. If we have to keep explaining to you so woke liberals your way is a losing strategy, we will not be able to get the rest of our work done. Put on your big girl pants and let’s get it crackin!

This is Not A Disney Channel Show

Social media is tough and brings out the worst in many. There are problematic actors on all sides. What is happening to you isn’t a part of some “Bernie bro” conspiracy to silence you and your large platform.  It is going on because your Twitter temper tantrums and random Facebook cries for help are evoking a visceral response in the masses. Attacking the work and policies of others isn’t going to change any of the things you claim to care about. Instead of shitting on the work of others, be present and do good work. Creating conflict and being petty to make yourself feel better is cool if you are starring in a Disney Channel movie. This is real life, and you are often in positions of power and opportunity. Using that power to have a pissing contest is a waste of space, time, and attention in this very important moment of issue-based advocacy and people-driven movements. We don’t need passive allies; we need active co-conspirators. You are either all in, or in the way.

You Cannot Half-Step On Equality

Woman responding to Women’s March Intersectional Platform

We do not have the luxury of allowing people in our spaces who do not want to work with us toward equality for all. You cannot claim to want to resist 45 and his administration and defend against the coming tyranny, and yet be silent on systemic oppression deeply rooted in the fiber of America. Stepping outside of your personal realm of privilege is a necessity. When you conceptualize the fight for others to have self-determination, to make decisions for themselves, as being against you or not “inclusive” of your discriminatory viewpoints you are part of the problem.

There is no more biting our tongue for the sake of the greater good. There is no more going along to get along because we are all in this together. You have to be willing to lay it on the line to fight injustice or else you are no better than those now sitting at the helm. The attacks on various groups are not just cannon fodder for your organizations to churn out fundraising emails or your latest hit piece on the administration. We are real people, with real struggles.

I am My Sister’s’ Keeper

I hear you when you say we are all sisters, and we are in this together. But let’s be real, that only applies to issues and people you find valuable. When it suits your interest personally or professionally, you will turn against me and mine in our struggle for liberation. Your resistance is intersectional only when it suits your fancy.

We do not have the time nor the energy to sit by as mammies to your “resistance” and listen to you call out hypocrisy while you spin a web of your own. We are not here to be handmaidens to your “suffering” as you snatch the spotlight to put on your issues while neglecting millions who do not hold your place in society. This is not how “resistance” works.

Corporatist feminism does not trickle down. Either you work with us and build new systems and processes from the ground up, or you get out of our way. It doesn’t matter how many wonderful black women have called you friend. They get called out too, for not correcting your crap behavior. I will not stand by and watch my sisters be railroaded for speaking truth to power. I will not stand by like a smiling sycophant while you wax on about the evils of 45, only for you to step on my back to get ahead. No more. Holding the liberal banner does not make you less racist than your counterparts across the ideological spectrum, you just understand you need us. We are not a shield, a robe, or any other covering that helps protect you and your interest. We are a dynamic force of our own, and we will continue to advocate for ourselves, our communities, and everyone else without a voice. Just fall back and watch us work. You can either join us as we move forward or stay stuck in antiquated notions of power and importance.

I am all for working together to build a better tomorrow. I am all for working together to address systemic oppression and deep seeded issues in this country. But please most definitely always understand…I am My Sister’s Keeper.

Written by Anoa Changa

Mom 1st, Lawyer 2nd. Anoa Changa is Director of Political Advocacy and a Managing Editor of Progressive Army, as well as a member of its Editorial Board. She hosts The Way with Anoa, Wednesdays at 9pm ET on YouTube . Follow her on Twitter @TheWayWithAnoa. "Never tell me the odds." - Han Solo


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  1. I could not figure out how to say this. I didn’t understand why I didn’t feel compelled to march that day. I should have felt it but all I felt was…usurped, I think. How can you protest the man without protesting the underlying issues that got him elected? Thank you Anoa.

  2. Good article, and many things that needed to be said. This was sent to me because you used my tweet as an illustration of doing it wrong. That tweet was part of a thread responding to someone else’s long deleted tweet. That’s why “income inequality” is in quotes, it was someone else’s phrase not mine. I’ve explained a dozen times, apologized to anyone who confronted me about it, and deleted the thread. I do understand the error is mine. As a comms consultant this is the kind of mistake I constantly warn people about. Context is short-lived but twitter is forever. In the heat of the moment I tweeted carelessly and I have lived to regret it ever since. I wouldn’t ask you to take the tweet down, it exists independently from me now, but I just wanted to say my piece. Thank you.

    • I appreciate your candor in this exchange. That tweet at the time I was writing this piece (along with various exchanges and tweets since then) highlight a problem that has been occurring with increasing frequency over the past election cycle. Using “someone else’s” words doesn’t take away from the point you made that required an explanation to understand how problematic it was after the fact. And yes it occurs on multiple fronts. However, since we are having this exchange, there are times when your tweets erase progressive women of color regardless of whether you feel that is what you are doing. It isn’t just “nitpicking” as one of your followers mentioned during an exchange about some of your tweets re Democrats and reparations. A few of us in my immediate circle tried to engage you on that exchange and others. I also get how it can be on twitter when people pile on, but as recent as a few days ago you doubled down on the essence of that tweet. It is very frustrating for someone who holds themselves out as a progressive to engage in such erasure on a frequent basis.

      This election cycle was toxic, and we have many people speaking in absolutes that undercut various experiences and attempts at “unity.” Sadly, there are times when you repeat and/or share very condescending and reductionist viewpoints that erase a lot of people who work really hard. To make this simply about loss of context or twitter being difficult to convey content is overly simplistic. And yes I call out folks regardless of who they supported during the primary or previously worked for. I have also had no problem criticizing Senator Sanders and his staff even while supporting them. There is a bigger problem within the party and how it engages people and this scapegoating doesn’t help any of us reach people on the ground.

      Also, if as a communications professional you believe that context and even intent is lost via twitter, why continue using it to discuss such serious matters? I have witnessed your long threads, and watched you expound upon your points, so you can do nuance when you want. While twitter is short and limited, it has become a source for communication and information. The purpose of the article is to get folks to think beyond their personal framing when engaging, particularly when they have a large reach and platform. I’m glad you found it to be a good read.

      • To be clear, the offending tweet was critical of the previous poster but I’m aware that it does not read that way. I also think this tweet colored everyone’s interpretation of anything I subsequently posted on the topic. I’ve always tried to respond to critics when reasonable but in recent weeks that has become impossible. More than likely I didn’t engage with your circle because I’m not going to argue with how you feel. How you feel is valid. I might think referencing an 80-20 split among AA voters in SC is a discussion of demographics that “proves” whatever point I’m making. In my mind, why the 20% differs from the norm is a different discussion – as I keep saying, you can’t always fit everything into one tweet. But my intentions don’t change the fact that such language makes you feel erased, so all I can do is apologize- a dicey prospect on Twitter – and strive to make my point in a better way. I know that good faith can’t be argued, that it must be earned. All I can do is keep trying.

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Response from Government on Revote Supreme Court Case Due February 21

How to be a Sister in the Struggle

Girlfriends’ Guide to the Resistance Sisterhood