Hi Ms. Sisley,

I agree with your article wholeheartedly but wanted to point out why some may still point out that you have 'more privilege' than a white man. Certainly, a white man claiming this is bizarre and inappropriate, but when some POCs do it, there is a reason.

White women have white privilege, as you point out. They also do not have gender privilege, which you also point out. You also point out that you try to combat racism, and it seems like you are aware and that you do.

Let me point out what may be problems with this and perhaps why white women, even when they are aware, may still be called 'Karen.'

1. White women are long-term beneficiaries of white supremacy. This fact is REALLY obvious to women of color, who deal with BOTH racial and gender subordination.

Many white women center that gender disadvantage while making the racial advantage less relevant. WOC's often perceive this as a psychological mechanism: maintain one's victimhood, which carries with it a sort of power: I can leverage this to gain more by claiming I am getting less.

If you look at the above paragraph closely, you may be able to see why not only WOCs but also white men will find this frustrating: both groups, at some level, realize that when white women take a 'victim' stance they are (inappropriately) leveraging social power because they are not simultaneously admitting their white privilege. So, you will see that WOCs often agree with white men on this count: white men faced with privilege are often forced to admit it, because they have it in every arena. White women, for whatever reason, defer to their victimhood AND then often use it against others when, from POC perspective, the appropriate response is 'yes, I'm a white woman with the massive advantage this brings and will RESIST launching into a conversation about my gender subordination which distracts from that advantage.'

I don't claim you are doing this; I am merely trying to describe why you may get these responses: there is still a collective attachment that white women have to victimhood: they often use it in exaggerated manner to distract from their advantage. This will annoy people who don't have access to that power leverage: chiefly, people of color and white men. Women of color are more aware, in my opinion, because we already know BOTH types of discrimination so must wonder why most white women CHOOSE to focus on their victimhood when they have such a huge social advantage in their whiteness.

2. A second issue: many white people claim to be aware of their advantage. My question to them, after a 30 year career is this: what are you DOING to change the processes of economic reward? The white women I have worked with for many, many years--different ones in different settings--often admit white privilege elsewhere but, when it comes to their own advantage, only admit it in WORDS. Our system hands promotions, awards, etc to white men AND white women. In publishing, it hands rewards to white women left and right, excluding nearly anybody else. So, my request would be to examine the reality of that statement of equality. We know that rewards confer to white people for being white: as an individual white person, are you willing to say you got the promotion, award, publication etc due to the fact that you're white, and return it so that a POC gets that opportunity? We rarely see this: white pp who get rewarded unjustly at the expense of POCs can see when other white pp take advantage but, for some reason, when that reward plops into their own lap, refuse to acknowledge their own extrinsic advantage and RETURN IT AS APPROPRIATE. This is action, not just words: 'I know that, as a white woman, I have huge advantage. Which POC DIDN'T GET THIS because it automated to me due to my whiteness?' This is what white people AREN'T doing while they claim to be anti-racist.

For example, Cummins (American Dirt--did she name it after herself?) published an extremely superficial insulting book about Mexicans, and she got a giant advance for this embarrassment. It's safe to say that both of these rewards including a great deal of white woman privilege, both in terms of getting published AND in terms of getting a massive advance that no POC/untermenschen OF ANY GENDER could dream of getting at her level.

Yet, at no point did she say: perhaps I can be a ghostwriter, put a REAL Mexican's name on the book, make sure the MEXICAN is making the money for his/her/their OWN story, and fading as appropriate given I have no acquaintance with any of these tragedies POCs' go through. Why didn't she? Why did she ALLOW herself to receive not only the fame but also the money that belonged to a Mexican?

There are examples of doing this correctly; for example, David Zirin of Haymarket wrote a book with the football player Michael Bennett, but each book has Bennett's name and face on the cover, and Zirin's is barely noticeable. Bennett also makes the bulk of the profits. This is the appropriate way to write another person's story, especially one which someone like Cummins is much too privileged and spoon-fed to ever understand.

But she didn't: she made herself and her fancy manicure front and center, and let herself take the money that many of us believe should be in Mexican pockets.

So, what I'm trying to say is this: white women are positioned with a great deal of power. Typically, they leverage this power through victimhood. If they continue to do so, they will continue to provoke this response from a number of POCs and in some cases white men: STOP centering your disadvantage and instead center your privilege. POCs are angry because that keeps a heavy white foot on our necks. I think white men respond this way because, when they are called out, they are forced to deal with their privilege while watching white women mask it by distracting with their disadvantage.

The real answer is to not allow an established institutionalized system of white supremacy to continue to benefit white people at the expense of people of color, even if it means 'giving up' the promotion, award, and publication, etc. to the POCs who have actually earned them. When these ACTIONS happen, we will know that white people are truly listening, whether they are male or female.

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She/Her: Distort lies until they amplify truth. CryBaby: As loud as necessary.

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