White women are significantly privileged in our society in a variety of ways. Due to the history of receiving benefits which previously accrued to white men only (with the exception of the protection afforded white women through their marriages to white men, which they already had), many white women make the assumption that they are ‘next in line’ to get benefits, and that POC of all kinds — especially black women — can keep waiting and waiting until white women attain what is due to them first.
When they perceive any threat to this — whether it be financial or cultural, and in this case you describe a cultural situation — -they will use whatever they need to temper that fragility — the same fragility we see in white men, who are the exact group white women have historically — and formally — criticized for having a foot on their necks. Of course, this leads to widespread hypocrisy as white women continue to talk about feminist issues while either not noticing — or, frankly ignoring — the fact that they are doing exactly to POC what they criticize white men for doing for years — decades, even.
Here are some examples of white women, first in line:
- The vote: people frequently speak of the way women got the vote in 1920. This isn’t quite accurate: white women got the vote. The rest of us? Business as usual: no vote. Why isn’t this discussed? Because the fact that white women got the vote is enough for them, despite their claims of ‘equality’ for all.
- The fact that at least one large corporate type — publishing — is now dominated by white women at managerial and executive levels. Others are dominated by white men. Somehow, this seems like an improvement. Dear White women: this is only an improvement for you. Now, instead of only having white male feet on our necks, we also have yours.
- The fact that women’s colleges nationally, which almost uniformly present themselves as liberal and diversity-oriented, have a long history of deliberately excluding ALL types of women of color while including themselves, and simultaneously discussing equality as if they’ve embraced it! White women: this is just another way to white feet on our necks.
- Affirmative action policies which should have benefitted African Americans with a long history of not being paid for hundreds of years consistently go to white women at higher rates than they go to the POC — and esp African Americans — to which they should have gone.
Why are white women the one shedding tears?!
This excellent article points out cultural impact and the way white women use their tears to maintain their superiority, behavior which mimics exactly the behavior they criticize white men for exhibiting. The fact that 54% of white women voted for Trump is telling: as a group, they want nothing more than to protect their free ride — their whiteness — even if it means tolerating his misogyny. And these are the more obvious white women: the conservative ones.
Liberal white women have, instead, created a complex system of supremacy maintenance that includes lying to themselves about their role in it. Thus, tears whenever they don’t get what they want, ASAP.
Right now, the biggest hypocrites are white liberal women, complete with their savasana, a closet full of Birks, and a box of donuts for the Unitarian church meeting. BUT, most importantly, no behavior that would actually change circumstances, such as reparations, or anything else that would jeopardize their power. Of course, they had the same criticism for white men — but when they, white women, exhibit it, somehow it is deemed acceptable through their complex system of self-deception.
This is called hypocrisy, and ultimately, that is what white women tears are: a way to hold onto power while pretending that it doesn’t exist, thus resulting in the maintenance of white supremacy.
The least they could do is be honest with themselves.