For centuries fragility, purity and innocence have been used as a depiction of what is “the white woman”. The story of the damsel in distress, has leaped from the storybook pages and spewed into reality. Only this time we need to ask: who really needs saving?
This false narrative of white women not having a hand in how racism has festered from their role in enslavement, Jim Crow through to today’s racist driven ideologies is finally rearing itself.
The damsel in distress tale ends here as we address if the moat is intended to keep her safe or was it to protect us from her?
White Women’s Role in Slavery:
Contrary to popular belief, white women actively participated and profited from the slave market for economic and social empowerment. Though slavery was based on human bondage, to white society this was an economic regime and enslaved bodies held value. From a young age white women were taught how to ‘control’ and manage those enslaved through acts of extreme violence and in many cases a state of near-starvation for the same reasons that white men did...control.
Shannon Keeting from BuzzFeed.News stated: “For centuries, the white damsel in distress has been “protected” from the black man deemed predator by various means of state-sanctioned violence. But while white women might claim otherwise, they haven't merely been a tool wielded by white patriarchs. They have, in fact, actively participated in the disenfranchisement, assault, and murder of black people.”
Erasing the horrors and the darkness of white women’s investment and involvement in the history of slavery has played a significant role as to why we are stunned to see the way that some white women interact with black people today.
Hello Karen...From Jim Crow to Today’s Society
Karen /noun/ : A white woman who uses her privilege and feeling of entitlement to incite danger on black individual(s) that impede on her whiteness by contacting law enforcement.
This racialized group of white women are nothing new and everything to be vigilant of. These antics of aggressive patrolling of public spaces stems directly from whites not wanting to share spaces they felt should be their own. In the 1950’s and 60’s when courts outlawed blatant segregation in public spaces, many whites opposed the change and wanted to keep their areas free of integration of any kind which later led to ‘white flight’.
White people believe they are so entitled that no black person should dare occupy ‘their’ area. Out of hate and fear of losing the power they worked so hard to steal and murder for, they are lashing out in ways they have always done, only now it is being filmed. #ExistingWhileBlack is exhausting when living in a world built entirely on racism. The days of stepping off the curb when a white person is approaching, giving up a seat in public transit to a white person, are over white White America. We are here. We are not moving.