“No amount of positivity, light, and love will help us defeat the patriarchy if white feminists can’t tolerate being criticized” (8). If you’re a white lady, you should be reading this book. If you’re a “nice” liberal white lady, you should be reading this book. Let’s be clear and address the white elephant in the room, I know who generally follows TTA. It’s nice white ladies. Many of you joined me last year during the uprisings (you know, remember when everyone cared for a few weeks?) and were hungry for “diverse” books. The kinds of books that aren’t all about white people, those “diverse books”. Please recognize that my eyes are in fact rolling out of my head when I type that. I’m glad you’re here, really. Ecstatic, actually. But now you have to DO something.
Just in case this is a news flash, just reading picture books isn’t going to dismantle the systemic oppression and white supremacy that nice white ladies perpetuate. So read that last sentence again, sit with it, and let’s proceed.
Jessie Daniels lays out exactly what type of monster that society and Eurocentric culture has created, and it’s white feminism. It’s violence against anyone perceived as threatening towards white femininity. It’s history erasing women enslavers and their cruelty. Daniels takes the groundwork that Robin DiAngelo laid with white fragility and expands upon it (DiAngelo’s book is a very solid read and a good starting place for white folks. But it shouldn’t be the ONLY book about CRT and white supremacy culture that a person reads. And yes, I do have to blatantly say this. Like, a lot.).
It’s really easy to blame the patriarchy. I do it all the time. Stub my toe? It’s the Patriarchy’s fault. But the crux of Daniels’ argument is that white feminism is the more insidious threat working behind the scenes. I won’t lay out her entire book structure here, because you really should be reading this yourself, and requesting a copy for your local library, but the conclusion of “Eight Things White Women Can Do” is a brilliant place to end the book. A call to action. So you woke up last year, fabulous. Now, what are you going to do now that you have?
This book was kindly sent by Seal Press, but all opinions are my own!
Jessie Daniels, PhD (she/her), is a Faculty Associate at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center and a (Full) Professor of Sociology at Hunter College, and affiliate faculty in Africana Studies, Critical Social Psychology and Sociology at The Graduate Center-CUNY.
Daniels is an internationally recognized expert on Internet manifestations of racism, and in that capacity presented her work to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland in April, 2019. For more than twenty-five years, she has studied race and racism in various forms of media. Her first book, White Lies (Routledge, 1997), explored far right extremist groups’ printed newsletters, then she followed that with a second book, Cyber Racism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009), which examined some of the same groups and how they had, or hadn’t, moved onto the popular Internet. In that research, she included interviews with young people (ages 15-19) about how they navigate what she calls “cloaked sites,” an early form of online propaganda. She is currently at work on another book in this series, Tweet Storm:The Rise of the Far Right, the Mainstreaming of White Supremacy, and How Tech and Media Helped. She is partnering with a documentary filmmaker to co-produce a film along with the book.