If I needed another reason to believe in The Black Women & White Women Project...
If I needed another reason to talk about or urgently offer it to almost every woman I meet, I found it in an article entitled: “White Women Are Less Likely to Protect Black Women from Sexual Assault.”
The article summarizes results from a recent study conducted by Psychology of Women Quarterly. Researchers found that:
white women in college may be less likely to intervene when they see a black woman at risk of being sexually assaulted than they would if a white woman
was in danger, even though they recognize the risk in both cases.
It is a tragic reality that college-aged women are three to four times more likely than other women to experience sexual assault. It is utterly heartbreaking that women who could intervene to stop an assault won’t if the victim is black.
The explanation for this debilitating lack of empathy is the poison called white supremacy. This powerful poison interrupts the operation of simple human decency. It is unthinkable, in our logical minds at least, that anyone would see and then turn a blind eye to a person in imminent danger. “I would never do that,” some might say and actually believe.
The problem is that white supremacy often does not operate from the logical mind. It operates insidiously causing a programmed, and detached response. Through the lens of white supremacy the black woman in need becomes a sexual temptress who probably wanted and/or deserved what she was getting. She becomes unworthy of protection. At the same time, protecting her becomes testimony against the very supremacy that holds (albeit half-heartedly) white women in esteem.
In the words of Bea Richards’ A Black Woman Speaks, “My sisters, I speak not mockingly.” I understand the origin and force of this woeful disconnect. Frankly, I wonder if
a study of black women onlookers might yield similar results because we, too, have internalized white supremacy.
How can we unite if this poison still runs through us? How can we stand as women, for women, when the wounds we share ooze this toxin? If it is true that insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results, we are crazy to expect anything new from our relationships with each other. To rid ourselves of the poison - we must do something different.
The Black Women & White Women Project is something different. It is a joint effort. It is truth-telling. It is better understanding. It is an antidote to counteract the poison. Thank you for staying connected to this effort. We look forward to meeting you and hearing your voice.
Onward and upward with eyes on the prize,