Taylor Hall

Where Were You? A Response to the Women’s March (and My Facebook Friends)

On the day of the women’s march in Washington, I could not hold my grievances so I aired them out. After seeing video footage and photographs from the march, I took to my personal social media pages and shared the one thought I couldn’t let go of:

There were mad amounts of white women at the march, as if they weren’t the reason Trump won.

As expected, as a black woman speaking up about the march, I was met with everyone’s favorite claim: I was being divisive. I was met by two non-black people of color telling me that I shouldn’t discourage anyone from marching because, and I quote, “We’re all in this together.”

Honestly, at this point words like, “Unity” and “We” cause me so much irritation that it makes my ass itch.

I even had someone I’ve admired for years throughout my college education make a similar point, quoting that Ella Baker wouldn’t have asked, “Where have you been?” and instead responded with a, “Glad you’re here.”

Well, it’s 2017 and I am a black woman still marching and fighting for my rights. My feet hurt. My back hurts from shouldering all of this pain and struggle inherited from the people who marched and fought before me. My damn head hurts from always being there to clean up the mess white women make and offering them a hand and forgiveness. Black women have always been in this together with everyone, from the black men that consistently refuse to acknowledge their ability to oppress us, to NBPOC that rarely show up and out for us like we do them, to white women that always, always, always want to know, “Why we make this about race.” because they still can’t wrap their minds around our simple request to be seen for all we are.

I can’t be Ella Baker. I can’t look at you and lie and say, “I’m glad you’re here.”

It DOES matter where you were before this moment because I know that your involvement here, right now, is rooted deeply in self-interest and completely half-assed.

I have something I’ve been battling with and it’s my desire for you all to see me completely. When I speak up, you condescend and play victim, you only reply when you want to berate me for my very valid opinion and I’m tired. Suddenly, all of you want unity, but you’re late as hell to the party.

Where were you?

And even now, after all of this, where are you? Why aren’t you comparing and contrasting how police officers respond to groups of white women protesting and how they react to groups of black people arguing against injustice? Why can’t you notice that you sound exactly like men when you hit us with that, “Not all white women.” response and show us how you feel when you aren’t as quick to shut that down when you hear it. Did you stop those women that took pads and wrote on them instead of just donating those items to less fortunate women? Did you tell that woman at the protest with the “No pussy, no power!” sign how exclusionary that was?

I want you to know I see you.

I’ve seen, or rather noticed how absent you were at protest, how silent you were when we were organizing. I see you.

I see you and I raise you nothing. Not a finger or fist.


 

Young, broke and fabulous is how writer Taylor Hall describes herself. On any given day you can catch her on twitter or at your local bar ranting about the world. You can read more from her at her blog, Whattaysaid.com where she documents the many trials and triumphs of life as a young, black woman in America.