A short list of ways white people can be less oppressive

I’ve had a particularly “uncomfortable” weekend. I won’t go into the specifics, but I’ve  been at the center of more than one triggering and oppressive moment with white folks this weekend. So I would like to share a short list of things that white people can do to not make a black girl like me feel like shit.

1. If you want to compliment my hair, wonderful. But please don’t touch it without my permission. And it’s also a little awkward when you say that you wish you could have hair like mine.

2. Please do not claim to understand white privilege and then ask me how to help you be a better ally to people of color. I don’t fucking know. I’m too busy trying to deal with being black. Go read some books. Google it. Or better yet, go talk to other white people about how to not do racist shit. Side note: I googled “how to be an ally to people of color” and immediately found this post

3. This one is a little tricky and I fully expect a few white feminists to push back on this, but don’t critique hip hop for objectifying women when you clearly don’t listen to it and because you are not seeing bodies that look like yours being exploited. We got this. Thanks.

4. And on that note, don’t expect me to know all the hip hop songs. I don’t. A lot of that shit is extremely painful to listen to.

5. Understand that your intentions do not change the way you made someone feel, or make your actions any less triggering or oppressive.

6. Do not use this list, or any other, to gauge whether or not you have checked your privilege. It is not exhaustive.

Feministing's resident "sexpert", Sesali is a published writer and professional shit talker. She is a queer Black girl, fat girl, and trainer. She was the former Training Director at the United States Student Association and later a member of the Youth Organizing team at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She received her bachelors in Women's and Gender Studies from Depaul University in 2012 and is currently pursuing a master's in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta. A self identified "trap" feminist, and trained with a reproductive justice background, her interests include the intersections of feminism and: pop culture, youth culture, social media, hip hop, girlhood, sexuality, race, gender, and Beyonce. Sesali joined the team in 2010 as one of the winners of our So You Think You Can Blog contest.

is Feministing's resident sexpert and cynic.

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