Dear White Men

[Content Note: Terrorism; racism; white supremacy; patriarchy.]

White people need to be talking to each other about the white supremacist terrorist act in Charleston last night.

We need to be talking to each other about what we, as individuals, are doing to dismantle white supremacy, and we need to be holding each other accountable for the ways in which we uphold white privilege.

We need to be pushing back on minimizing language that seeks to turn the perpetrator of this heinous act into a troubled boy who acted in isolation, and challenge narratives that seek to frame this mass murder as an isolated incident, just one of eleventy million "isolated incidents," that supposedly share nothing in common.

White men, there is a particular role you need to play in these conversations.

According to a survivor of the attack, the shooter said: "You rape our women and you're taking over our country."

White men, you need to talk to each other about white supremacist patriarchy today.

I can say all day long "you don't own me; I am not your woman" to white supremacist misogynists, but they don't listen to women.

White men, you need to be talking to other white men about not using ownership of white women as a justification for genocidal violence.

This Birth of a Nation bullshit needs to be denounced, hard and fast and loud. White men do not own white women, but men who believe they do are using that contemptible patriarchal garbage in order to justify mass murder of black men and women.

I will demand over and over and over that they stop using me, but men who believe that they own me, and who leverage the fact that other white men share that belief, aren't inclined to listen to me.

So you need to step the fuck up.

I am a white woman and a survivor of rape, and I am angry in ways I cannot even begin to articulate that my identity and my lived experience is being invoked in defense of eliminationist violence against black women and men.

And my anger doesn't matter to the men who do it. My agency doesn't matter. My refusal doesn't matter.

This is the role you need to play. You need to talk to other white men about how you don't own white women. You need to talk to other white men about how this patriarchal ownership narrative has been used since this country's inception to justify violence against black women and men.

You need to be visibly angry about white women's agency being usurped and our lived experiences being appropriated in order to rationalize and defend racist violence. You need to have a zero-tolerance policy on white supremacist patriarchy.

You need to talk to dangerous men and stop letting people be killed at their hands, because you can't be fucking bothered to get involved.

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