White Women: Maintainers or Disruptors of Racism?

I identify as an anti-racist racist. I am a White woman living in the United States seeking to understand my complicity with a society in which racism is deeply embedded in our history, culture, institutions, and interpersonal relations. This system privileges White people and dehumanizes us all. I continue to learn how it affects me as a White, middle class, heterosexual, ciswoman. As an anti-racist, I am committed to doing what I can to disrupt this system.

Over the years, I have questioned what I was taught about the history of race and racism in the United States. I have wanted to learn about the role of White women in maintaining the status quo of racism, and what we have done to disrupt it. The focus of this article is on the responses of White women to racism experienced by members of the African Diaspora in the United States.1 I will examine four periods/movements of history to discuss the role of White women as both maintainers and disruptors of racism.

- Slavery and the Jim Crow Period
- Abolition and Suffrage
- Civil Rights and the Women’s Movements
- Contemporary Condition

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