Through years and years of silencing, I learned that people’s hidden biases will attempt to silence the voices of women of colour. Society has conditioned them to believe that our voices do not fall under dominant hegemonic cultural expectations, and therefore aren’t worthy of being heard.
I chose this image of Black Muslim sister, Blair Imani, getting arrested for peacefully protesting in Baton Rouge. While silencing of women of colour explicitly and violently happens daily, in protests, activism, policing and other racist acts, the silencing of women of colour also happens on a daily basis implicitly, professionally, and silently.
I am struggling to write this post, because I don’t exactly know what I should be sharing about my experience with being silenced by whiteness. If you’re reading this, and are not familiar with the concept of whiteness, please read here.
So here’s a list of “don’t” to everyone who’s ever been involved in the systemic silencing of women of color. When you see this happening to anyone, don’t stay silent. Speak up and tell them it’s wrong to silence women of colour.
Don’t take our ideas without giving us credit.
Don’t use our voice to further advance your agenda.
Don’t interrupt us.
Don’t tell us we can’t do something. Especially when we worked so darn hard to do it already!
Don’t stop us from doing anything.
Don’t speak about diversity when you’re not interested in hiring people of color or getting them on board of your organization.
Don’t use our voice.
Don’t ignore us. We’re here. And we’re going to get louder.
Don’t steal our work, thoughts, tweets, and writing. We know when you do.
Lastly, and this is a do: Celebrate with us.
Why is there so much hate? Hate that won’t even be recognized as hate?
Why not amplify our accomplishments instead of trying to put us down, or worse, ignoring it all together?
Yes, this is an angry post. I am tried of dealing with this every single day. I am tired of watching my strong, beautiful sisters of color dealing with this on a daily basis. It’s discouraging, and dehumanizing.
Be a source of empowerment and positivity. Don’t suck our energy, discourage and silence us.