Giving a talk at OWN’s third annual “SuperSoul Sessions” speaker series at UCLA on Thursday, Momastery blogger and best-selling author Glennon Doyle Melton gave a talk about fear and pain. And in it, she had a special message for her fellow white feminists.
“So, I need to talk to the white women for a minute,” Melton began.
I know that many of us are feeling alone and ignored and threatened and abused. And we’re feeling like our bodies are being threatened and that our children’s education is at risk [and] that we can be grabbed at any minute, and that our degradation and our objectification and our discrimination has become normalized ― accepted in ways that are chilling. And this is painful...
But, what we need to remember is that this is just a TOUCH of the pain that so many marginalized people in this country have been feeling for ages: for black people and brown people and trans people and gay people and Muslim people and Native Americans and poor people.
“What sucks is that it took us being personally affected to finally show up,” Melton said of white women. “We cannot show up for the movement and say, ‘Here we are!’ until we say, ‘We are so damn sorry it took us so long.’”
What’s more, Melton added, white women must be inclusive when speaking out.
“We’d better not speak against misogyny if in the same breath we’re not also speaking against transphobia and homophobia and racism and classism and poverty,” she said. “This is one fight. It always has been.”
The generals of justice have always been and will always be the women of color.
Many white women have wondered “where to begin” in terms of standing up for these rights, she noted, going on: “You do not lead and you don’t ‘begin’ anything. The fight for civil rights is not new. We’re just new to it. The generals of justice have always been and will always be the women of color.”
What everyone can do, she continued, is take cues from women of color.
“You learn about Shirley Chisholm and you learn about Maya Angelou and you learn and you learn and you learn. And then you learn about and you follow Ava DuVernay and Alicia Garza and Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour,” Melton said. “You look at how they’re fighting and then you fight like they’re fighting. Because if our white feminism does not become intersectional then it will be nothing.”
Watch Melton’s speech in the clip above.