Laci Green is a significant force on YouTube. Her Sex+ series has provided several people with accurate, nonjudgmental sex education that is not often seen in the United States. She has also made videos discussing gender equality, intersectionality, and other social justice topics. Her videos gained her a respectable following in addition to no small amount of men’s rights activist trolls, which lead her to take a break.
However, she recently returned to YouTube and made a video called “Taking the Red Pill?” where she announces that she intends to have debates with alt-right figures to “create dialogue” and bridge the divide between those who advocate for social justice and those who oppose it. This inevitably lead to backlash from those who once considered her a friend and ally, mainly people of color and LGBTQ+ folks, after which she published a second video defending her actions, claiming that she felt attacked from all sides.
However, this sort of behavior is not uncommon for white women, even those who hold progressive political views. Over the course of history we have always chosen our race over our gender in order to advance our social standing and gain the respect of our male counterparts, even if that means leaving women of color in the dust; as long as we get ours, what happens to everyone else doesn’t matter.
It isn’t enough for us white women to just say that we stand with women of color. We must actually speak up even when it’s uncomfortable to do so.
White women betraying our sisters of color has become a particularly hot topic in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, in which 52% of our demographic voted for Donald Trump according to CNN exit polls. White women who lean left aren’t free from criticism in this sort of behavior; across all spectrums, we engage in the weaponization of our perceived innocence in order to further our status in the world.
Examination of the toxic nature of white womanhood often leads to cries of misogyny. However, those making this claim are missing a crucial point; when critiquing white womanhood, it is whiteness that is being focused on as the problem that needs fixing. Being a part of one marginalized community does not mean that you don’t benefit from systemic oppression in other areas.
It isn’t enough for us white women to just say that we stand with women of color. We must actually show up when we are needed, speak up even when it’s uncomfortable to do so, and actively work against whiteness as a social construct so that liberation for all people can finally be achieved. We must also learn to hold our own accountable when they do something that harms marginalized groups, even if it is unintentional.
Laci’s decision to turn her back on women of color and LGBTQ+ folks is something that several white women have done, but it doesn’t change the fact that her actions carry a great deal of harm for many people that she claims to support. By validating the opinions of those who hold racist, homophobic, and transphobic views, Laci has shown that she is willing to put the wellbeing of those she cares about in jeopardy in order to increase her own standing in a white supremacist patriarchal world.
We can do better. It’s time that we did.