LIBBY EMMONS: Racist Activists Say White Women Being 'Nice' Makes Them Complicit in White Supremacy

The haters of white women for their supposed complicity in the racism of the white supremacist patriarchy are back in full force in Time Magazine this week, with an excerpt from the new book White Women: Everything You Already Know About Your Own Racism and How to Do Better. In this iteration of anti-racist instructions for white women, white women's racism is defined as niceness, perfectionist, and the unconscious implications of their own skin color.

The ladies who brought $2,500 per plate anti-racist dinners to white women a few years ago have now determined that politeness, as we know it, is racist, as is the affliction of perfectionism. Being nice, is all incredibly racist. Their book instructs white women to "stop being nice and start dismantling white supremacy." 

Saira Rao and Regina Jackson (who founded Race2Dinner, a program in which white women pay thousands of dollars to sit at dinner and be told they are racist simply as a result of their skin color and how that skin color makes them complicit in the cis hetero patriarchy) explain that white women’s penchant for perfectionism prevents them from being anything other than incredibly racist.

The idea is that "white women are conditioned to be 'nice,'" which they say is "no secret." They then claim that "the desire to be perfect and to avoid conflict at all costs are characteristics of white supremacy culture." 

Their mission of disrupting white women's "niceness" raises a few concerns that an activist would surely term "problematic." It claims that the trait of agreeableness, which is primarily a feminine trait, should be abolished in favor of one that leans into conflict, without showing how this conflict better gains trust from those whose minds one is seeking to be changed than kindness does.

Jackson and Rao also appear to believe that there is a universal "white woman" culture, a way that all white women are taught to be according to cultural dictates, without acknowledging their own inability to separate women who are white from their own internalized stereotypes about how women who are white behave and are raised. This instruction manual for white women to dismember their own alleged proclivity toward avoiding conflict is meant to reshape how women behave in their personal lives for the purpose of effecting social change, and it leaves little regard for the women's happiness in their own lives. It's like the opposite of a self-help book.

So, too, are the dinners provided by Rao and Jackson meant to make women who are white feel worse in their lives, and to focus more on social change, less on personal growth or their families. Race2Dinner offers "experiences" for 8 white women at a time, as well as "pre-dinner support and post-dinner consulting" with a "Resident White Woman" who undoubtedly can give the white women a safe space to express their feelings at having come to understand their complicity in white supremacy over dinner.

"Race2Dinner Experiences require white women to participate in very direct, exceedingly difficult conversations," the description on Rao and Jackson's website reads. "It is not for the faint of heart. It is not 'Racism 101.' It is tough, vulnerable, and full of emotion. The time spent at Race2Dinner Experiences will open minds, create dialogue and reveal truths in a way that is both incredibly challenging and unbelievably liberating."

And what are white women supposed to do after attending an anti-racism dinner? They're supposed to evangelize the tenets of their new social justice religion, of course, and gain more converts. 

The business has been operating for over three years, and now the duo has written a book, an excerpt of which was recently presented in Time Magazine under the headline "White Women Must Do More To Confront Racism." Business, apparently, isn't as booming as it once was.

Rao and Jackson complain that after George Floyd’s death in police custody on May 25, 2020, white women poured their money into buying anti-racism products and tuned their attention toward their betters in the anti-racism space.

Now, they say, white women have backed off the purchase of anti-racism dinners for some reason, and because the “pendulum has swung in the other direction,” they aren’t even competing with each other to see who can be the most anti-racist of them all.

But it’s not the declining economy, or that more personal or family concerns have taken precedence over social justice crusades, say Rao and Jackson, instead, the real culprit responsible for the decline in white women’s allegiance to their anti-racism dinners is the white woman’s penchant for perfection.

“It is this need for perfection that makes it impossible to engage in antiracism work,” they write. And then proceed to both break down the problems with white women’s alleged need for perfection in all things, and criticize these fictional white women for never being able to live up to their own expectations of perfection.

They very nearly taunt these white women the way a middle school bully would: “Perfect hair. Perfect clothes. Perfect grades. Perfect nails. Perfect weddings. Perfect bodies. Perfect adoring and supportive wife and mother. Perfect employee and colleague,” they write, leveling each of these as seeming insults against the body of white women who stopped buying tickets to their anti-racism dinners.

"White skin," they write. "The foundational principle of perfection in a white supremacist society like ours is rooted in whiteness." They claim that white women believe that "White skin is a necessary (yet still insufficient) ingredient of perfection."

Rao and Jackson first insult the white women they wish to court for expensive dinner engagements, then explain that it's racist to not want to talk about politics over dinner, and that it's racist to not want to be rude.

It's racist to want to be perfect, they posit, and demand that white women do more to engage in social justice through anti-racism. What is that "more"? More includes being criticized by women of color and being made uncomfortable by it, being called out publicly for being racist, admitting you have "been born into and nurtured by a white supremacist society," feeling embarrassed, not being liked, and abstaining from trying to live up high expectations.

Apparently, being made to feel bad, and giving up achieving your own goals to the best of your ability, is what's required to be an anti-racist white woman. Or maybe it's just plunking down thousands of dollars to have other women tell you, over dinner, that the very fact of your skin color makes you racist, and there's not one damn thing you can do about it.

Image: Title: Sara Rao and Regina Jackson