Nice White Ladies with Jessie Daniels

When do white folks learn they’re white? And how do they start to understand the scope of benefits that whiteness affords them? For Jessie Daniels, these uncomfortable questions are only the beginning.

Jessie Daniels is a Faculty Associate at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center, a research associate at the Oxford Internet Institute, and a professor of Sociology, Critical Social Psychology, and Africana Studies at Hunter College and The Graduate Center at CUNY. She is a world-renowned expert on Internet manifestations of racism, and her latest book Nice White Ladies: The Truth about White Supremacy, Our Role in It, and How We Can Help Dismantle It is available now from Seal Press.

I imagine there are people who are going to read this book and throw it against the wall. And that's okay. But I would just encourage you to pick it up again, after you've thrown it against the wall the first time, and keep reading and sit with the discomfort and also ask yourself, why are you uncomfortable? I would argue that, to the extent that white people are uncomfortable hearing what I have to say, and white women in particular, is because we're holding on to whiteness in some way. We want that to not be a problem. We want that to mean that we're innocent, that we’re beautiful, that we're better than other people. And it just doesn't mean that. Let's let go of that idea of whiteness. 

—Jessie Daniels, author, Nice White Ladies

We talk about:

  • How feminism and white supremacy often coexist and how “gender-only feminism” always ignores race
  • White women’s complicity in slavery and its lasting effects
  • The “meme-ification” of the Karen archetype and the real dangers they pose
  • The path Jessie took to discovering her own whiteness
  • How to divest from the culture of whiteness
  • The power, and necessity, of sitting in discomfort

Plus: in this week’s You’ve Got This, Sara discusses how white women hold onto whiteness in the workplace, and the hidden meaning in terms like “professionalism,” "culture fit,” and "niceness.” For more on reckoning with whiteness in your workplace, head on over to https://www.activevoicehq.com/podcast.

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More resources on shame and resilience: