Why White-Led Organizations Need To Let Other People Have A Seat At The Table

Flickr / Peter Burka

As a black non-binary trans person, I feel personally attacked by white-led organizations. They all have the same narrative. They never have money to support the bodies they need at their events, yet they are constantly calling for those bodies. They don’t value those bodies’ lives, those bodies’ citizenship status, those bodies’ ability to get to the event without help from the organization that wants them there, etc. I, for one, am beyond sick and tired of these white-led organizations’ lack of accountability for the same bodies that they are constantly drawing money from.

This is for you, problematic white-led organizations. I need for you to listen up and get several things straight. Stop making us fight for a seat at the table. The time is well overdue. It’s time for you to start letting us speak and for all of you to start listening. Start listening to people of color. Start listening to trans people of color. I am tired of begging for a seat at the table and then finding myself silenced.

White-led organizations have something in common: they all lack intersectionality and accountability. Each of these things are key to effectively doing the work. You cannot show up for (queer and trans) people of color without intersectionality nor can you show up for them without holding yourselves accountable for the harm that you have done to them, are doing to them, and will inevitably do to them. People of color working for minimum wage, in overtime most weeks, cannot afford to take off time for your events. Even if they can, most times they can’t afford the travel. The fight for liberation is not only a struggle for gender equity, but also in other facets such as class status, racial identity, ethnicity, citizenship status, religious or spiritual affiliation, etc.

Let’s be real. These organizations want black and brown bodies, but they don’t want black and brown voices. They want black and brown money, but they don’t want black and brown pain. What’s up with that? It’s racist. It’s anti-black. It’s wrong, but these organizations don’t hold themselves accountable for their wrongdoing. They don’t care. These white-led organizations want to profit off black and brown bodies, yet they want to disappear when it comes time to stand up for those same black and brown bodies. As long as they can continue to profit off black and brown (and trans and queer) bodies without accountability for what that profit truly means, nothing will change.

This is serious. Accountability needs to happen and it needs to happen now. This is the 21st century lynching. The selfishness of these white-led organizations is contributing to the mass killing of black and brown bodies in America. They’re dying left and right, and the only organizations that seem to be taking a stand are black- and brown-led organizations.

The work doesn’t need to be solely on those affected, and the sooner that white-led organizations learn this, the better off they will be. Soon, these organizations will have to own up to the pain that they have caused, and that day is nearing. TC mark

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