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Racism, Sexism, and White Women

What's Up with White Women?

Ilsa Govan and Tilman Smith discuss their new book What's Up With White Women? Unpacking Sexism and White Privilege in Pursuit of Racial Justice

We often hear white allies say, “I will never know what it is like to be a person of color.” While this statement is true, it does not mean we shouldn't do our darndest to try to understand and especially to see how we've been taught not to see people of color as fully human - and how that has dehumanized us. – Ilsa Govan

Through anecdotal stories, What’s Up With White Women? invites white women to look closely at their life experiences in an effort to generate awareness of their role in perpetuating patterns of injustice. Authors Ilsa Govan and Tilman Smith joined the morning show to discuss the missteps they made that inspired the book as well as ways white women can ultimately be agents of change in their communities.

Without self-reflection, we just perpetuate this hierarchy and this pattern...the book was really like a love letter to our white sisters to say, “Hey, let's wake up. Let's realize, let's self-reflect. Let's think about how we can change this role.” Each one of us has a circle of influence… Find out what people of color are already doing to organize against racism in your local community, and then find your spot as a follower and a co-conspirator or as an abolitionist alongside people of color rather than doing something for people of color.

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Katie Carter started at Northern Community Radio in 2008 as Managing Editor of the station's grant-funded, online news experiment Northern Community Internet. Since 2016, she's produced Area Voices showcasing the arts, culture, and history stories of northern Minnesota. She's our local host of NPR's All Things Considered and CBC's As It Happens every weekday from 4-7pm.