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In Nice White Ladies, race and gender professor Jessie Daniels looks beyond the “Karens” and the pussy hats, to offer an illuminating look at how white women participate in, benefit from, and–crucially–can combat racism.
Chapter by chapter, Daniels looks at the most urgent examples of how white womanhood has been weaponized today, and then dives deeper into the history and the false narratives behind these events. She examines specific figures including Amy Cooper and the Central Park birdwatcher, and Linda Fairstein and the Central Park Five, but also looks at larger social shifts and the role white women have had in deepening existing inequalities. Seemingly empowering movements for white women have also harmed people of color, from a feminism that had pushed the voices of Brown and Black women aside, to an entire wellness industry that insulates white women in bubble of their own privilege. White women are often unwilling to examine the fact that their day to day choices, including selecting only the best schools and neighborhoods for their children, results in a hoarding of resources for white families and a return to segregation.
In a nation deeply divided by race, Jessie Daniels boldly addresses white women’s complicity in discrimination but also in their unique potential to resist and dismantle the white nationalism that threatens us all. The stakes are deeply personal for Daniels, as a white woman seeking to call in fellow white women, with an invitation to think together and act-rather than simply call out and criticize. By excavating her own life for examples of failing, learning, evolving, and changing course, Daniels provides a roadmap for other white women looking to make much needed change. Ultimately, she shows how white women can be more than allies, but trusted accomplices in a shared mission to secure equality for all.
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