By Cynthia R. Wallace, PhD, Associate Professor of English, St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan, re-posted from her IG account
Just a gentle reminder for the nice white ladies that opting out of politics is still a deeply political choice.
I’ve seen several post this week from beautifully curated accounts, mostly homeschooling and white evangelical-adjacent, touting the idea that when the news gets “too confusing” we can/should pull back into our homes and focus on making them beautiful and comfortable, raising our children with kindness, pouring into our families.
To be clear, there are absolutely times for rest and retreat, especially for folks who’ve been retraumatized by current events. Doomscrolling, obsessively deep dives, and incessant news updates are probably not conducive to our wellbeing, parenting, or social action. And I’m not talking about performing or proving our political engagement on social media (although I think those with broader influence have platforms that carry certain responsibilities). Much of the meaningful work to understand, connect, and act happens offline or away from social media.
But please, let’s admit that the problem here isn’t that it’s “too confusing” so we need to retreat to our domestic spaces. There are cogent, careful, long-form analyses to be found if we, to borrow the common phrase among nice white ladies of late, “do our research” and “educate ourselves.” The current state of U.S. politics isn’t “too hard” or “too overwhelming” for middle-class white women to engage with (a point eminently manifested by women of color who have been assessing, analyzing, and warning for months / years / decades / centuries). This is a cop-out that white middle-class women have used for far too long to divest ourselves of responsibility.
We have responsibility.