Rachel Cargle was boasted onto the race and activism scene when her 2017 Women’s March pic with friend and fellow activist Dana Suchow went viral.
In the photo in front of the U.S. Capitol, both women have one of their fists raised and are holding signs with their other hands.
“Protect: Black, Asian, Muslim, Latinx, Disabled, Trans, Fat, Poor, Women,” Suchow’s sign read.
While Cargle’s poster board was penned:
“If You Don’t Fight for All Women You Fight for No Women.”
The photo took Cargle from an unknown activist to a writer and lecturer followed by more than 290,000 people on Instagram alone.
The Washington Post Magazine recently featured her work in a frequently sold-out lecture series dubbed “Unpacking White Feminism.”
In the article quoting Cargle’s lecture at American University’s inaugural Antiracist Book Festival in April, she called out “aware white people” who follow her work and those who challenge it online at least five times.
1. When Cargle asks her audience who it avoids talking race with:
“I don’t talk to my dad’s partner, who is very racist,” one white woman said.
When Cargle asked why, the woman responded:
“It would upset my dad.”
Another white woman said she worried she would be perceived as a “superior, belligerent know-it-all.”
“Okay,” Cargle responded. “White people love to be the victim in the conversation about race. Worried is about your child getting shot in the street. Unless your mom is gonna stab you, I’m pretty sure you should bring it up — and even then, I bet you have better health insurance than me.”
2. When Cargle hashes out her rule for race lectures:
“I refuse to listen to white women cry about something,” she told The Washington Post Magazine. “When women have come up to me crying, I say, ‘Let me know when you feel a little better, then maybe we can talk.’ It’s like a man coming up and crying: ‘Oh, this whole patriarchy thing is so hard.’ Like, no, we’re not going to do that.”
3. When a white woman told Cargle to be ‘the bigger person’ on racism:
She responded with this August Instagram post:
“This is a tool of white supremacy. The myth that black people both have no morals [as seen in the industrial complexes of discipline in various aspects of society] while somehow at the same time holding the expectation that black people be the ones to continuously uphold ‘morality’ when white people act with hate, oppression, discrimination and aggression. “Recognize these, call them out, refuse to oblige to the various ways that whiteness demands we simply take what they give.”
4. When a ‘white and privileged’ woman wrote Cargle:
“Yes, I’m white and privileged but that doesn’t take away from where I’m coming from spiritually,” the woman wrote, according to The Washington Post. “I’m sure you can relate to someone assuming to know something about you.”
Cargle wrote her back:
“Yes I can relate to people assuming things about me, but [the] difference is when people assume things about my black skin it doesn’t just end in me feeling uncomfortable … I don’t get jobs, I have the chance of getting shot by the police, I don’t get housing loans.”
In what reportedly became a back-and-forth exchange, the white woman told Cargle, “sometimes it feels like your posts are kind of aggressive.” Then, the woman asked if Cargle could find balance in her tone.
“I have NO interest in coddling my oppressor into listening.”
5. When Cargle spoke with her wallet:
Cargle decided to leave Columbia, where she was an undergraduate student in anthropology, in August, the Post reported.
It was about four months after university reportedly police followed a black student on his way to a campus center after he declined to show his identification at the main gates of Barnard, an affiliated college.
“I couldn’t stomach paying the university money anymore,” Cargle told the Post.
Instead, she became an independent scholar outside, taking courses at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research and studying one-on-one with Princeton University professor Imani Perry, Cargle told the Post.
She is also developing a web course for the fall, and she signed a book deal with Dial Press for her first book, slated to be published in 2021 on womanhood and race, according to the Post.