And a letter of concious behavior & action to myself, my white sisters, friends, cousins, mothers, aunts, grands, & greats


Erin Kay Anderson
16 min readAug 1, 2017

I see you. I feel you. I love you. You are my mothers, my grandmothers, my aunts, and my sisters. You have taught me what it means to be held, to love, to forgive, to be my silly and fun authetic self. We forged friendships based on time, space, and significance. You taught me how to be mindful in my thought and action- to walk and swim in this world.

I love all of you because of your hearts, your souls, your vulnerability, honesty, and openness to new people and experiences. For your love and belief in me, what I have come to know and what our family and friendships have always stood for — love.

I am writing this because its time to tie together communities, and we can do it by acknowledging what has been spoken in silence and resurrected in authentic connection and action.

I was born on July 20, 1982. I grew up blonde hair and hazel eyed. Loving all that the late 80s and early 90s had to offer me in my sheltered bubble of Montana school days and Minnesota lakeside summers. It was the era when Reagan, who my father loved, was president and George Bush Senior was his VP. The years when: Michael Jackson first performed the moonwalk; Martin Luther King Jr Day was signed as a federal holiday; Cabbage Patch Kids and Care Bears were the hot market items, and the ‘Cold War’ was still a thing.

I grew up on the Cosby Show, Sesame Street, Saved by the Bell, Love & Basketball, and the golden years of Disney. I have seen the gamut of Cover Girl beauty from Christie Brinkley to Queen Latifah. My music was country, Casey Kassem’s Top 40, R&B , rap & folk — Mariah Carey, Garth Brooks, Prince, Genuine, Boyz2Men, New Kids On The Block, Usher, Brandy, Monica, Tupac, Ben Harper, Lauren Hill, Rage Against the Machine, Pearl Jam, Michael Franti, Bob Marley, CCR, and James Taylor, etc.

In grade school the names and history that stuck with me the most were the individuals whose voice and action stood in line with the way in which the constitution was written: Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X (We did not hear as much about Malcolm in public school as we did about Martin), and the Freedom Riders.

Growing up in a low to middle income family, I watched my parents work hard for the economic advances that they made in order for us to live a ‘better’ life. From a trailer at the end of a dirt road outside of the city limits to a modest ranch styled home that my parents bought in 1993 for $107,000 on a street ‘right next’ to the ‘Gregory Hills’ development — where doctors, lawyers, and business men in the city lived. My dad was an independent contractor & my mom was a florist. I was the first in our family to graduate from college.

Growing up I had few female friends of color. In Montana there were/are few black and brown families and I will hold myself accountable to say that although I got along with the few black and brown women in my high school, we were not close. I did not extend a hand of friendship because I was intimidated. But the black and brown men of my high school and I had relationships in one form or another.

The women were the ‘fighters’, I can assume that growing up Black in Montana was the furthest thing from easy. At the time I was corrupted by the stereotype and most likely not ready to be challenged in my comfortable white life, and did not create the opportunity for us to connect.

Reflecting on it now as an adult, those of my friends growing up that were ‘of color,’ I never saw them as another “race.” I’ve thought about why and the conclusions I’ve drawn are: our families were positioned in a distance where houses were walkable, socioeconomics were presented to be similar, and one of their parents were of fair complexion or white, resulting in their skin tone being light enough ‘to pass.’ I did not know of the concept of ‘passing’ until I reached college, but I want to acknowledge subconcious role that social influence can play on children.

The Struggle

As a woman, I would never say that white women do not know the struggle. The majority of us have all experienced some type of sexual or physical assault, which is another deep conversation for another time. We are told to that on the beauty scale we will never be enough. And to support that statement, there is a whole market of products, implants, and accessories that we are told we need to buy with our pay equity gapped incomes in effort to be seen and have our voices heard.

Yet even if we hold true to all social ‘norms’ of the levels of beauty and regulated voice, we still bare witness to the stealing and showcasing of our ideas, our work, and our networks by men and some women within companies as if they were their own.

In the vein of accountability, I have been vastly influenced by the style and beauty of other women and cultures; however, I would never claim the tradition and production to be my own or to not give credit where credit is due.

However, we have been bred into a system that has taught us to take. We thankfully have been taught the sayings that ‘sharing is caring,” and these are the concepts that must outweigh the subconscious — concepts of scarcity that lead us to believe what we are and what we have are not enough.


As Gnarls Barkley wrote: “I remember, I remember when I lost my mind. The was something so pleasant about that place. Even your emotions have an echo in all that space.”

There are moments when I default to crazy, but what else are you going to do when the system that tells us to carry ourselves and prop ourselves up is the same system that continues to beat us down. It’s like living in an abusive relationship. It will make you go mad.

So yes, life has been hard. We have been abused and used, and it is from that place that I have recently allowed my ‘crazy,’ to completely come out. Because society has left me with no choice.

The wading through the similarities and juxstapositions of what we have been taught with what we have come to experience is the fog, but our emotions/feelings that we all have attached to the pit of our stomach are unquestionable when in it comes to human moral code and conduct.

It’s the internal conflict that we all have come to know through our life experience: how we physically see ourselves when it comes to beauty, men, and our role in society versus what we know to be true — that all women regardless of color, age or creed are beautiful, brilliant, strong and resilient.

Unfortunately, We have been placed in constant state of survival and competition, with oursevles and each other. The system has been designed from a war strategy of divide and conquer. One that leaves us questioning our own value and worth and when that gets too hard we are taught to default the scale against one another.

Sisterhood & Race

And this is when I am going to step in to talk about sisterhood and race so we can begin to better understand the why’s and how’s of our interaction with one another as women. And where we need to come together in order to lift each other up in order to finally break this cycle of self and social oppression.

Because as white skinned women it’s easy for us to not have these conversations. We can continue to live in our normalized white and happy bubbles when its not our white kids getting shot by police. But it’s not easy for our black and brown sisters, and it wont be easy for our children or grandchildren if we continue to let our silence perpetuate cycles of fear and violence.

As a woman who was there to experience both of my best friend’s births, I can say that the process of carrying, delivering, and raising a child are laborious, and worry riden enough before having to deal with the details of:

“is my daughter or son going to be violently misjudged or purposefully attacked today when they leave the house based on the color of their skin and the misconceptions about our people and culture that are attached to aesthetics.”

(Remember that regardless of age, Everyone is someone’s child)

Personally, I refuse to see it get worse before it gets better. I refuse to let a scarcity mentality and violently self defeating cycle of history repeat itself.

It is going to get hard because we are going to have to challenge ourselves — to examine and break down the internal history of ourselves and our families.

This is a heavy process because Real Love is heavy because it’s honest. Is not always easy, but the weight and the burden of these issues are far more grevious for our bodies, hearts, souls, and our families if we continue to procrastinate & avoid the conversation.

The white woman pedestal

When we put things on the color spectrum, due to the constructs of history white women have been given more privilege than most. The white gloved pedestal was created in order to maintain a seperation between women in the fields and women of the house.

We were told that we were too dainty and fragile for that type of laborious work. Or it was unlady like or social unacceptable to breastfeed our own children. But the issue with the pedestal of white skin is that some of us conciously and all of us subconciosly have come to believe the lie of the seperation and the stereotypes. As a result, we have further perpetuated those thoughts and have widened those gaps through our action or lack of real conversation about these issues.

Here are a few personal examples

In college, I remember sitting in the class the History of African American Art and as we were discussing all of these concepts and I made some type of statement like,

“Well, I’m here having these conversations and doing the work, I think about this stuff when I’m out running all the time.”

A black sister in class looked at me and said,

“The difference between you and me is that you are our here running to give you time to think and we have been out here running in order to save our lives. So you need to catch up.”

I remember being so offending, thinking

“what a ‘bitchy’ thing to say. What more does she want from me? I’m trying.”

So I ran harder and longer.

Years later when I for the sake of my knees swapped yoga for running, I finally realized that what I needed to do was listen, to process and accept that I was not the victim. That despite some of our best efforts of doing ‘good work’ it means nothing unless you apply it to your own life.

Years later I was in Minneapolis doing outreach with AmeriCorps. I was working on a strategy to recruit more skilled workers from the neighborhoods in which we were serving communities — noted as low income and ‘minority,’ rather than doing the old tried and true — recruit white corporate unskilled volunteers. When I am referring to skill, I am speaking about trained construction skills.

I was meeting with a white female community representative from a mixed congregational church in a historically black neighborhood in South Minneapollis. I asked her if she lived in the community that she was doing the work and providing the service, to which her response was

“No, absolutely not.”

I was so taken back, I had to ask her why.

To which she replied,

“I don’t want to live amongst poverty. And my daughter is biracial, I feel like I’ve done my part.”

I literally choked on my own spit, and after drinking some water excused myself from our meeting. I could go on and on about my issue with her statement. I don’t know her whole story, but what I do know is that ‘our part’ is not sleeping with black or brown men and bearing biracial children for the sake of society, or adopting black and brown children to provide them with a ‘better’ life.

That mindset and way of thinking is some crazy subconscious white power shit.

Here are some concepts and experiences that I have spent time reflecting on. Moments where I have held myself accountable in my thought and in my action and where I would encourage others to do the same.

1) The Myth of ‘The Dick' & ‘Special Vaginas’

Just because you’ve fucked a black or brown man, you’re currently fucking a black or brown man, or in a relationship with one doesn’t mean you are down with the cause or know the culture, especially if you have no female friends of color.

Black & Brown men have been presented to us as an untouchable fetish, I say this because I have had girlfriends who have slept with black men because they “wanted to know what it was like.”

The more I get older the more I come to know that sex should be about connection rather than curiosity. As they say ‘curiosity killed the cat.’ You don’t sleep with someone because you’re curious, you sleep with them because you value them as human.

We are all humans rooted in love, so those who are tuned into our authentic selves are going to have chemistry and character based connection regardless of “race or class.”

God let there be chemistry and connection, but even in those moments acknowledge what part of you is attracted to someone else. Pay attention to the action and the dynamic — what is being said to you, what you like, why you like it, what you don’t like, why you don’t like it. Acknowledge the culture and life experience of the other person.

Regardless of any color of your partner ask yourself the question:

Do their words match their action aka do they truly respect you? Are they invested in your health, heart, and overall well being — do you trust them with your heart and your thoughts?

We’ve been told by society & our bodies to love the long dick. But as my old roommate — who is now married, a mother of two, who was always honest with me and who thrived in her blackness said,

“Don’t ever be tricked by a dick.”

I’ve been with a fair number of men: white men with large dicks, black & brown men with large dicks, white men with small dicks, and black & brown men with small dicks.

Most of the time its just an average dick.

The bottom line is men have dicks and regardless of his race, class, and taking into account the amount of self work he has done, he probably spends or has spent a good amount of his life thinking with it.

As my dad used to say:

“All boys are little pigs, and there is a difference between boys and men.”

And yes, in reference to Drake this ‘sex is so good we shouldn’t have to fuck for free.’

A soul shining black woman and brilliant designer, who I have come to call a good friend, posts frequently about conversations with her teenage son.

In a post about a conversation with her son in reference to sex she pointed out that opening your legs gives someone access to your soul.

Our souls are both precious & priceless. So no, we shouldn’t have to fuck for free.

Souls and social consciousness are not measured by the depth of our vaginas, just as a measure of a man is not scaled by the length of their penis. It is measured by authenticity, awareness, trust, honesty, and social action.

We as women are not more racially conscious nor are we some ‘special chosen white chick’ based on well we can ‘take that dick.’

Any woman can get fucked. You and your vagina are special, but you are not any more special than any other black, brown, or white woman in reference to men and them wanting to stick their penis in it.

And if folks want to argue that with me, I would point someone directly to their yoga mat, to go and crush that part of their ego.

2) Black Women Have the Right to Be Angry

Everything has been created by them but nothing has been created for them.

And if it has been created most likely it has been them creating it for themselves and their families.

And like we spoke of earlier, we as women worry, but the amount of burden and worry attached to black and brown women’s backs in this world and in reference to my experience in the U.S. is beyond a measure that we will ever experience or comprehend.

3) Black Women are all around you. Don’t Treat them as if they are invisible.

The other weekend, I literally watched white women subconsciously play chicken with my two black girl friends as we were walking down the street in the Fenway after the reunion of New Kids On The Block concert was getting out.

I’m talking moving at the very last minute, and some shoulder/body checking them as if they did not see them there.

And their ‘I’m sorry, excuse me,’ came 10–12 steps after they were passed. My girlfriends called attention to it and a few days later, I caught myself in the same subconscious action and I corrected it.

There are things that we do that even if it was not our intention, it still comes off that way in our action. It is your responsibility as a human being to acknowledge everyone in space, to use your conscious to dig into your subconscious action in order to change and shift how we treat one another in day to day settings.

3) Do Not Ever Use the N-Word in any way shape, form or space. It is not a word that white people have a right to use.

Because I believe in transparency, I have admittedly used it. I have repeated it in lyrics and I have said it in reference to conversation about myself. Back in 2013, my good friend a proud black woman called me an honorary N.

A couple of months later I was trying to make some racial point while out at a bar talking to some white bro and I said it in reference to her and my conversation. He looked at me in shocked disbelief. And my dumb ass tried to defend my statement.

I went home and reflected hard and long enough to know it is not a word that belongs to me as white person. In my opinion, One of the most powerful moves that folks can do in protest is to take back language. It’s what I see black youth doing and it’s genius.

As a white population, It was never our word to for use, we took the previous reference to kings and queens (a historical fact, look it up) and racialized it — made it into a negative and economic space, and because we misused the word in order to objectify a people it should be corrected in our minds and it should never pass through our lips.

In the reversed and conjunction reference to Nike, Just don’t.

And if you hear any other white person using it in any sort of sense, even if it is in lyric of a song that they are reiterating, correct them. If someone in your family continues to us it, stop them.


4) Race is a Myth

It was purposely created, perpetuated and bought in order to create an economic scale of power. It is something that we as humans made into a reality and since we created it, we can also deconstruct it by acknowledging the experience of our black and brown friends and family.

We have made a myth into reality of fear, violence, resulting in displacement from home and land, and poverty based circumstance.

The more we reject the concept of an aesthetic tie to power the easier it will be to recreate a world of peace.

What we all know on a subcious and subconcious level is that beauty is a matter of light — not white or the shading of skin, but the breathe of life that comes from within.

Souls radiate light. You can see it in the ‘glow’ of peoples skin and the ‘light in their eyes.’

It is that space of love that makes us gravitate towards one another, those who share a simiar light. And as we have these conversations and see life experiences from a more empathetic state, we create more space within ourselves to let our light shine even brighter.

It’s a matter of really trying to live what we refer to in yoga as he 8 fold path. Because it is one thing to study and teach it. It is another thing to live it.

So what do we need to do if we truly want Peace — to end violence and poverty:

We need to listen.

We need to be silent in order to learn and observe and we need to speak out and up when we see and feel injustice.

If you are in tune, you will feel it before you see it. Pay attention to your emotions, and ask the question of why certain things, interactions, and conversations make you feel uncomfortable.

We must be more vulnerable in openingly admitting to ourselves and to others when we have been wrong in our actions. And we must work to examine ourselves from a subconscious space.

We need to support and invest actual monetary capital in other women and in black and brown business owners.

Race is based on power and economics. A MC out of Minneapolis, Toussaint Morrison has a line in his song “The Lynchings in Duluth” that states “The root of a sociopath begins at economics.” White culture has defaulted to a sociopathic state. We began taking and selling people, history, and art and claiming all as our own. Putting putting women and children on sex farms to create more workers (again, a historical fact- look it up). Putting history and art in museums and denying access to most and charging the admission to those who could afford to pay. And when slavery was abolitished we created other systems in order to capitalize on poor people- prisons, law enforcement, beauty, and academic institutions have created more boundaries and barriers than they have opportunity.

Bearing all of this in mind and carrying it in our heart, we must make the conscious decisions to invest our time and our money in women and black and brown owned business.

White women may not have the most money, but we do have the most power when it comes to two important spaces, consumerism being the first.

And when it comes to the game of race and what the “white Aryans” know to be true,

We as white women are the only people who can produce ‘white’ children and who can prolong this nonsense of a human hierarchy.

So I encourage all of you, to examine your beliefs on the conscious and subconscious level.

  • Be the crazy white woman who apologies to black women on the street for what our unnamed ancestors have done,
  • Be wise with your spending and investment
  • Choose your partners wisely based on love
  • Remain open to feedback and conversation about our subconscious behavior
  • And be proactive and authentic in your relationships with women outside of your typical social groups and family dynamics.

As women — creators and the historically oppressed we have the opportunity to change this world. So I challenge all of you to recognize your power, to tap into your vulnerability, and to give love to all from the core of your soul.




Erin Kay Anderson

Woman + Human + Yogi (200 YTT) MA intercultural youth & family development BA Sociology & History Novice in this study of “life”