Undoing Imperialism Within: How Structures of Domination Shape our Resistance Print
I recently completed a research project for a Master?s in Women?s Studies at the University of British Columbia, looking at how, in particular white middle class women?s solidarity activism is shaped by the very forces that we struggle against. I looked at this category because it is my own, but also because we are a sort of ?ideal type? of the ?good innocent helper?, a role that others also fall or are read through at times. This research speaks to all of us in the movement. I also hope that it can speak to other movements that work to build solidarity across difference.

Historically ?white? educated women have, often unintentionally, put the friendly face on and propped up Empire as helpers of various sorts (e.g. teachers, nurses, and social workers). Our traditional construction continues to shape even our anti-imperialist organizing today, and we are often framed as good women who are helping those who suffer at the hands of graduates. One of the ways our helping is often couched is as speaking for others. It may look like we are bringing down the master?s house, but I argue that with this master?s tool (our historical construction as good helpers) we are only taking off tiles, while unintentionally strengthening the foundations. We can modify this tool though, and aim to be accountable compa?eras who live our faith and speak with others.

Twelve fabulous white middle-class women p.o.c.?s helped me think through how we do solidarity in an online collaborative theorizing process, but my ideas are not a reflection of any consensus among us. I hope that it will spark debate, help us be more reflexive about our work, and offer support for your own discernment process.

Because I did this as an academic, as well as an activist, project, I hope to present and publish it in academic forums. I am thrilled to be able to present it first to the movement and hope to get feedback about the best way to present these ideas elsewhere.

If you are interested in receiving a copy of the research project by email, please contact Sara Koopman at
Sara[at]SpanishForSocialChange.com