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Episode 86: Rachel Cargle: Unpacking White Feminism

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The world is heavy right now with the increased awareness of violence and injustice against black people that’s been going on for over 400 years here in the United States.

To the black people in our community, you are in my heart and prayers but most importantly, my actions.

As one of my favorite writers and teachers, Adrienne Maree Brown, said:

“Things are not getting worse, they’re getting uncovered.”

I also shared the following words from writer, producer, and performer Sarah Jones on Instagram the other day:

Rather than sharing a new episode of The Kate & Mike Show as we’d originally planned this week, we’re talking about anti-racism, healing, and liberation. There’s no other conversation I can imagine having right now.

This week I’m directing your attention to a conversation we had two years ago almost to the day with Rachel Cargle, activist, public academic, writer, and lecturer.

If you’re new to anti-racism and liberation work, welcome. Listening to Rachel is a great place to start.

If you’ve been actively engaged with this work for a long time now, I’m glad you’re here. This episode is for you, too.

In this conversation about Unpacking White Feminism you’ll learn:

  • What’s particularly important for white women to know when it comes to showing up for the movement toward racial healing and liberation
  • Why it’s so important to take your anti-racism work offline into your real life relationships as soon as possible and as often as possible (and how to do that)
  • Where capitalism started and how to navigate entrepreneurship in that context
  • An incredibly important yet often overlooked consideration we need to make when we’re researching who to vote for
  • How to find out if your child’s school is racist
  • And so much more

Please note that this conversation was recorded 2 years ago and while the salient points are just as relevant today, some of the details about Rachel and our lives have changed. If we were to have recorded this conversation today I would have asked things differently and not said certain things, but we’re sharing anyway because perfectionism and being afraid of messing up can be a bastion of white supremacy that can silence us and can perpetuate violence in some cases.

Episode 86: Rachel Cargle: Unpacking White Feminism

In This Episode

  • How traveling the world shaped who Rachel is today, and why anyone can do international travel [9:05]
  • The full story behind her photo that went viral [15:30]
  • What’s important for white women to know [20:00]
  • Why Rachel talks about what she does and where she gets her insights [29:20]
  • How she’s bringing her message offline to people [42:50]
  • Where capitalism started and how to navigate entrepreneurship [46:50]
  • What her “Do The Work” campaign is all about [53:35]
  • When Rachel feels she truly developed her voice and platform [56:45]
  • A big thing we can do now to be intentionally anti-racist [64:57]
  • How white privilege is affecting the world [67:53]

Selected Links from the Episode

Rachel’s Website, Instagram & linktree

Her Huffington Post Article and Dear White Women Interactive Document

Rachel’s appearance on The Pantsuit Nation Podcast The Start: A Forum for Radical Social Change (Facebook) Project Life with Mike Watts Workaway

Connect with Kate, Mike & Rachel on Instagram!

People Mentioned

Gloria Steinem Dorothy Pitman Hughes Erica Garner Glennon Doyle Melton

Podcast Details



  • Kerri Winston

    Kate and Mike — thank you for this conversation with Rachel Cargle! I really enjoyed it. There were so many valuable takeaways. You two put the spotlight on Ms. Cargle in a respectful and humane way with your questions and attentive listening. She put into beautiful words much of what I feel and experience on a daily basis. As an African-American, one of the more frustrating aspects of systemic racism for me is that the people who benefit can spend their entire lives without even attempting to understand the perspectives of people who don’t benefit in the same ways. You two really don’t have to do this work. You don’t have to let yourselves be vulnerable in this way, but please know that you are seen, appreciated, and trusted. Thank you!!!

    • Kate Northrup

      Thank you Kerri! Knowing that this was valuable for you makes my heart sing. Yes, we don’t technically “have to” do this work, but I feel very deeply in my core that we do. So we are. Thanks so much for listening in!

  • Emy

    Kate and Mike: this conversation stirred feelings inside I never knew I had. So much so that it has brought me to comment which I never do. My first feeling at listening was anger which is why I had to wait a few days before posting a comment. Anger because I felt the discourse was very negative towards white women. Ms. Cargle generalizes all white women under 1 umbrella. She’s insulting of all white women especially those who have worked hard to make a financially wealthy and rich living for themselves (I’m not one of them yet btw) and making the assumption that this was done with their parents’ money. Not all successful white women were born into money. Frankly she is insulting not only of white women but by speaking as she does of white women she is at the same time insinuating that all black women come from poverty and/or that black women do not have the ability to become financially wealthy as some white women have. Which we have seen is not true. I believe that until all women, black and white, come together under 1 umbrella as 1 gender instead of 2 races we will always be struggling for equality with men. We will always be fighting racial bias. I’m not saying we shouldn’t fight racism. I’m just saying we should fight it as one. And coming out in the podcast saying white women can’t be trusted is not the way to attract all white women to the cause she is working on promoting. There may have only been 1 or 2 seconds at the end of the podcast where she said something positive about a movement being brought by a group of white women but otherwise the podcast was white women bashing. She may have a white woman following but not all of us are going to be drawn to her with insults. Honestly, we shouldn’t continue carrying our ancestors mistakes. It’s a big burden and one we’ve carried for far too long. Not all white women are Roseanne Barrs. Having said all this I do want to thank you for bringing this conversation to the forefront. Also, as a disclaimer please note this comment is straight from listening to the podcast. It may be that Ms. Cargle’s writings reflect a bit of a different voice. I don’t know because I’ve never really heard of her or read anything she’s written. I will take your advice however and read the letter to the white women. It may change my opinion of her and her mission. Thanks again

    • Kate Northrup

      Thanks for sharing your response, Emy. I hear you. Grouping all of any type of person together is indeed a generalization and it’s not possible that all of any type of person feel the same way or act the same way. We felt this conversation was incredibly important to have given how out of touch with the realities of Women of Color many white women in the spirituality and personal growth world have been. I knew the conversation would make some listeners uncomfortable and angry. When I find myself getting really uncomfortable and angry I try to ask myself why. Is it because someone has said something that’s close to the truth? Is it because there’s something within me that needs to be looked at or voiced that has not had a chance to come to light yet? Those questions may not resonate with or apply to you, but if they do, I hope you’ll take the opportunity to take a look. Our company president, Licia Morelli, made a great point to me yesterday that I’ll share with you in case it’s helpful: when we listen to and lift up the most marginalized voices, all of our needs get met. We are all indeed interconnected. I wish we were further along in our history so that there wasn’t such a huge divide between the experiences of white women and Women of Color, but we’re just not there yet. I believe the way to get there is to listen compassionately to those who’ve had different experiences than us and to amplify these voices to start to bridge the divide. It’s important to give women like Rachel the space to share that in her experience, which is vastly different than mine, she’s found white women to be untrustworthy. Does it hurt to hear that? Absolutely. But it makes me listen closer so that I can find out why and I can ensure that the spaces I participate in and create are safe spaces for everyone. So, that’s what we’re choosing to do with our platform at this time. Thanks for listening and being part of the conversation. It’s not easy. It’s not comfortable. But this is how we heal.

  • Thanks for this wonderful podcast. Great work. Great spirit.

  • Marylou Cook

    Thank you for using your platform to share and educate on this topic!

    I’m an educated white women who lives in Maine and this subject is not talked about enough in our circles. I feel we continue to hide behind our white privilege regardless of education and affluence because we can. Thank you for being bold enough to lead in starting the conversation.

    Again,I really value the opportunity that you provided here in this podcast to hear different perspectives! If we are not challenging ourselves we are not growing and if we are not growing we are not changing. Thank you!


    • Kate Northrup

      Thank you so much for listening in, Marylou, and for being open to another perspective. I so honor that! Please spread the word in your community!

  • Rachel’s work is so appreciated. I always learn something new from her, and as a white woman, am always am taken aback by her statements. But it is a healthy discomfort that causes me to look deeper at myself and what is happening around me. Thank you for this episode.

    • Kate Northrup

      Thank you so much for listening in. I agree – the learning and the healing comes from leaning into the discomfort.

  • Rachel

    Thanks for your podcast with Rachel Cargle. Love her work so much! Love how you are educating people around racism, social justice, and more.

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