Kappa Alpha Theta sorority spring pledge class, Fresno State College, March 7th, 1964, Lance Nix, Creative Commons

Hired by White Women: a reflection by an artist of color in Minneapolis

Sun Yung Shin
17 min readJun 28, 2020


“The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in.” — James Baldwin

Because I currently make my living as a freelancer in the arts and education realms, I suppose I end up giving white women a lot of power, although I am also supported by white women who hire me and with whom I work to get things done that we both agree should be done. It’s transactional – and both impersonal and personal. I find it can be hard to map the blurs between power, gratitude, ingratitude, mutuality, and colonialism. I’m trying to take a moment to reflect on this so I can move forward staying true to my values, not just the quest for gigs. I want to do what I can to make sure I’m not just bolstering white supremacy and fooling myself into thinking I’m being a part of making antiracist change.

Activist Daniel Hunter in his book Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow: an organizing guide, talks about four major roles in movements (in no particular order; he uses a grid):





As an artist and writer, I don’t really fall into any of these categories, although…



Sun Yung Shin

MAT, MFA. Writer, poet, editor, bodyworker, gardener. She/they. Author or editor of nine books, plus three forthcoming in 2024 and 2025. www.sunyungshin.com