The problem, which [white people] invented, has made of them criminals and monsters, and it is destroying them.
— James Baldwin

DIRTY WHITE MATTER is a community-based project that uses art and group discussion to de-purify white femininity and increase accountability.

It takes two forms:
PERFORMANCE (more info can be found


DIRTY WHITE MATTER community discussion events use everyday materials, group discussion, recorded interviews and guided art exercises. Participants will be invited to manipulate materials that visually represent harmful ideas of whiteness and white femininity. While we work, we'll listen to recorded interviews with women of color discussing their experiences with whiteness. Afterward, we'll discuss as a group.

**EVERYONE IS WELCOME, no matter your gender, race, etc... POC who attend have the option to listen to the conversation and do not have to speak unless they want to. White folks who attend are compassionately encouraged to participate in the conversation.**

• Upcoming dates (2019)
Saturday, January 12, 1-3p
The Carrack, 947 E. Main St Durham

I find it really difficult to convince white women, or white people, that we need to be liberated from anything. And yet I can think of so many ways that whiteness has constrained me and shrunk my sense of what’s possible.
— female Dirty White Matter participant

[Please note that the above quote is referring to whiteness as a social construct, not to white privilege. ]

I’ve seen the paperwork from my family owning other people…nobody knows how to process it...and then it gets worse generationally and it just lays there all the time and you ignore it.
— female Dirty White Matter participant

• Donations:
These events are free.
[Donations from white participants are welcome! If you're able, $10-$20 optional donations help offset the material costs and helps cover the cost of compensating non-white interviewees for their time and expertise. To make a donation, please visit] 

If you have questions, please email me at meg [dot] stein [dot] artist [at] gmail [dot] com. 

1. Can I come to more than one event?
Yes, of course! You can participate in as many events as you’d like. You’re also welcome to only come once. Each event can stand alone, though they offer a different conversation and recorded interview each time.
2. Do I have to live in Durham, NC to participate?
While we used to offer participants outside NC the option of joining via video conference, we’ve found that it’s best for everyone if all participants join in person. If you live outside Durham, NC and want to participate in an event, please contact me at to set one up.
3. Is there a way I can participate in the project without joining any of the events? 
Yes, if you can't or don't want to physically join the project, you are welcome to contribute to the project by donating. Please see the "Support the Project" button in the left-hand column.  You can also look at the resource list on this page for other, similar projects that may interest you. 
4. None of these dates work for me. Can I still participate? 
Yes, you can email me to set up an additional event on a date that works for you. You can also email me to discuss other ways you can be involved. 
5. Who can participate?
Everyone is welcome to participate. This project focuses on discussing whiteness and femininity with the aims of disrupting and transforming harmful narratives and increasing the accountability of white folks towards people of color. However, everyone who wants to join that conversation is welcome at the events, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc...
6. Can women of color participate in this project in other ways besides joining in person?
Yes, there are a few different ways that women of color are being included in this project. As mentioned above, anyone is welcome to join the events. Non-white females can also participate by being interviewed on their experiences with whiteness. The interviewers and the interviewees are each paid for their time (everyone receives $20/hr). "Dirty White Matter" considers all non-white people experts on whiteness and systemic, race-based oppression in the US. The intention here is to validate every non-white person's experiences and to properly acknowledge the amount of emotional labor and work required to live as a non-white person in our white-dominated society. Because interviewers and interviewees are sharing their hard-earned knowledge and experiences, they should be paid for their time.  Lastly, I am always open to talking with anyone (including non-white and/or non-female people) who is interested in participating in some way. 
7. What materials are used in the project and how were they selected?
The symbolic materials used were selected because they visually represent harmful narratives about whiteness and gender. Every participant is given some combination of materials from this list: tampons, maxi pads, cotton balls, cotton face wipes, panty liners, gauze pads, and q-tips. These materials all use cotton, which is, obviously, a racially charged material in the US. As a plant, cotton is actually an off-white color, so these bright white materials have been bleached to become ivory white. Part of what the materials provide is a lens through which we can look at narratives around whiteness, such as the idea that bright white means “clean, sterile, pure” etc. These materials only come in the color bright white. They are also all used in an intimate bodily way, which also allows us to consider how those ideas of cleanliness and purity affect white women and women of color. Participants are also invited to bring materials that, for them, are connected to whiteness. 

Here is a list of similar projects that may also be of interest to you:
Nice White Ladies
The Whiteness Project

Here is a list of artists, curators, writers, podcasts, books, organizations and other resources that have greatly aided me in my racial justice work:
Seeing White podcast (produced at the Center for Documentary Studies in Durham, NC)
The Racial Equity Institute (based in Greensboro, NC)
"White Fragility" by Rodin DiAngelo
• “A Syllabus for Making Work About Race as a White Artist in America” by Ryan Wong
• I Am Not Your Negro
Triangle SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice)
White Supremacy Culture (produced by SURJ)
White Women, Race Matters: The Social Construction of Whiteness by Ruth Frankenburg
• Towards the "Other America": Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter by Chris Crass
• "Your Silence Will Not Protect You: Racism in the Feminist Movement" by Claire Heuchan
• White: Whiteness and Race in Contemporary Art curated by Maurice Berger
Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines edited by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens and Mai'a Williams
• “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh