[ Editor’s Note: This short piece says it all about a major part of the Social Justice fight within the Anglophone World and does it far better than I could. — TheAngryindan ]
This is becoming a common refrain amongst identity-obsessed liberals: the notion that white people who engage in racial justice organizing and activism should be stuck in a perpetual self-flagellation routine in order to prove just how down they are for the cause. This is, to put it mildly, the most fucking bonkers idea I have ever heard in my time as an organizer.
As a Black person, a native Southerner, and a socialist, I honestly just need white folks to show up and stand in solidarity. I don’t need them to be perfect. I don’t need them to “give me all your money”. I don’t need them to be silent. I don’t need them to perform depression and angst. I need them to hold signs. I need them to chant like it’s no tomorrow. I need them to sign up for an ideology — socialism — that will lead to the liberation of the masses.
If doing all that is triggering for some, then it ain’t mysterious white leftists (articles like this always have a mysterious and shouty white leftist) that are the problem. Perhaps a more useful tool for this author, rather than a keyboard and a computer, would be a mirror.
For White People Who Want to Attend #BlackLivesMatter Protests – Wear Your Voice – But after a while, I started realizing that trying to work with white people in direct actions became extremely triggering and tasking. I would witness many white people show up and want to be in the front — not to protect us, but to be visible and be in a photo. There would be swarms of white anarchists showing up, chanting “Fuck the Police,” completely disrupting our original chants and heightening the potential for violence against the Black protestors. Easily though, the anarchists almost outdo the groups of #AllLivesMatter folks who come out to walk in the protest but miss the entire point — even when most of the Black people call them out. Then there’s the white folks that show up ready to antagonize us and insert their opinion about how Black people are navigating their pain and oppression. From “We all just need to love each other!” and “This is a class issue!” and “No more violence! *Insert MLK quote*” … White people are 400 years too fucking late for a round of applause for a damn tweet with a hashtag, or for showing up to a damn rally. So many white folks use politicization around #BlackLivesMatter to perform woke-ness because they are still praised in doing so. There is a special snowflake card issued to every white person who goes above existing in silence. But the reality is that even when white people “speak up,” those words are often plagiarized from us, they’re almost always given without citation or credit to whichever Black person they heard/read it from and they are almost always in a position to do more than just “talk.” Here are the things that matter the most at this point in time for white people who want to show up to a #BlackLivesMatter protest:
Recently, an article was written about me and my essays on #BlackLivesMatter on a site called InfoWars.com. The site founder, Alex Jones, is notorious for being an American conspiracy theorist (lol@ white conspiracy theorists). The article was written to invalidate my work around how white allies should participate in the #BlackLivesMatter movement in which they are the oppressor.
In the last three days, I’ve received numerous death threats, various PayPal transfers of .01 and .10 telling me “we’re even” for reparations or telling me they’ve paid me more than I’m worth, a flood of violent comments all over my social media platforms and threats with my address information. All of this is because I said that Black Lives Matter. This pushback and level of violence is primarily because white people, even the ones who think they’re committed to “racial justice,” hate to hear the reality that your role is very limited in the liberation for Black folks.
Reparations and structural shift of power. We don’t need lip service, your presence at a protest, or your one time post of our hashtag. We need you to give us the resources you’ve stolen from us, while also shifting the power within this system in our favor so we can dismantle it. So much of whiteness and white fragility requires that Black people be in subordination or seen as charity to their guilt, power and sustainability built on violence. To ask white people to be our “friends” while we’re being murdered would only ever benefit white people’s culpability. To make room for white people in ways that allows for trusting them beyond their 400-year resume of killing and harming us is to be compassionate to those who have no conscious.
Yes, there are white people who are committed to this work, committed to the spiritual path they need to take for their deep-rooted savage vehemence — but why do I ever have to give disclaimers or stipulations on why most white people will never be about structural change or ever be willing to give up every piece of comfort they have? Also, clearly there ain’t enough of these white folks committed to dismantling white supremacy and antiblackness because if there were, you would hear about them before anyone else (because that’s how humanized whiteness is).