Stuff White Allies Do

The following is based upon an open letter to “white anti-racists” entitled The White Racist Is an Oxymoron written by Kil Ja Kim.

Most white folks who claim to be anti-racist or allies in the struggle against racism seem to always fall into certain traps that creates annoyance, frustration, distrust, and ultimately, expulsion from the cause. Some will no doubt sit in their comfy homes, depressed and ask themselves ‘why’ while others will whine and moan about “those people” and how they treated them. Still, they will let their inner racism influence them to believe that something is wrong with ‘those’ people.

Here is a list of things that white allies against racism have done to catch hell and what they should do not to intimidate others if they truly are committed to the cause:

1. The Meaning of Racism – It’s ironic that most whites are ignorant about the creation they’ve unleashed upon this Earth, but their programming and privileges have made them ignorant to their own establishment.

Racism is more than just white men in white sheets, cross burnings, noose sightings and epithets. Racism is the systematic structure designed to maintain one group’s superiority over other groups based on the false concept of race. It is evident within public and private institutions within a society such as employment practices such as hiring and pay, the education system, the justice system along with the prison industrial complex, politics, the media, and corporate rule.

Need To Know – White allies must be willing to do some research. Read books and articles by scholars and noted authors that have actually done extensive analysis. Googling the information online is not always reliable.

2. Laziness – Some white people who call themselves ‘allies’ are too lazy to do any work. So, they believe that having friends who are people of color (POC) is all that it takes. Then, you have some who don’t, but still consider themselves anti-racists.

Need to Know – If whites are unfamiliar to what racism is and how it affects others, then they need to learn, and I mean LEARN. They may find out some things they never knew.

3. Emotional – I’ve seen this online, and have yet to see it in person. When POC talk about the racism that white society inflict upon them on a constant basis, some whites who listen in become offended. But, they are not offended by what happened to the POC, they are more offended that POC are talking about whites in that manner.

Most so-called white allies will include themselves in the white racist collective which is often a clue that suggests that they are not mentally prepared to take part in the movement. So, these white people will gripe about how what you’ve said was hurtful, flipping the script and blame you for expressing your views and feelings.

Need to KnowIf a white ally is against racism, why should he(she) be offended about what is said about them which is usually based on fact, personal, social, or historical? White people will say how they like to be judged as individuals even though most of them see us as big monolithic groups. So, why group themselves into the collective at that certain moment in time?

If white anti-racists want to be a part of the program, they need to stop thinking that anyone is referring to them specifically, and they must take in the bad with the good. In other words they need to keep their inflated white egos in check.

4. Criticism – White folks have a hard time taking criticism from POC about their behavior. Some who claim to be “on our side” will put their feet in their mouths when they are being told what they should and should not do.

Need To Know – We all must endure criticism at one point or another. So, it’s irrational to take it personal especially if it doesn’t apply to you as an individual.

5. No White Stars – All forums and movements that recognize the strife that POC have to go through are for POC to seek support. Most are not likely for white people who go through their share of problems. That is not to say they can’t participate, but they can not shift all the focus to them. But it happens too often.

They make themselves the stars of a show that’s not about them. They alienate the POC who are the real subjects. In the end those anti-whites end up disrupting the effort with their sense of entitlement.

In some cases white allies appoint themselves as the leaders of any development as if they are more qualified to speak for others, especially POC. Again, that is white entitlement showing out.

Need To Know – White allies who are victims of social justice themselves and want to hook up with anti-racism movements and conversations need to “know their place” which is not at the head of the group. POC are perfectly capable of speaking for themselves and organizing action. Yes. We are aware that white men, by default, are seen as people more qualified to get any job done, but POC don’t want or need a white savior to come to our rescue. We didn’t ask for a white leader, and we don’t want to our conversations and movements “colonized”.

If whites are unable to comply, then they need to start their own movements and leave ours the fuck alone. Period.

6. Whiteness – ‘Whiteness’ is the term used to describe the economic, social, political, corporate, and psychological systems that maintain supremacy of white skin and European features and cultures. This does not necessarily include white people as this has an affect on anyone born into this world, white and non-white.

Need To Know – Whiteness is not the same as ‘white people’. Furthermore, this is not to say that white people is evil or that white skin is ugly. This DOES suggest that there is a matrix ran mostly by white males to keep the system and illusion alive and guess what? Most whites are a part of this matrix.

Whiteness brings privileges. However, whiteness can also deprive (white) folks of intellectual and psychological evolution, among other things. So, if white allies want to help, they need to destroy whiteness without question or hesitation.

7. Treats – White folks who participate in anti-racism work are expected some kind of recognition or recompense for the work they are supposed to do like being known as a “good white person” or some kind of “medal of honor”.

Need To Know – This kind of work is not for some kind of “payment”. This is something done out of altruism, because it’s the right thing to do. If white people expect something in return abstract or otherwise, then they are in the wrong place.

8. No Other Isms – Some white allies believe that there are other isms and phobias that are more important than racism. They will make it known while telling you, out of the goodness of their white hearts, why it is so.

Need To Know – Most POC are more than aware of the various other isms and phobias plaguing society, but if the topic is racism, the topic is RACISM. So, no white person has the authority to tell POC what the real issue is. That is self-serving and pompous.

9. No Ostriches – Some whites believe that if we all bury our heads in the sand like how ostriches supposedly do, racism will go away. But, anyone with common sense knows that it will only make it worse. Still, those whites get pissed whenever POC acknowledge racism because they think that that is racism itself…against whites.

I’m still trying to find logic in that conclusion, but there is none.

Need To Know – Racism won’t die if we avert our energy towards eradicating it. It will, and has, morphed into equally destructive forms all for the goal of keeping certain people down. You can’t walked out in the middle of a busy street, blindfolded and not expect a passing car to run you down. So, don’t expect racism to magically vanish into thin air if we sit on our asses and pretend that it’s not there.

10. You are Racist – Some white allies who participate in anti-racism movements hate to profess their own racism. As a result of their negligence their racism will show. Thus, they’ve screwed themselves.

Just for a second, close your eyes. Now open them. Has the world changed into a post-racial utopia? No? Nuff said.

Need To Know – If whites are living in a white dominated society, they are likely taught in some way, shape or form that they are superior while other “races” are inferior to them. Whether they were taught by their parents, schools, or by the media, if they absorb it, then they are likely prejudice and racist. I will go so far as to say that all white people are racists.

White allies need to own up to that intensely strong possibility if they ever have a chance of helping to fight racism. One can not fight a sickness if they are ill themselves. Some have, but many have not. And white allies need to fight against other whites who uphold this sick ideology.

If white people are genuine about destroying the systems and mindset that continue to oppress human beings, then they need to know that it’s not easy, fun to do, or for a prize. If they hope to get anywhere with the struggle, then they need to do just that – struggle.



19 thoughts on “Stuff White Allies Do

  1. Brilliant post!

    Agreed. Racism can become seeded within. I’ve known this through my own introspections and maturation. Working on it is constant.

    In response to point 7), for those that try to escape the racist chimera, i think it takes support. People who are learned and people who are unlearned struggle with this in varying degrees on a day-to-day basis. It is not to say that whites deserve a cookie when they do right, but it takes someone who is of color to instruct what is intolerable and then acknowledge it as such (and likewise what is acceptable). It is obviously not a social requirement that Blacks lift a finger. But it might help people learn, which one might find, they are more willing to do when the social sanctions are positive as well as negative.

    Also, I would add:

    There are those objectively/explicitly obvious hateful or degrading words and ideas that should be immediately boycotted and then there is everything else (some of which you have outlined in your post). It is hard for the everything else category to be clear for people with little to no experience in inter-cultural issues.

    For example, remember that post that ChescaLeigh made about sh#t white girls do. It was not immediately obvious to white people that those subtly racist gestures were subtly racist at all.

    They were completely ignorant of the effect that their behaviors have on Blacks. Which goes to your earlier point about self-education. However how do people self-incentivize a learning that they are not even sure will help their evolution if they don’t have some sort of positive reinforcement.

    It is a team effort to end racism. The more cooperation that both sides show towards its end, the better results are possible.

    1. The thing is JT is that it’s almost impossible to give positive reinforcement to most of a people that have been told numerous times in the past up to today what they must do by other groups, but they ignored it. Plus, some of those people don’t care enough to listen to what POC say if it disagrees with them, disrupts their mindset, or put them on the spot no matter how “nice” or positive it is.

  2. This is superb! Any action that a white person takes to destroy the institution of racism must first start within their inner circle. Too many white “allies” don’t like to address the racism that is close to home.

  3. This is excellent. Any white person, who truly wishes to understand and help fight racism, MUST read and understand this. They need to not take it personally and realize that it’s not all about them – and at the same time, accept the fucking responsibility for creating and unleashing this disease in the first place.

  4. The other Black folk at my work have been receiving letters threatening to kill, dismember, slaughter, lynch them, burn their homes, kill their families etc for the past seven years. As of yet, they have yet to apprehend the miscreant. I have had white ‘allies’ take me aside and profess ‘sympathy’ in ‘secret’. As of yet however, they have not done this in public in any way shape or form. So much for ‘white’ allies. They exist more likely in writing books for cash. They profess anti-racist sentiments to make themselves feel like human beings. With such aid being ‘offered’, you don’t need their help. Blacks and some other racialized people have to fight, or protest this bullshit on their own. That way they won’t owe these clowns anything.

  5. Right now, I am writing a complaint for an outside venue. I have several racist incidents for which no closure has ensued. It pisses me off that I have to write this shit to the detriment of pursuing things eminently more enjoyable . I have a friend who has resorted to hiring a lawyer at his own expense. His case is finally being heard. this whole system here is racially and systemically biased against black folk. The ones who benefit from the system besides white men are white woman. Whenever they complain, they jump through hoops to help them. My time is precious, I’d rather not spend it on such endeavors. However, If I don’t, they will continue on their merry ways. Nope, white allies can go fuck themselves. If you want anything done, you have to do it for yourself. Luckily for me, I learned this at an early age so it is not as bad as it was for these other letter recipients who ‘found’ out that whites don’t give a shit about them or their travails. They were met with derision and had opportunistic motives ascribed to their complaints. I’ll just say I wasn’t surprised in the least. Some actually suffered mentally when they found out that the whites, even some were not their ‘allies’. The ones who professed sympathy did so behind closed doors.

    1. Good luck – keep up the fight!

      I’ve realized that the only way to protect myself at any future places of employment is to secretly and surreptitiously record any and all conversations I have with any and every co-worker! Sure, taping conversations without knowledge is illegal, but, supposedly, so is discrimination at work. It’s fascinating that the only on-the-job complaints that are taken seriously are those levied by white women, no matter how petty or ridiculous those complaints really are.

  6. I’m giving myself a treat by catching up on some BrothaWolf reading this afternoon. I see you are still kickin’ a** and takin’ names. Good for you. I love how you talk about “struggle” being an important part of “THE struggle.” It’s interesting how some White folks talk about THE struggle, but want it to be easy or they quickly tire of it. If it’s easy, you’re doing it wrong.

  7. Thanks a lot for writing this, it’s awesome.

    (Some things take a lot of time to learn, I admit. But this [as the your blog in general] is really very helpful in that process.)

      1. (I hope, this is not inappropriate here)
        I’ve noticed that you are going through tough times…
        I just wanted to say that your blog means a lot to many people.
        You mean a lot to many people- also in times when everything appears grey and hopeless.
        Please don’t give up.

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