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 Know – If 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.