Drawing Lines: The Myth of The White Radical
It is important that we as a society move past the idea that white supremacy is only for the skin heads and Nazis. White supremacy is the throughline of our society instilled in us from the time we are born and will stay in us until we die. Even though we are able to recognize that we live in a white supremacist society and that we want to no longer perpetuate that, we must understand that we still are all white supremacists. The process of deconstruction, in this case deconstructing white supremacy is one that should not end. We will be deconstructing white supremacy, patriarchy, transmisogny, human supremacy, and ableism until the day we die – It is how we were cultivated. This is crucial and is fundamental to radicalism. We must get to the root of these things by understanding how we ourselves perpetuate them. It is only from this place of introspection where we can begin to interact with each other with more intention, care, and respect. The same is true for anti-blackness. White supremacy would not be able to exist without anti-blackness. This is something that even as black people we must also understand that we have internalized anti-blackness and that deconstructing it is a key part in working towards our liberation.
One of my biggest critiques on leftism or spaces of resistance culture is that most people feel that their work is done. That they are the philosopher kings and their consciousness needs to go no further. This is not only untrue but dangerous. This sort of mentality allows for abuses to go unchecked, for spaces to continuously become dominated, and for oppressive behavior to be normalized in resistance culture. This is especially true for white radicals. Too many white rads wear the badge of ally or co-conspirator using the title and phrase, that is usually given to them by some poor unwise POC, to grant themselves access into organizing spaces designated for communities of color. When they are challenged, they use the same badge to silence the non-white’s who called them out for their behaviors using phrases such as “I am an ally” or “I worked with the Zapatistas”. This technique is often used by whites to dismiss the concerns and refocus the attention on themselves and all of the ways they contributed to that said non-white community. What this does is readjust the conversation and the organizing on whiteness and allows for the white rad to continue to dominate space, that is unless the white rad is checked by those in the space.
When it comes down to it white people will always have the power of the state on their side. They will always have the ability to use their privileges over non-whites. It is then that drawing lines and creating non-white spaces is not seen as exclusionary but as a safety and healing tactic. Some find the exclusion of whites to be dangerous, they follow the Pedagogy of the Oppressed method and believe it is up to us to heal our oppressors. That logic in and of itself is white supremacist, still putting the needs of whites before non-whites and placing the labor on non-whites, particularly blacks, who must not only do this for white people but other non-black POCs who also perpetuate white supremacy and anti-blackness. It is not my role nor my duty to educate my many oppressors, but I end up doing it anyway – on-the-daily. So much focus is often put on those who are being called out, but what is not acknowledge is the amount energy blacks, especially those who are not cis-men must put into existing in a world that has been trained to hate us. So much internal struggle goes into deciding whether or not to speak out about your uncomfortability. Because really that’s all call out culture is, it’s black people refusing to continue to just silently endure others oppressive behavior. It is through us “calling out” that those who really bother to listen and reflect can try to deconstruct and notice their own violent behavior.
There becomes a point when all the calling out and even the “checking in”, makes you begin to realize that you’ve hit the inevitable white wall. When this happens, especially with those you care for, it is not a glorious moment. It is sad and disappointing, and incredibly frustrating. The white wall exists both interpersonally and within this structure. As I write this I know there is no way in hell any publication will publish this. Not even the ones who proclaim to be more left leaning. I have found that as I continue to write about white supremacy and dominance of whites in all things that exist, I have also hit the white wall within media. Even critiques on white radicaliness must still go through the filters of the gatekeepers.
And isn’t that what white radicals are in general? The gatekeeper of radicalness. One must read the many books from the previous white radicals to be taken seriously in these spaces. One must gain the interest of white radicals so that they can hopefully spare you a few dimes so you can work on your resistance projects. Don’t you dare piss off the white rads, because the white rads control the narrative.
In fact they use their status as a white rad to benefit themselves and further support white supremacy. By providing the white voice in radical culture. They take positions from non-white people, and are published over non-white people, and gain notoriety by whitesplaining the struggles of others. Struggles that they cannot possibly understand but only theorize on. Although some of us have used social media like a crowbar to force our voices into the convo, it still doesn’t change the disproportionate amount of white voices that are circulating.
For white radicals resistance is something they can opt into and most importantly out of, nothing more than a new extreme sport they can post on instagram and make convos with their white more “conservative” friends about. They are able to report on matters of black uprisings, and police shootings without the trauma and triggering aspects of knowing that one day that could be them.
White radicals far too often are given passes by non-whites. They are given cookies for regurgitating thoughts that were shared to them from their non-white friends. They are recognized as radical for criticizing their white culture even though they still benefit from it. Often I’ve found myself disappointed by the self proclaimed white rads. People who are so quick to take lead on projects, get in front of cameras, write about other’s resistance, and talk to the cops, but unable to hear non-whites when being called out for their anti-blackness and white supremacist tendencies.
White rads, you’re on notice, and you have been seent.
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