Action Call #11: Dismantling White Supremacy on the Front Lines and Loving Ourselves in the Trenches

Photo credit: Jordy Yager

If you think white supremacy just rode into America on the Trump Train, chances are you’re a) white as snow, b) in dire need of a history book not written by Republicans, and c) privileged as fuck.

White supremacy is as American as Manifest Destiny. Both ideologies exalt white nationalism while rationalizing the genocide of over 110 million indigenous Americans and the enslavement of 30 million Africans. Hitler didn’t invent concentration camps; he modeled his “final solution” on the United States’ Indian reservations. The neo-Nazi white supremacists rampaging in Washington, Portland, and Charleston weren’t made in Germany — they are America’s own fascist chickens coming home to roost and murder.

Contrary to the rosy picture white Americans like to paint, white supremacy didn’t die during the Civil Rights Era. It just became less obvious to white people, masterfully tucked away in nearly every corner of American society from health care, education, and policing to more brazen forms of racial subjugation like mass incarceration. But blatant hate crimes and overt racism is making a comeback, with reported incidents jumping from 70 attacks a year in the 1990s to more than 300 a year since 2001. And after Trump was elected? 900 bias-related incidents were reported against minorities within the first 10 days. Trump’s racist rhetoric continues to provide the perfect climate for white supremacists: Nooses have been hung on college campuses, outside a middle school, and at the African American Smithsonian museum. Transgender women of color continue to be murdered at an alarming rate. Immigrants from India were recently killed by white men yelling, “Go back to your country,” an all too familiar racist refrain that’s been used in verbal and physical attacks against Vietnamese-Americans, Chinese Americans, Latinx people, Muslim people, and many more.

But let’s be clear. White supremacy doesn’t just look like Trump supporters and racist skinheads. White liberals also uphold it and perpetuate racism. While many enthusiastically support giving platforms to neo-Nazis, barely any white progressives are raging on behalf of Princeton Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, who canceled all public appearances amid death threats she received after her commencement speech condemning our current abuser-in-chief. Neither is there white liberal uproar over the consistent Facebook censorship of Black women, nor the lynching threats against a Black congressman calling for Trump’s impeachment. White liberal “allies” are as guilty as the Klan when it comes to upholding whiteness.

The impact of white supremacist culture is killing people of color. Literally. From racial trauma to premature death, every day is a constant hypervigilant struggle for emotional and physical survival in a white supremacist society. The cumulative, long-term effects of white supremacy further devastates our Black and Brown communities. And it’s not letting up anytime soon. From inside the White House to random attacks on the streets, people of color are being terrorized everywhere. Even our schools aren’t safe.

American white supremacists are counting on violence and intimidation to further their nationalist agenda. We need to fight back. We need to be loving and vigilant support systems for people being threatened collectively and individually. A safety pin or pink-knitted hat isn’t gonna cut it. The battle against white supremacy calls for some real weaponry, from white people becoming anti-racist accomplices to POC practicing self-preservation and self-care.

Join us this week as we move from support and solidarity to dismantling the increasing threat of white supremacy.

ACTIONS

We are beyond the safety pin. People of color need accomplices, not allies. This call requires a hard commitment to showing up and undoing racism in substantial ways. Here are actions specifically for 1) people of color who overwhelmingly carry the burden of anti-racist work while living under the daily threats of white supremacy; 2) white people who need to step up and be accountable for containing white violence; and 3) everyone who wants to move from bystander to accomplice.

ACTIONS FOR PEOPLE OF COLOR: Let’s make sure to love and protect one another while we are fighting for our own and collective survival. Protect yourself, especially in white spaces. The everyday fight against white supremacist culture and hypervigilance is exhausting. In addition to showing up at the polls, protests, and town halls, people of color are in the trenches daily by virtue of existing. Recall Audre Lourde’s words on self-care: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

ACTIONS FOR WHITE PEOPLE: White people are responsible for racism, so they are responsible for undoing it. Deepen your awareness of racial violence/trauma and your commitment to effective anti-racism efforts.

ACTIONS FOR EVERYONE: We all need to be effectively prepared, vigilant, and responsive. Be the resistance we need to see in the world. Never let white racial violence slide anywhere or anytime and don’t lose sight of the human beings harmed by that violence and what it means to show up for them. Whether it’s a subtle comment, overt hate speech, a microaggression, or a physical threat of violence — react. Silence is complicity.

Be prepared individually to act against hate and counter racial violence in the moment.

Be prepared to act collectively in the greater anti-racism and transformative justice movement. Individual action is good, but group action is MUCH stronger.

DONATIONS:

Support those leading the fight against white supremacy and seeking to build transformative justice.

BOLD (Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity) is dedicated to rebuilding the social justice infrastructure within Black communities so they can organize more effectively and “re-center Black leadership in the U.S social justice movement.” BOLD recognizes that the lives of Black people will only improve with collaborative social organizing. Donations help support and train local organizers and directors who aim to transform current social justice movements. Donate here.

People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB) is an anti-racist, multicultural collective of community organizers and educators striving to build a movement for effective social transformation. PISAB views racism as the biggest obstacle to creating cross-cultural coalitions and challenging institutionalized racism. Through workshops and consultation, PISAB supports individuals, communities, organizations, and institutions in their efforts to undo the root causes of racism in order to create a more equitable society. Support their work here.

Political Research Associates (PRA) is a social justice think tank that engages in research and analysis challenging the full spectrum of U.S. alt-right fascist ideology. Their mission is to support movements that are building a more just and inclusive democratic society. In operation since 1981, PRA has worked to expose right-wing movements, institutions, and ideologies that undermine human rights. PRA is committed to advancing social justice through their investigative work on reproductive justice, LGBTQ rights, racial/immigrant justice, civil liberties, and economic justice. Support PRA’s crucial work in fighting right-wing extremism by donating here.

You can support our work financially here: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/solidaritywoc

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Threads of Solidarity: WOC Against Racism

A collective voice for women of color solidarity and liberation. Warding against the sunken place. Not here for delusional Becky or Chad the Explainer.