At this point what I really want to hear from white folxs is “NOT” just this gramophone recording that they are angry/outraged/grieving and how their hearts go out to the black communities. This is an ineffective soundbite.
This sentiment should be expanded by “HOW” their actions (like now, as we speak) should be backed up by some concrete shift in how each of them will behave, act and contribute to dismantling the white supremacy structures which they have created and inhabit. This would mean dismantling their own privileges first by:
- Simply allowing that person of color in the room to speak or speak up or against without immediately shedding white tears (if offended).
- Or standing up against their own white colleagues who are unwilling to interrogate their own white privilege.
- Like speaking up against their administrators, if it becomes clear that they are protecting their white supremacist structures.
- Like forcing institutions and those that lead to use their own complicity with white privilege when they are sending out these statements to the world about BLM and how they will stand up for racism.
- Or even worse, some are even unwilling to even use the word “white privilege, ” “white supremacy,” or “BLM” when speaking about racial disparities to not offend their conservative bases of students, staff and donors.
- Have the courage to confront them without putting a POC to confront them.
And STOP these suggestions for creating a list of resources of this and that (because at this moment I am kinda drowning in resources that have been generated as tall as the Leaning Tower of Pisa) but instead start talking about how you can lead or collaborate in implementing these resources in your homes, workplaces, and various institutions that you are connected to – to actively challenge white supremacy attitudes and practices (which are like weeds everywhere).
If you are an academic then think actively how you can DECOLONIZE your teaching, syllabus and research. For beginners, cite black and brown folxs in your research especially if you are writing about race. Question your senior colleagues who do not. Yeah, nominate your colleagues of color for awards and committees to break this cycle of white privilege. Keep in mind that if you give POC a seat at the table, then LISTEN to what they have to say, especially when they challenge your status quo ideas. They are not wall flowers. They are not here to make you feel good about yourself.
Stop centering yourself and your whiteness. You will not lose your sense of gravity if you decenter yourself a little bit.
Lastly, make a long list of what historically white folxs have LOOTED — resources, lives and dignity. Think about how you can RETURN some of what has been looted (that till this day you actively benefit from). Find this list of loots yourself.
Confront how you continue to benefit from racial capitalism, imperialism, wars and colonialism. Just paying a little extra tip to your landscaper or your house cleaner will not cut it. Think about how you can genuinely improve the conditions of their labor by organizing funds to pay for their health care, childcare, food shortage etc. You get my point.
Only then we will begin to LISTEN to your outrage about the state of this country.
Being an anti-racist is an ACTIVE VERB. Being an anti-racist is not synonymous with being a white savior. So save your “savior moments” for later. There will be plenty opportunities for that in the future.