If you are in a white body, you don’t have the right to argue whether or not a situation involving Black people was just or racist. If you are in a white body, and you have not studied whiteness, racism, systemic oppression, and dominator thinking – instead of arguing that things are just and not racist – take some time to expand your perspective beyond your racial privilege. And if you are in a white body and think you don’t have racial privilege, that is all the more reason to take the time to expand your perspective on race, racism and white supremacy, as well as history and generational gains for folks in dominant categories. If you come to a place of understanding this systemic situation, how it was designed, and what it does and has always done – you won’t have to ask the interrogating questions about whether or not a just legal process was enacted – you will already know it was not. Just acts do not come from a system built and founded on injustice.
I was conditioned to think I wasn’t racist, all the while enacting and gathering racial privilege. I am steeped in white supremacy; to the extent that it has taken years of work and study since a big wakeup call at the age of 18 to gradually build awareness of racism, of my privilege, and its many, many layers. And this dismantling in myself will never end in this lifetime. It is something I must be vigilant about addressing every single day.
I invite you, if you are in a white body and are struggling with these ideas, to take a break from social media, stop arguing, and do some self-development work. Here are some books to read and some movies to watch, which I hope will be helpful. They were helpful to me. It is definitely not an exhaustive list, but useful nonetheless.
Try to learn something about an experience you have never and won’t ever have – and something about the history of this country. Try to understand that no one is trying to take anything from you by pointing out privilege, by standing for justice for Black people, and by working to dismantle a heinous system of oppression that is literally woven into the fabric of our country. This movement, this call, is trying to GIVE something to you. This fight against white supremacy is working to restore us all to our humanity; for fully awake humans with functioning hearts could never continue this perpetuation of default injustice and treachery.
Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
The White Racial Frame, by Joe Feagin
Writing Beyond Race, by bell hooks
The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
What it Means to Be White, by Robin Di Angelo
White Like Me, by Tim Wise
Films, Documentaries, and Shows:
Mama Flora’s Family
The Long Walk Home
The Color of Fear
BREONNA TAYLOR - SAY HER NAME!