This is the challenge!
May 13th 2019,
There are two general camps of thought in Black culture about solidarity with white people.
Those who believe that it can be productive
Those who believe that it can never be productive
The Second group’s position is often supported by the response of white people to the FirstAre there Black people who look at the history of whiteness in America and find nothing to feel for white people but righteous indignation and scorn?
Are there those who seek the humanity trapped under whiteness?
But let me explain. Mostly we just don’t trust y’allThe whole point of whiteness was to tie assorted Europeans together in a shared identity.
The unifying thread was a principle of anti-Blackness
As with any fraternity,cult or gang, the benefits come with a demand for undying loyalty.To ask a white person to show solidarity with Black people is to literally ask that they turn against whiteness — the source from which their power, privilege, normalization, and very identity flows.To show solidarity with Black people is to literally turn against whiteness.
There is no way to show solidarity with Black people while still performing whiteness.
They are mutually exclusive.We get that this is hard.
We get that you might really really want to do it.
We get that you may have put in all sorts of effort.
It’s just that we don’t trust that when it comes down to the line, you won’t choose whiteness.Put it this way.
If there’s a national disaster and everyone has to evacuate, let’s say. We EXPECT that white people would find some way to prioritize the escape of white peopleWe expect that white friends and allies will suddenly be all
“Well it’s pragmatic, you see. We WOULD like to get everybody, but we have to take care of ourselves first, if you were in our position (which you’re not) we’re sure you’d do the same. Ok. Real sorry. Bye!”This seems cynical until you realize that this has happened over and over again.
It happens every time a Black child is killed by police and white people don’t riot.
It happens every time a white politician tells Black people to wait for their turnIt happens each time a white person unfriends a Black person for mentioning their racism.
It happens each time a white person threatens to withdraw their “allyship”
It happens each time a white person demands the stage when Black people are speakingEvery Black person who has close relationships with white people shares the experience of at some point having to think or say “Oh come ON. Not you TOO!”
White people are Lucy asking Black people to try and kick the football just one more time.
This time. Y’all promiseSo by and large, as nice as y’all are. As well meaning as y’all may be. As honest and forthright as y’all may be in everyday life.
We don’t TRUST y’all.If you’re a white person and a Black person loves you, cares for you, supports you, believes in you….
Remember that this is DESPITE the fact that fundamentally, we can’t trust you.
Don’t take it personally. Just prove us wrong. And don’t expect credit if you do.Time and time again white people remind us that while your causes should be ours, our causes are not yours.
Solidarity with Black people is optional for white people because if you withdraw your solidarity, nothing changes for you.In fact, the legacy of whiteness on society makes it such that withdrawing support from Black people is a benefit.
It allows retreat into your comfort zone. It allows you to enjoy your privilege without concern. It eases relationships with other white people.Everything about whiteness makes throwing Blackness under the bus the easiest and most immediately beneficial option.
SociallyWhiteness as a construct pits rational self-interest against human decency.
It leverages loss avoidance to keep people tethered.
It constantly reminds white people the cost of turning against whiteness
To trust you, Black people would have to have faith in you rejecting it allWhite people have no discernible track record of doing this in any organized or significant fashion.
It has never been prioritized. And why would it? What system explicitly prioritizes its own destruction?You will sell us out for your jobs
for your partners
for your kids
for an election
for a stock price
for maintenance of self-image
for preferential treatment
for default status
Hell. You’ll sell us out for retweets.
Why trust you?Now you understand why Black people raise an eyebrow at your peace-seeking calls for kumbaya.
(50 points to any white person who knows what kumbaya means besides a corny, naive call for peace?)
If you don’t know. Think about that for a second.Now, knowing all this.
Look at your pleas for acceptance through our eyes.
Look at your demands to have your opinions heard
Look at your admonishments for not joining your white cause, candidate, crusade.Ask yourself what presumption of good faith white people have earned.
How much of your comfort, safety, quality of life, standard of living are you willing to sacrifice in the name of solidarity with Black people?
Don’t answer. Think about it.
I hope I never forget this till the day I die
Am I willing to let solidarity with people actually cost me something?
Would I fight for a cause that doesn’t benefit me, or may even result in me losing privilege?
Do I even know what that privilege actually looks like, in my every day life?