Home Actions Sensible Responses to White Nonsense

Trigger Warning:  This post and the comments below it contain various expressions of racism paired with arguments against the logic contained within them.  These expressions (labeled “white nonsense” in the post) are nevertheless hurtful and offensive and readers should proceed with care.

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I recently decided to start responding to white critics of Black Lives Matter.

Black activists are busy.  They have a revolution to run and do not have time to be dealing with white nonsense.  But I do.  Below are some common critiques of Black Lives Matter, along with appropriate responses.

Remember, white allies, it’s better to call in than call out.   Calling in makes instances of white ignorance and insensitivity teaching moments, instead of fuck-you moments.  While fuck-you may feel good, calling white people in to being decent and empathic human beings is to everyone’s advantage.

BLM activists, if I get anything wrong, please let me know.

Critique 1: But the Violence!  (ie, misplaced outrage)

White NonsenseIs violence ever acceptable? Looting innocent business owners, firing shots at police, etc. in Ferguson. Carving the name of the cop who shot Brown on the skin of a pig, roasting it and then eating it’s head in front of the Ferguson Police Dept? Angry and rude is far from this level of violence that is being carried out.*

Reasoned Response: Which violence are we choosing to talk about? The cause for these protests is the shooting of unarmed black people, yet that is not the violence that seems to be most upsetting to you. Why do you think that is, [Meredith]?

White Nonsense: I am in no way in defense of the abuse of police power or the mistreatment of innocent blacks. But to fight violence with violence is not the answer. Innocent people are suffering from these protests. This is inexcusable and to make excuses for it is dangerous.*

Reasoned Response: [Brad] I know that the anger of oppressed people can be disconcerting and upsetting, whether it’s symbolic acts, words, or destruction of property. They are angry at the institutions that protect us and do not protect them and they are angry at us for supporting these institutions. The question is, which violence offends us more: the smashing of a police car or the murder of a black child? If the answer is the former, which it is for a lot of white people, then that needs to change. We need to shift our empathy and identification from the institutions of oppression to those who are oppressed.

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Want to talk to other white people fighting the good fight against racist nonsense?

Join the discussion

in the White Nonsense First Responders’ Open Thread

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Critique 2: Annoyance at Hearing About Oppression

White Nonsense: I think [race is] a bit of a potential third rail in American politics. Unfortunately, I think a lot of white voters get tired of hearing about it.*

Reasoned Response: [Tom], white voters get tired of hearing about racism? That is no doubt true, just as men get tired of hearing about sexism or the rich get tired of hearing about the struggles of the poor or non-veterans gets tired of hearing about PTSD. I certainly hope that’s not true of you. That’s also not the country I want to live in. Hearing about the pain of others is a cause for compassion, not annoyance.

Critique 3: You’re Hurting Your Cause! (ie, concern trolling)

White Nonsense: Those interruptions do nothing to stop people dying in the streets, they only give the movement a bad name.*

White Nonsense: Disruptions like this do a big disservice to a great cause.  Anything you’ll say in these minutes will be overshadowed by the fact that your hijacked the microphone.*

Reasoned Response: Well, let’s look at the evidence, [Kelsey].  If we’re talking about [the interruption of Bernie Sanders’ speech] then we can see that in the week following that action:

So I’d say that disruptive tactic did help their cause.  Remember that black lives > white feelings.  If you are arguing the reverse, ask yourself why.

Critique 4: But Black on Black Violence!

White Nonsense: But what about all the other young black murder victims? Nationally, nearly half of all murder victims are black. And the overwhelming majority of those black people are killed by other black people. Where is the march for them? (source)

Reasoned Response: Regardless of harm members of a group do to each other, harms being done to that group by others still need to be addressed.  In the wise words of Cornel West (whom I once saw walking through an airport!), “we have to distinguish between state-sponsored violence and violence against black people owing to actions black people do to each other. Both are important, but they’re not the same thing.”

Diverting attention away from police using this argument is a classic derailment and lets abusive police officers off the hook.  Police officers with hair-trigger tempers who have no respect for the law are a danger to everyone, so diverting attention away from their bad acts harms all citizens.

Critique 5: #BlackLivesMatter is Itself Racist

White Nonsense: What about the argument that the Black Lives Matter movement is Racist in itself by only concerning themselves with black victims of police violence?*

Reasoned Response: There are a variety of ways of defining the word racism.  Some argue that “racism equals power.” According to this interpretation, black and other people of color can be biased or prejudiced, but they can’t be racist.  This is because, according to this interpretation, racism = bias based on skin color + control over institutions that can do harm as a result of those biases.  So a black person can be biased, but they cannot be racist because they lack control over institutions to do harm to white people as a result of that bias.

However… this is not the most common definition.  The prevailing definition focuses exclusively on bias or individual treatment as a result of bias.  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, for example, defines Racism as both “poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race,” which anyone could do, and “the belief that some races of people are better than others,” which could also apply to a person of any skin color.

Fortunately for logical argument, it is not necessary to resolve this definitional question to respond to the above criticism of Black Lives Matter.  As to the question of whether Black Lives Matter holds some form of racial bias because they care about black lives, I give a firm “no.”  Even if some black activists do hold bias against white people (which, to be honest, I find quite understandable), fighting for the rights and welfare of black people is not in and of itself racist.

To show specific support for one group is not inherently oppositional to other groups.   For example, if I am fighting for access to HIV treatment I am not inherently expressing bias towards people who are HIV-negative. If I am fighting for housing for homeless youth I am not inherently biased against adults with homes.  If I am fighting for animal welfare I am not inherently anti-human.

The causes we care about are tied to our experiences, our identities, and who we love.  Each of us must fight for the causes that move our hearts.  This isn’t bias.  This is the engine of human rights and human progress.

Critique 6: Racism Doesn’t Exist Because White People Suffer Too

White Nonsense: Being white doesn’t protect you from this class system, making it a blame game is absolutely racist. Being white doesn’t make you automatically rich, doesn’t protect your home, won’t promise you a job or a life.  It certainly won’t protect you from homelessness or poverty.

Reasoned Response: Identity is intersectional. This means that while some elements of our identity privilege us, others disadvantage us. For example, I am privileged by my whiteness, my middle class background, and being cisgendered, but I am also disadvantaged by being queer and being female.

To take your example, a person who is able-bodied has greater privilege than one who is not.  To accurately articulate that whiteness is being used to divide and disadvantage people who do not have this trait is not racist.  Ignoring this abuse is.

Black people are disadvantaged in our society, so are mentally ill people, so are poor people, so are transgender people…. We live in a very unequal society.

Critique 7: Not All Cops…

White Nonsense First Responder: Any advice on the “not all cops are bad” bullshit?

Reasoned Response: Like “not all white people” and “not all men,”  this line of criticism really doesn’t stand up to logic.  Can you imagine if the Catholic Church had given this response to the pedophile priest scandal?  What if the Vatican spokesperson had said, “Yes, some of our priests are pedophiles, but not all of them are.  In fact, most of our priest are not pedophiles.  For that reason, we see no need to act.  In fact, we don’t even understand what you are all so worried about.”  People would have been legitimately outraged.

If there is an abusive element in any institution of public trust or power, it needs to be dealt with.  Saying there are only a few abusers (whether this is true or not) does not change this fact.

to be continued….

* denotes direct quote from a white person

Critique 4: Added August 20th, thanks to Ryan Carson for suggesting.  Edits made thanks to suggestion from David.

Critique 5: Added August 20th in response to Toby, definition of racism expanded on August 21st based on feedback from Sam and Mike Crossley.

Critique 6: Added August 20th in response to Toby.

Critique 7: Added August 24th on the suggestion of Gypsy B.

[fake name]

image:michaelhyatt.com

105 replies to this post
      • This.

        Mary, even before seeing these comments I’d copied that equation and sent it in an email, with a link to this article, to some like minded friends. Love it. Now I need to send it to my Dad!

        • Kelly, this is great! Reaching out personally to friends and family is exactly what we need to do if we want to change hearts and minds.

  1. All of this!!! Thank you for posting. My first inclination is a big F you. I want the shirt that says “even white people are tired of white peoples’ BS” – so yeah, I need help reigning myself in. This is great! Thank you!

    • I think this is a t-shirt, or at least a sign I’ve seen at a protest. White people have such great power to indicate to other white people what is an is not okay.

  2. Everyone interested in this, go to ShowingUpForRacialJustice.org and find your nearest chapter. One thing my chapter (Corvallis, OR) is planning is an “improv night” for helping people learn to respond to racist jackassery.

  3. What’s a reasoned response to “but what about black on black violence.” I struggle with my “reasonability” when confronted with that one.

    • It’s called a “derailment.” It’s irrelevant to the question of police violence and distracts attention from it. You could make an analogy in response. For example, if your child said “I saw a teacher hit one of my classmates in school today,” you would never say, “well children hit each other too.” Regardless of harm a group does to itself, harms being done TO that group by others still need to be addressed.

    • I think it helps to remember that while most violence is intraracial, the difference between the police and anyone else is that the police are tasked with enforcing the law. They have a level of institutional power and presumed correctness that other people who commit violence will almost certainly lack. The standards should be higher for armed people who represent the state than for ordinary citizens. If the representatives of the law are themselves lawless, this is a greater danger to the population and to justice than typical criminal activity.

    • I think it’s also important to note that one reason people are so frustrated and outraged is the lack of consequences for police who treat blacks with such brutality, and the appearance of cops being able to do whatever they’d like with not just impunity but institutional endorsement. There is no lack of consequences in ‘black-on-black’ violence, in fact the reverse is true – the sentences are often more severe for black defendants.

  4. Ryan, I find it helpful to remind people that police brutality cannot be compared to “black on black violence” because it’s the polices’ duty to serve and protect the public.

  5. Ryan Carson, 85 per cent of white murder victims are killed by other white people, yet when a white person is killed unjustly — by the state or whoever — no one says, “But white people kill white people all the time, so why should anything be done about this white person being murdered by someone other than another white person? If white lives really mattered, white people would stop killing one another. Until they do, why should their lives matter to me?”

    Yet when a black person is murdered at the hands of police, this line gets trotted out, as if the black-on-black crime is some black phenomenon and not a pattern found in all ethnicities.

    But let’s pretend for a minute that black-on-black crime was a real, unique phenomenon. Is the argument then that it’s just too tempting to resist getting in on the fun?

  6. I dig this, thanks for getting it going. I’d take the black people:police::children:teachers analogy out though and consider why that analogy sprung to mind – infantilization has always been a part of white oppression of poc.

    • Yes, I was worried about that, David, as I was writing. You’re right to point it out. I’ve removed the metaphor.

  7. Definitely not loving the “white nonsense” handle. It could just be “nonsense”. Whites aren’t the only ignorant and uniformed population. Coming from a Latino family, I’ve heard the “white nonsense” responses coming out of my family’s mouths as well.

    • I agree that nonsense can come from anywhere, Kayla, but white people have a special role in perpetuating racism in this country, so we have a special responsibility to undo it.

      White people made white supremacy and white people need to break white supremacy.

  8. What about replying to the “Whiteness doesn’t exclude you from police or class violence?”

    Or if it’s really about race how come half of police homicides are mentally I’ll people?

    What about the argument that the Black Lives Matter movement is Racist in itself by only concerning themselves with black victims of police violence?

    I mean, I’d be out there with you if I didn’t have to worry about violence against me for the color of my skin. Every one who is poor is a potential victim of police violence. Stop making it all about you like our lives don’t matter.

    • These are both common misconceptions, so I’ll take them one by one:

      “What about replying to the “Whiteness doesn’t exclude you from police or class violence?” Or if it’s really about race how come half of police homicides are mentally I’ll people?”

      Identity is INTERSECTIONAL. This means that while some elements of our identity privilege us, others disadvantage us. For example, I am privilege by my whiteness and my middle class background, and being cisgendered, but I am also disadvantaged by being queer and being female. To take your example, a person who is able-bodied has greater privilege than one who is not. So black people are disadvantaged in our society, so are mentally ill people, so are transgender people, so are poor people…. We live in a very unequal society.

      “What about the argument that the Black Lives Matter movement is Racist in itself by only concerning themselves with black victims of police violence? I mean, I’d be out there with you if I didn’t have to worry about violence against me for the color of my skin. Every one who is poor is a potential victim of police violence. Stop making it all about you like our lives don’t matter.”

      Black people can be biased or prejudiced, but they can’t be RACIST. This is because racism = bias based on skin color + control over institutions that affect harm as a result of those biases. So a black person can be biased, but they cannot be racist because they lack control over institutions to harm people as a result of any bias they may have.

      As to the question of whether Black Lives Matter is biased because they care about black lives, I give a firm “no.” The causes we care about are tied to our experiences, our identities, and who we love. If I am fighting for access to HIV treatment I am not expressing bias towards people who are HIV-negative. If I am fighting for housing for homeless youth I am not biased towards adults with homes. Each of us must fight for the causes that move our hearts. That isn’t bias. That’s the engine of human rights and human progress.

      • “Black people can be biased or prejudiced, but they can’t be RACIST. This is because racism = bias based on skin color + control over institutions that affect harm as a result of those biases. So a black person can be biased, but they cannot be racist because they lack control over institutions to harm people as a result of any bias they may have.”

        – This is NOT true. There is no consensus that states that this is the definition of racism. Only in Academia will you find that definition. And somehow you think that white people have control over the system. Um, last time I checked the majority of white people have 0 power to change anything so how does that make us racist? RICH people have the ability and power to change these things not your average Joe going to work to put food on the table. By YOUR logic, that means either white people as a whole CAN’T be racist or that minorities actually line up with reality and display the same characteristics as every other racial group on the planet.

        • Michael, Why are people angry? Most whites tend to think about racism as simply individual prejudice and action. Most blacks are concerned about racism as a systematic thing, intentional or not. If you don’t have much power, I understand. Is it because they feel personally accuse of prejudice. Most of us have limited ability to change things. As a group, we and our leaders make the decisions and set the policy. Each of us plays a part though. We can’t deny that. Sometimes it is demonizing the other side such as when the topic of race comes up and people get angry and complain about the “race card” without ever engaging with what is being said.

          Whatever term you want to use, the point is to understand the concern… are we just going to justify always being the angry white guy that listens to things only on their own terms? I am not saying that is your intent. Personally I try to apply the principle of charity to communicating especially on the topic of race. That means I try to take the statements in the most charitable fashion and understand their intent.

        • Re: people of color being racist. The Biafran war was fought over control of oil income. The people in power saw themselves as “red” and superior to the “black” rebels. This gave a racist overlay to an economic power struggle. Mary’s comment is more specific to our culture of racism in the US.
          It’s hard to get a consensus on the definition of racism as so many white people are in “denial” of our racism. Their denial is based on the fear that they will lose access to “white privilege”. Ironically the people who get little from white privilege are often the most vociferously racist. Being white in America is a lot like being born into a dysfunctional family. You hate it, you don’t want to participate in it but unless you accept it as your family and work to make change you are perpetuating its distinction.
          DRB

  9. Being white doesn’t protect you from this class system, making it a blame game is absolutely racist. Being white doesn’t make you automatically rich, doesn’t protect your home, won’t promise you a job or a life.

    It certainly won’t protect you from homelessness or poverty.

    It doesn’t make you the ancestor of slave owners or British or Spanish Conquistadors.

    Being white is just a skin color. What essentially you are saying is that white people are bad and have done something to you, because you are black.

    Which is the most racist thing I’ve ever heard.

    But I’ll send you gas money if you want to burn down a police station.

    • Toby, my response above on intersectionality is relevant to this comment too. We all have aspects of our identities that privilege and disadvantage us. It’s the responsibility of all humans to USE our privilege to lose OUR privilege. We need to use any power we have in this system to lift others up. Doing this isn’t only good for others. It’s good for own own souls too.

    • Sounds like somebody doesn’t know that “whiteness” itself was something that was created in America specifically to discriminate against Jews, blacks, Mexicans, Lebanese, etc. In early America, Irish and Italian immigrants were often poor and so the entire racial categories of Irish and Italian people were typically seen as “other” and excluded from many job opportunities and basic decency in many of their interactions.

      Whiteness was specifically created in America so that Irish, Italians, Jews, and Arabs (think Casey Kasem, Lebanese dude) would eventually fall under a banner that could still be used to excluded blacks and Mexicans. Whiteness is specifically a privilege, and just because you haven’t managed to do as much with your life on “easier mode” doesn’t mean that NOT being white sets you at a huge disadvantage. Your average white guy with a felony criminal record has a better chance of getting a job than your average black guy with no record. This is an established fact, and it’s because actual racism is institutional and it is real and it does oppress people.

  10. There is no-goddamn-body with ANY sense that thinks looting and burning down your own town is a good idea, no matter how angry you are or how bigoted you believe the police to be. Let’s not defend that as “misplaced outrage.” Misplaced outrage is thinking that police brutality against blacks is somehow different than police brutality against anyone else. Choosing to focus on white people instead of cops is misplaced; burning your town and breaking into Foot Locker fuh dem J’s is perhaps a symptom of the underlying cause of blacks continuing to have run-ins with police to begin with. “Black Lives Matter” should be “Citizens’ Lives Matter.” And nobody thinks that killing black people is okay, unless they think killing any people is okay to begin with.

    OPPRESSION DOES NOT EXIST IN AMERICA. Blacks have no barriers to success that don’t exist for other races, or that their community or family has not presented them. Neither do women, Hispanics, Jews, Asians, Russians, Greeks, or Aborigines. You play the hand you start out with in life, but there is always the opportunity to cut your own path and make your own destiny.

    Stop with the “black vs white” and start with “cops should protect us”. Black families being fragmented is the ROOT of all of the hardship in the black community. That is not the fault of any white people, cops or otherwise. That’s where true change begins.

    • Josh, your opinion that their is no oppression in America is a common one, I know, that is refuted by the lived experiences of your fellow Americans every day. If you can do so politely and respectfully, ask 3 women if they feel disadvantaged about being a woman. Ask 3 black people or other people of color if they have experienced bias based on their skin color. Then listen. Really listen. I think you will learn something.

      • Black person here. Neither me nor my family felt disadvantaged because of the color of our skin. My mother was a decorated soldier and my father a successful computer engineer. I’m working in the film industry. We never had a single run in with police. I never feared for my life with police, nor did was I ever treated poorly by police. You want to know why? We always obeyed the law. We weren’t gang bangers or street thugs. The vast majority I see involving police shootings with black people as been thugs and people who support thug life. BLM supports thuggish behavior when they protest for the life of a thug. Which they constantly do.

        Black on black crime is the biggest problem in the black community. I fear for my life every time I go through a black community. I am more likely to be shot by my own kind then any officer. Black Lives Matter should mean all black lives. Not just the lives that can help push a narrative. Police are not what black people should be focusing on. Especially when police shoot white people more.

    • There may not be LEGAL barriers against black people anymore (though I would even question that claim considering the recent challenges against the Voting Rights Act), but people can still get away with a lot of discrimination as long as they don’t talk about it out loud.

      As for the ridiculous notion that corrupt police aren’t oppressing anyone, I offer two words of rebuttal: Walter Scott.

  11. On board with everything, except excusing the looting and destruction. I can understand the symbolic significance of destroying a police vehicle, but local businesses? I remember when Oscar Grant was shot in Oakland and the riot that followed; they looted local businesses indiscriminately, even those owned by members of the black community or other racial minorities. They even trashed Oakland Youth Radio- an organization enabling young black people to broadcast themselves. Please explain to me how that is in any way excusable or serves some greater purpose in helping the black community progress.

    • Ivana, I don’t think destroying businesses is right, but I find it much less disturbing and problematic than black people being gunned down in the street. As I write in the post above, if you are more outraged by the “trashing” of a local business than you are by the murder of an innocent person, please ask yourself why.

      • Can’t we just agree to condemn both, in proportion to their magnitude? I think this objection often stems from a sense that oppressed people are getting some kind of ethical free pass on violence. It’s a lot easier to win minds if you’re willing to say, “Yes, sometimes oppressed people do bad things, too, and they shouldn’t have done that. Now let’s get back to the conversation about the much bigger systemic problem that motivated them to behave this way in the first place.”

        I genuinely don’t understand why people seem to think condemning systemic police violence and condemning riot violence are in opposition.

        • Jess, as you imply it is a matter of emphasis. Often focus on property damage is a way of shifting emphasis away from the much larger problem of systemic racism and police violence against people they are meant to serve.

    • With looting, you’ll note it tends to happen a couple days into a protest / riot situation, when outside elements can come in and take advantage of the chaos. The people “hurting their own communities” aren’t often from those communities, so, no, they aren’t. With the few people actually from that community looting actual local businesses, you’ll usually find they had some other sense of being an outsider or the business being “not really one of us.”

      Simple fact is, too often white people and white media are aloof and dispassionate to the pain and grief and anger of the families and communities, and we don’t show any sense of outrage till property and businesses are damaged. Which speaks volumes about our priorities. Black people being gunned down by agents of our government at an alarming rate? Meh. A handful of presumably black people in the midst of the chaos looted and burned a CVS? Those people — every single last protestor — are monsters!

      So here’s the trick. Unless you’ve been publicly outraged by the senseless loss of life and clamouring for real change to our law enforcement and justice system, you can’t suddenly act all outraged by destruction of property, nor can you act more outraged, nor can you blame the whole community or movement for the actions of a handful of people, without looking like a racist douchebag.

    • As a child of Detroit in the 1960’s, I remember people asking us (White folk) if we were scared living in the “riots.” We were – we were scared of the police and the National Guard. The folk we saw burning buildings and looting stores were Whites – often the White owners of the stores who were subsequently paid insurance money to cover the damage and the building. I remember seeing a furniture store owner standing, after throwing the first brick through his own plate glass window, as the place burned.
      Look for who threw the first match.

  12. This intire website and all the comments are full of microaggressions, privilege and words which create an unsafe space. There are NO TRIGGER WARNINGS on any of the comments! This page must be taken off line immediately. Do it, racist!

    • I’ve added a general trigger warning at the beginning of this post. I’d be happy to add specific trigger warnings and to remove any micro-aggressions and privilege in the post. So far I’ve decided to respond to racism and micro-aggressions in the comments, rather than delete them, though I’m open to changing that policy. I am also working hard to remove my own racism. I know I am not there yet. I appreciate your comment.

      • Mary, I think removing racism is impossible. The vast majority of us a racist – this is IMO at roots of our ‘progamming’: distinguis ‘your group’ and stick with it. This is why we form circles, communities, nations… IMO the key is to recognize this and 1) try to include the whole of humanity in the definition of ‘my people’, and 2) be aware of where your racism affects how you treat others, nad correct it. I think pretending one does not see color only leads to self-dilution and ultimately oppression.

        • Markov, I think you are confused between racism and prejudice. Racism is often defined as prejudice with power. It is create, maintaining or justifying the advantage of one group based on race over another. So can black be prejudiced? – yes. Can they be racist? – most of the time no.. not never but they have to be in charge to be racist. Can we change the systems? That will be difficult but those of us with the greatest power have the greatest responsibility.

          • I’m sorry, but what power as a white dude do I have outside of going to work and paying my mortgage? That’s alright I’ll wait. If I had any power I wouldn’t be doing either one of those things. You’re lumping all white people into a group of rich powerful entities of which we are not. You keep saying we have power. Where?? What power are YOU exercising that I’m not?

  13. Really great article. Nice.

    One thing though…. I would avoid arguing about the definition of racism. That argument only makes people angry in my experience, and I would generally avoid semantic arguments, especially when most dictionary definitions don’t specify institutionalization as a requirement.

  14. Follow-up: in my experience, people are more open to admitting that they’ve never been discriminated against on the same level as minorities are on a daily basis. I.E., yes the pain of your paper cut is real pain, but it’s nothing close to a broken femur, so don’t say to the person with the broken femur “what’s the big deal?”

  15. Yo, this article was on point, until I read the following:

    “Black people can be biased or prejudiced, but they can’t be racist. This is because Racism = Bias based on skin color + Control over institutions that can do harm as a result of those biases. So a black person can be biased, but they cannot be racist because they lack control over institutions to do harm to white people as a result of that bias.”

    —-Racism = Bias based on skin color + Control over institutions that can do harm as a result of those biases—– No, it is not. I am not sure where Mary pulled her definition, but, no, again, that is so incorrect as to be detrimental to the cause. It is a prevalent opinion in the black community, and for the third time, it is absolutely incorrect and purely a semantic shell-game.

    • “It is a prevalent opinion in the black community, and for the third time, it is absolutely incorrect and purely a semantic shell-game.”

      Assume the above is true: what gives you the authority, Mike, to declare “a prevalent opinion in the black community” to be “absolutely incorrect”?

  16. I would also add, for international commentators: many white people in your area may say, ‘ugh, that’s America, but we’re so much better here in [country]! I’m sure our police are fine!’ or ‘but a cop here in [country] would be punished for that!’

    Most countries’ police forces are actually quite racist (and are often very nasty to LGBTQ+ people, the disabled (especially those with intellectual disabilities or mental illnesses) and sometimes to women as well). So sure, maybe they didn’t kill anyone – but their attitudes are often not much better. And they are very rarely punished for their actions – at best, they might be fired, but they are rarely charged with any criminal offense or jailed.

    For Australians, particularly, take a look at the number of Indigenous people who have died in police custody as a result of negligence or police violence, as well as the many, many articles on the disproportionate rates of incarceration in the Indigenous community (particularly for nonviolent crimes such as not being able to pay a fine) and the open discrimination they face in employment, schools and many other aspects of life.

    Another argument I often see from other countries is ‘this wouldn’t happen if they didn’t let the cops in America have guns!’

    I direct you to the many, many, many deaths caused by Tazers and similar weapons around the world, as well as again the cases of other deaths in custody and deaths caused by police that did not involve a firearm. Weapons like Tazers are not ‘non-lethal’, they are ‘less-than-lethal’ – someone can still be killed by them if their attacker is determined to kill them. So replacing guns with less-than-lethal weapons might reduce the number of deaths, but it will not stop the police from harassing or assaulting black people or otherwise being violent towards them.

  17. I agree that we as whites need to be more active among ourselves about racism. Your comment that black activists have a revolution to run caught my eye. Racism is a white institution which must be changed by whites. Black activists can point out our evil and the hypocrisy to supports it but whites must run their own “revolution”. I get a lot of value using an addiction model for racism. “I grew up in an alcoholic family but I’m not an alcoholic” had ” I grew up in a racist culture but I’m not a racist.” are parallels. In both I have to clean up my behavior and the impact of my behavior on other’s. The anger that comes up “but I’m not the one who made the mess” and the resentment “but I didn’t own slaves” are just denial, excuses to own up to our personal responsibility for racism.
    DRB

    • Douglas Fur, I really like that you call for white people to have a revolution to stop (and transform) all the harms done in the name of whiteness. I wholeheartedly agree.

  18. Mary,

    I love the whole concept of “call in” as opposed to “call out.” I can see that you have worked really hard on developing your viewpoints and that you are open to continuing developing them. I really liked the article and even though a few things about it rubbed me the wrong way that’s ok because I can see that your heart is in the right place. The only thing I will say is that I agree with Luke’s comment on avoiding arguing about the definition of racism. I admire your courage and poise when facing some of the angry commenters, and your willingness to face your own bias and misconceptions. I think that willingness makes everything you have to say so much more meaningful. Let’s all “call in” people and continue to fight against the very natural and understandable desire to “call out” people.

    Stay classy,

    Sam

  19. I would be curious to know your response to the white person who talks about the fact that the city of Baltimore has many black elected officials (and also we have a black president) and therefore what happened to Freddie Gray, although a tragic accident, can’t be due to a racist system, since “the system” is made up of black officials? In other words, how can his death be the result of racism when some of the arresting officers where black, the police chief, the mayor, the president of the city council and the State Attorney are all black? And as an added bonus, they ask, “Why can’t they fix “the system” because they make up “the system?”

    • Sam
      To follow on my comment above, I would call the Baltimore scenario you mention as more White denial of our ownership of our racism. Sure blacks participate in “the system”. What are their options? Many whites are in a similar situation, buying into the system for a taste of “white privilege”. This commonality is where the energy for change can come from. The function of ” Black vs White” In racism is to very busily, with a lot of smoke and mirrors, keep us from seeing our common interests.
      You can have a lot of comfort being a drunk or racist when you believe the world will fall apart if you change your behavior. But the reality is our world is falling apart and holding on to it will kill you.
      DRB

      • “Sure blacks participate in “the system”. What are their options?”

        This is really well-stated. Black people can even be used as pawns to blunt criticism that an institution is racist, much in the same way that strategic female hires can be used to mask a truly sexist workplace.

        Black participation does not negate racist reality.

    • The Powers That Be in “the system” are those that FUND it: who “pays the piper calls the tune”. Those who fund the system are OVERWHELMINGLY white. A mayor, a city council, even a President *not* being white doesn’t negate that.

  20. I only “disagree” (in quotes because I don’t disagree with anything you said, I just don’t think it’s the right direction to answer that critique with) with the response to Critique 5 because the reason there’s a Black Lives Matter movement is because *people are acting like the opposite is true.* We don’t need movements to remind us of things we already know. This is a parallel to people who complain that we have a Black History Month but not a White History Month – because we do have a White History Month – 11 times a year.

  21. Mary, thank you. So well done. As someone who is bi-racial and actively DOESN’T shut up about race issues, I was fist pumping and grinning ear-to-ear reading this. It’s LOVELY to know that there are “white folks” who, for lack of a better term, “get it.” Again, thank you.

  22. I’ve been considering a lot of different perspectives on what it means to be ‘racist’ and I don’t think I’ve come across any one meaning that doesn’t bear weight. I’m starting to believe there might be more than one kind of racism. There’s active, cruel, prejudicial racist (something a lot of cops are guilty of). There’s the ignorant ‘I don’t see race’ racism. There’s the ‘I’m doing everything I can to rid myself of racism while also benefitting from the system of privilege it provides’ racism. There’s the ‘I grew up in a racist era and have crazy antiquated racist views’ racism. Do you think there might be truth to this idea? Or that it’s all different sides of the same coin? It seems difficult to reconcile, for example, your self-identified racism with that of someone who has zero interest in educating himself, participating in #blm, or doing anything positive in this regard at all. Is there a difference? And if so, what might be accomplished by creating a new system of ‘semantics’? Would it do more harm than good? Would it affect anything at all?

    • ROL
      Re: Semantics
      Part of the confusing mess you point out is semantic. Too many terms swirling in your head and you get brain paralysis and nothing changes. Its part of the system. This was pointed out by Augustine of Hippo at great length. It is the trap of confusing the name of a thing and for the thing itself.
      Some times I think this discussion would be easier if we took race out of the picture. Feminists had success pointing out that “Rape is not about sex.” In the same way racism is not about race. Both are about power in relationships. Both use “other-ing”(using a label, racist, sexist to separate the common humanity of “perp” and “victim”) or “objectifying” (forcing an individual into a stereotype “hoodlum” “trash”).
      These labels are so ingrained in our culture they become become background noise, a fog that keeps us from seeing or hearing what’s happening.
      [I took a break in writing this and heard an Uber radio ad. It’s hierarchical structure had a “white” voice and a “black” voice with the “white” voice being on top….]
      DRB

  23. 10 Ways White Americans Can Fight Racism Every Day
    http://www.feelingsdetective.com/10-ways-white-americans-can-fight-racism-every-day/

    1. Speak up every time something racist is said or done or insinuated (unless doing so would put a person of color at risk). Be awkward and bold and direct. If a person is already speaking up for themselves, let them do the talking (but have their back). If they want to speak up once you’ve already started, give them the floor.

    2. Seek out friendships with people of color. Be attentive and ask questions. Sadly, some may not be used to white people being interested and you may need to build trust.

    3. Of course, make sure you are trustworthy first. That’s not been a hallmark of white America. It could be a radical development.

    4. Destroy segregation by actively integrating. Just being a friend on equal terms is an act of defiance of white privilege and racism. Normalize relations with people you don’t know who are from a different cultural context. Be open to learning and sharing. Share a meal. Hang out at each other’s houses.

    5. Use white privilege to deconstruct, lay bare, and undermine white privilege every chance possible. Again, be awkward and bold. My sharing this list is your blueprint. If you don’t know what privilege is, read this.

    6. Don’t ever let politeness trump truthfulness. An emphasis on politeness always favors white people and white privilege.

    7. When someone is aggressively asserting privilege “unknowingly”, reflect back to them the actual impact of their transgression in your response. As in, tell them how their assertion of power or privilege is hurting feelings while exhibiting those feelings honestly, openly, and with strength.

    8. Be open and forthright about the awkwardness of having white privilege. Talk about the ways that it hurts you to be a part of it.

    9. If you’re actually from an assimilated or semi-assimilated minority (Irish, Italian, Lebanese, Franco-American, etc.), get in touch with your culture and its history. Assert that identity in the face of “whiteness”, reject the assimilation and return to a sense of solidarity as a member of a group that was once more oppressed. Be hurt about the fact that your forebears were victims of racism and forced or coerced to assimilate into anti-cultural “whiteness.”

    10. Make it clear to your racist friends, family, and acquaintances that you consider their racist opinions to be an active participation in violence and treat them as such. Take your solidarity with minorities as seriously as it merits, which is likely a whole lot if you’re honest about your feelings.

  24. One point I like to add when responding to the black-on-black violence nonsense is: “black people have been organizing and working against black violence for DECADES. Name any major city and I’ll show you. Since we (white folks) mostly live in white communities, and these events aren’t targeted towards us, we often don’t know they exist. But this is a good reminder that just cause we don’t know they exist doesn’t mean they’re not happening.”

    Id love for us to pull together a list of some of the major marches, rallies, and groups founded around this issue, specifically to quelch the nonsense that no ones paying attention to that. Knowing the local (& national) efforts to reduce “black on black” community violence can be really helpful in these situations.

    I thought these were all really helpful. Some of them were a bit long for practical use. They made perfect sense to read but in conversations like these (that I mostly have with friends and coworkers) there’s no way I could speak for that long–I would get interrupted by the end of one paragraph.

    (Just went to my first SURJ meeting last week and loved it! For anyone considering going, I recommend it.)

  25. Although, I wish #4 added the fact that police officers are supposed to “protect and serve”. That is what they are trained for and paid for. They should ABSOLUTELY be held to higher standards.

    • Tom
      That’s right. The police kill more White than Black Americans. I’ll take your word for the numbers. Whites are about 77.7% of our population and blacks are about 13.2% so there are about 5.88 times as many whites as black. If you adjust your 2X for the 5.88 times larger white population you get a multiplier of 0.34 whites shot per black. Blacks, based on their numbers are shot nearly 3X as often as whites.
      Remember what Mark Twain said and double check numbers people recite: “The three kinds of lies are; lies, damned lies and statistics.” Mine included.
      DCRB.

      • Thank you, Douglas Fir, for posting this. I was going to type up this exact response and you saved me the effort. Bless you.

    • When people tell me that, I just say “any is too many.” When there are zero corrupt cops, when good cops aren’t fired for whistleblowing anymore, when the only people killed by cops are the ones who are active & immediate threats to others’ lives, THEN we can stop blaming cops. Not before.

  26. Well, here’s some blunt truth from a white person with liberal leanings: I grew up with African-American friends, classmates, and, later, coworkers. It never occurred to me to think that they were any different than I was. As far as I was concerned, we were 100% equal peers. But not anymore. Recent events have driven a wedge and made me feel distant and alienated from African-Americans. Ironically, Oprah said it best when she used to promote “The Secret”: “What you focus on gets bigger.” I get that people are angry, but focusing on our divisions has only served to deepen them.

    Because now I’m angry, too. Oh yes, bias is very real, and so is police brutality. The latter has been a problem for a long time. But it was at first disappointing and ultimately infuriating to see the African-American community acting as if all the bias had simply appeared out of thin air or as a result of mere bigotry. I saw zero self-reflection about destructive, violent, and antisocial behaviors that are endemic in many African-American communities which create these biases. Why are white people scared of blacks? Why are blacks stereotyped as “thugs”? It doesn’t come from nothing; it comes from the prevalence of guns in our society coupled with very high African-American crime rates.

    Look, bias is to some extent a hard-wired survival instinct. When our ancestors met lions on the Serengeti, they automatically associated them with danger. They didn’t stop to consider whether this individual lion might have a friendly disposition. Humans are, to some extent, tribal creatures. We have always been suspicious or scared of outsiders or those who are different, and minorities of all kinds have suffered throughout history because of it.

    I’ve lived on four continents as both a visible and invisible minority, and guess what: it sucks sometimes. It’s not fair. But if you want a better life for yourself and your family, you’d better learn to accommodate the majority.

    And sometimes the majority is right. Cultural relativism and white guilt in our country have stopped people being able to make objective qualitative judgments. But there most certainly is a “culture of poverty,” and I’ve seen it up close in both developing countries and America’s inner cities. Amy Chua wrote eloquently about it in her book “The Triple Package.” Though she was accused of racism, she pointed out that the findings she had compiled are in fact the opposite of racism: they clearly show that skin color or innate racial characteristics have nothing to do with success. It’s not the situation of being downtrodden but rather the response to it that sets groups apart. And Chua demonstrates persuasively that a sort of inferiority/superiority complex combined with valuing education and hard work are a powerful combination.

    I don’t blame African-Americans for their circumstances. They’re not responsible for creating their current situation, but they don’t seem to realize the role they play in keeping themselves there. The doors of opportunity in America have been open to them for a long time now, but they’ve been too downtrodden to notice. They simply don’t know how to walk through those doors. I think many African-Americans might be surprised to realize that a lot of white Americans are far more accepting than they might think. But antagonism and blaming aren’t helping anything.

    My honest advice to African-Americans? Be pragmatic. Yes, you “should” be able to wear what you like, name your children what you like, speak as you please, etc. But “should” is irrelevant to reality. You can change your own reality. Can you wear baggy clothes and a hoodie? Sure, but I wouldn’t advise it. For better or worse, you’ll be associated with criminals who dress the same way. Can you name your child Lakisha? Sure, but I wouldn’t advise it. Research has shown that such names on a resume make it many times less likely to be rejected by an employer. It’s an unconscious marker of class in the same way that people with strong Texan accents were 78% less likely to get a job compared to equally qualified applicants without who interviewed at the same companies. The bottom line is, when you’re a minority, you have to be more put together, more articulate, and do better work to get noticed. I’ve experienced it myself. Is it fair? Heck no. But it’s how stereotypes get broken. So while we fight to educate against bias on the one hand, how about helping people recognize the role they play in perpetuating the very biases that are used against them and overcome those? That’s what I ACTUALLY have to say on the topic.

    • You’re comment is so problematic. And quite frankly, I don’t have the energy to point-by-point refute you. In general though, you lack compassion. You’re also a victim of media representation. You look at “black people” as one monolithic people who wear hoodies and don’t care about education. That is NOT the case. That is how the media — especially conservative media — like to portray things. Think of the “crime” shows. Black crime is presented on the news in a very raw manner. But when we “consider” black crime, its usually via TV shows — which are produced like movies — which subconsciously strip away the “fear” and “horror”. When it comes to “white crime” — it’s presented in a totally different way. Racism is when you ignore your privilege, and then lump one group of people together. That is exactly what you’re doing.

      • LadyG
        I passed on commenting on Eddie’s post. There’s so much “stuff” in it. Rereading his and your posts I realized his volume is just smoke. He’s avoiding the subject proposed in Mary’s article by blame shifting. His post is not useful. It is basically telling the Black community what to do but it is not providing information that community doesn’t already know and considers daily. The post is just another rehearsal of white folks assuming they have the authority to tell black folks what to do.
        Thanks for having the kindness to reply to Eddie.

      • Lady G, I want to respond to your point that I lack compassion. In a way, you’re absolutely right, and it’s because of my experiences. I live in a country now in which I am a visible minority. There are places that specifically ban me from entering because of my skin color. I sometimes have to get a local person to hail a cab for me while I hide. Etc. But this country has no anti discrimination laws, and owners of establishments defend their discrimination by saying, “We allowed people of these ethnic groups before, but they started fights or harrassed women or annoyed other customers with their boisterous behavior. So now we have banned people of those groups or races.” Now, that is abhorrent and infuriates me. But I also have to recognize that I’m paying for the misdeeds of others of my kind who came before, and the best thing I can do to break those stereotypes is to create positive impressions to counter the negative ones my predecessors made. If I complain angrily, I’m just a rude, hostile minority outsider. My decision not to is a pragmatic one.

        Add the fact that I’m homosexual, and it creates another layer. I endured a lot of discrimination and bullying about it growing up in a very bigoted place, but I’ll never forget what my school bus driver said to me in 1993: “This may be a bigoted place, but there are a lot more gay people than you realize and a lot more people who accept gay people than you realize. So don’t assume you’re excluded, or you may actually be the one who’s shutting yourself out.” I realized she was right and that I was, to some extent, alienating myself and creating my own mental and emotional barriers. Once bitten, twice shy. I get that.

        The final experience that transformed my thinking was living in Spain in the year 1999. Spain only became a democracy in 1978, and essentially all immigration had happened in the last 10 years. There were four main groups: Poles, Chinese, Latin Americans, and Moroccans/North Africans. Racism was horrible and blatant, but honest. The concept of PC did not exist. So I saw the hierarchy. Poles were at the top. They were condescended to, but not disliked. Then came Chinese. They were mocked for their inscrutable exoticness and lack of language ability, but generally thought of as hardworking, if weird and insular. Next came the Latin Americans. They spoke the same language and had no communication gap, but there were problems. Many were honest, but some were well known for being involved in prostitution, street crime, or the drug trade. Plus, they had a cultural propensity for being late etc. that made them seem flaky or unreliable to Spaniards. So this group was viewed negatively and with suspicion. Last in the hierarchy came the Moroccans and North Africans. They were disproportionately young men and disproportionately involved in drugs and street crime. They were feared and hated. But here’s the thing: Spanish people stereotyped Moroccans all the time and told me, “If you see a shit Moroccan, cross the street. They’re all thieves.” I would point out the blatant bias and argue and argue with them about the unfairness of stereotyping. Then, a Moroccan tried to rob me. Once, twice, three times. And so the day came when I saw a Moroccan coming down the sidewalk and crossed the street. And I felt horrible about doing so, but… once bitten, twice shy. That’s when I realized: stereotypes actually come from something. Bias can simultaneously be wrong AND still have some truth at its core.

        That’s what frustrates me most about this whole debate. All I hear are apologists for one side or the other: either the bias is wholly undeserved, wrong and terrible, or the bias is nonexistent and anyway somehow justified. But what if bias is prevalent, bad, AND based on something actual? We have to examine and address all the roots of the bias. That means soul-searching for ALL involved about their part in the matter. It doesn’t mean blaming. But I’d like to see all sides acknowledge that there are some valid points all the way around. Just because discrimination is bad and we may feel bad for members of a minority group doesn’t mean that everything those minority group members do, think, or feel is okay, right, or helpful.

    • One of your arguments here can be summed up as, “There would be less racism is black people acted more white.” It basically shifts the blame for racism from the majority group to the minority group saying, “I’ll be less racist if you change to look more like me.” That’s just blame shifting. That’s racism in the sense that you think the majority culture is the way things should be and minority cultures have to give up their lesser identities to be accepted.

      To me (a white male), the problem is not a black person naming their child LaKisha. The problem is white people deciding a person is less qualified because they have a “black sounding name.”

      The actions you suggest enable racism. They do not end it. To move in the right direction, I have to look at myself and be aware of my prejudices. We all have them. But white males especially must acknowledge them and be aware of how we use our majority to perpetuate them by lifting our cultural correctness above another, and then judging another culture as lesser simply because it is different.

      I don’t have to like the name LaKisha more than the name Lydia, but I do have to make sure I don’t assume a person named LaKisha is less worthy of a job (or a friendship with me) than a person named Lydia.

      That is on me. I must change.

    • “Recent events have driven a wedge and made me feel distant and alienated from African-Americans.”

      Those “events” (I suspect they are not recent) are that you are no longer even TRYING to fight the ingrained racism that all of us white people are immersed in.

      A shark has to keep moving, or it dies. A white person has to CONSTANTLY fight the default position of white supremacist thinking, or it comes roaring back. As a white person, I bear NO guilt for that default long-before-I-was-born racism—I DO bear guilt if I cease to fight it. Go have a good long conversation w/ yourself, Eddie, and ask yourself when you decided to give up, and give yourself over to the racist tide. Then begin again to fight it.

      • “Add the fact that I’m homosexual, and it creates another layer. I endured a lot of discrimination and bullying about it growing up in a very bigoted place”

        Ah, you’re gay (great, so am I!).

        But whenever you’re tempted get wrapped up in self-pity as a gay person—to the exclusion of every other social group—remember this: how much worse would it be to be gay AND black? [That’s the “intersectionality” thing Mary keeps coming back to (NB to Mary: don’t you wish we had a better word than “intersectionality”? Seems jargon-y.)]

      • By “recent events,” I meant Ferguson etc. and the lack of African-American soul searching that came after. I heard only victimhood and righteous anger. No one asked, “What are we doing to contribute to the problem?”

        The moment things changed for me? My long experience overseas. I live in a country in which I am a visible minority, and I do face discrimination. There are a number of establishments here that exclude foreigners, particularly if you’re not the “right” kind. That makes me furious, and I speak out against it. But we also need to look at why. Some foreigners have acted trashy and caused problems. It’s not fair, but we all pay the price. So I can simultaneously speak out against injustice AND try to be the “right” kind of foreigner and encourage other foreigners to do the same. The reason we can’t get taxis and no one will sit next to us on transit is that they’re scared of us. We need to show them that there’s no need to be scared. Because members of our group have transgressed, the onus is now on us. Not fair, but that’s the way it is. And if we went around shouting stridently about unfairness, it would just piss people off, make people even more wary of us, and worsen our situation. See how this is analogous? Furthermore, I’m gay, so I need to know how to keep that under my hat when it will make people uncomfortable or when I am in a place or country in which I am threatened. Unfair? Sure. I should be able to wear what I want. But me walking down the street in Saudi Arabia or Damascus with a pink feather boa is not likely to go smoothly. And it’s just common sense: if a lot of people who look like you and wear a certain clothing have committed crimes, you’re going to encounter more suspicion and unwanted attention if you dress like that. I wouldn’t advise it in certain neighbourhoods after dark.

  27. Standing up for your cause of BlackLivesMatter is great. Nothing wrong with that. But… Using Michael Brown as the poster child for the movement is not helping in the least.

  28. Here are some facts from the white people:

    How ignorant of you when you still, after all these years, believe that it is the COLOR of your skin that is being held back in this world.

    When the poster children for your movement stop being criminals, people might actually start giving a shit about BLM.

    Being a white male doesn’t mean I am guilty of perpetuating racism in this country.

    When the BLM starts cleaning up these downtrodden neighborhoods without looking for a handout to do so, maybe people will start giving a shit about BLM.

    I have yet to hear ONE single shred of suggestion to change this country for the better by BLM, only screaming and perpetuating violence towards hard working LEO’s.

    When the black community can clean up this thug-life mess they have created for themselves, maybe people will start giving a shit about BLM.

    My bucket for holding my white guilt seems to have a hole in it these days.

    • Ceaser
      I’m sorry there is a hole in your bucket. It sounds like you have a hole in your heart. I’m sorry to hear this. I’m not talking about a cardiovascular problem but a loss of the ability to feel compassion for others. In the old saying “love your neighbor as you already love yourself” the two phrase are interdependent. Neither works without the other. If you feel you have a hole in your heart for others it’s also a hole in your heart for yourself.
      I’m also a white male. I didn’t ask to be born into my role in this culture. My family didn’t own slaves or write “sundown” laws. The KKK who controlled Oregon politics in the 20’s did that and that’s where I was born into a nice white community where I got a nice white education. I benefitted from this racial cleansing but if I ignore it I am perpetuating the racism that continues to impact our country.
      DRB

    • “How ignorant of you when you still, after all these years, believe that it is the COLOR of your skin that is being held back in this world.”

      WHO the heck are you talking to? The author of this essay is white.

      …and that’s where your errors begin: you’re talking AT, not TO. Grievance after grievance after grievance (Cut & pasted to other boards, I bet?)

      No one wants to engage w/ someone who’s basically enraptured by the sound of his own voice.

  29. I have a single issue with this. Ok Critique 3 is revisionist. There was a tactical error and set back there. It should be addressed as such and not flaunted as a victory.

    Fact is that after Sanders was somewhat blindsided a little over a week before (@ the Undocumented Worker Conference), the Sanders Campaign started his search for an adviser and immediately started working on a plank to address BLM concerns. The notion that things quite literally happen overnight is rather silly. Could the mic thing have rushed the roll out a little? Sure. But the timeline is more than a little dishonest.. especially given that they didn’t include that the Sanders Campaign announced that they were working on all the things that are said to be a direct result of Seattle (except the introduction on stage in LA) directly after Hillary and O’Malley took a beating with “All Lives Matter”.

    So the obvious retort is “Yeah well they still got attention for it AND got all those things that were already going to happen.” True. But that also gave the Hillary Campaign the valid excuse to shut them out of her rallies. The next day BLM was completely shut out of Hillary events and a couple Republican events, and not a peep from the media. Which without the stealing of the mic and taking over the event until Sanders had to leave… Hillary would have been crucified for a move like that, and had it blamed on the fact she couldn’t take the heat after the All Lives Matter Comment… and similar attacks could have CONTINUED to be made about Repubes as well.

    They lost access. Sanders gained BLM lost. Politically that’s The Weathermen planting a bomb and SDS not coming out against it. It damages both movements by conflating different agendas.

    Doubling down on bad strategy doesn’t help anyone.

  30. Some members of the Weather Underground bombed a building on my campus. I thought it was pretty stupid, trying to protest the killing in Viet Nam by doing something which could have killed many people. I gritted my teeth and accepted it as a protest. I live in Seattle now and I felt the Black Lives Matter disruption of Sen. Sanders’ rally was dubious but I gritted my teeth and accepted it. I think it would be patronizing to presume as a white male to comment on how BLM should run their protests.

  31. Go Mary! Go Mary! Go Mary! Go Mary!, It’s ya Birthday! It’s ya Birthday! It’s ya Birthday! It’s ya Birthday! Get Stupid! Get Stupid! Get Stupid! Get Stupid! – Black American chant of Praise.

    Thank you for sharing these tools. Continue the good work.

  32. Thank you for this. This is truly helpful, and I will certainly share this. I love the idea of “Calling In”, rather than “Calling Out”. Great job Mary!

  33. I know this if a few months after the fact, but I shared this on FB with the caveat that the way you describe intersectonality (privileged in some areas, oppressed in others) is not what intersectioanlity is.

    Kimberle Crenshaw coined the term as a means of specifying the ways that multiple systems of oppression operate simultaneously upon women of color. You can read about it in Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory, and Antiracist Politics and Mapping The Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color.

    However, conceptually, Black feminists and womanists have been talking about how racism and sexism impact other systems of oppression for decades: Audre Lorde (“There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we don’t lead single-issue lives.”), Patricia Hill-Collins (Intersecting Oppressions), the Combahee River Collective, Barbara Smith (“The concept of the simultaneity of oppression is still the crux of a Black feminist understanding of political reality and, I believe, one of the most significant ideological contributions of Black feminist thought.”), and more.

  34. Every single one of you assholes need a healthy dose of reality. There can be a “movement” and people can protest whatever they’d like, but I have the right to call bullshit. And if you don’t like my opinion, that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. If you honestly think that black on black violence isn’t directly related to police actions you need to grow up. BLM wants nothing more than to be separate but equal, which we all know isn’t the way things work. All of you BLM, Occupy Wall Street, Bernie Sanders assholes are the same. You don’t take any responsibility for anything, want the government to handle everything, but then complain how it’s done. Grow the fuck up!

  35. I want to clarify:

    My above irrefutable statement applies to the males.

    Somehow the black women have managed to contribute to society. But even in this instance, look how the males treat the women. They abandon them and their children, rape them, and even kill them at a rate far higher than ANY other race. This while the women struggle to sustain these animals.

    • I appreciate your telling us that your statement is irrefutable.
      Please note that “rapist” appears to have been inserted in the last line where I would think, based on context, you intended “racist”. Maybe this is an autocorrect gotcha. The machine has inserted an error in your perfect statement.
      Which goes to show you that you need to proof read and check your sources. As the machine inserted rapist for racist maybe it has also inserted errors into the facts you used to form your statement. This would give you the impression your statement is irrefutable when it is actually BS.
      It’s like the old computer truism “garbage in = garbage out”

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