We need to support other white people to tap into their grief, pain, and sadness about Charleston and turn it into a commitment to the destruction and abolition of institutional racism.
We are in a historic moment in which white people, in large numbers, must step forward and not only look long and hard at the devastating injustice and brutality of institutional racism, but also take courageous action against it.
For those of us who are white, in the wake of the Charleston Massacre, which is the latest atrocity sparking national outcry in the long history of the Black holocaust in the United States, it is not the time for us to call for racial tolerance, racial healing, racial dialogue, or racial understanding, alone. When white people say these things, even with the best intentions, the underlying message is to undermine #BlackRage, #BlackPain, #BlackResistance and serve white people’s guilt and grief, with vague gestures that do more to confuse rather then clarify both the problem and the solution.
We need white people leveraging whatever positions of influence they have to put forward – declarations, poems, letters, blog posts, and personal invitations for other white people to join in anti-racist resistance and struggle against the evil of institutional racism. We don’t need messages of white people yearning for reconciliation unless it is joined with a courageous call for white people to hear Black rage, follow Black-led resistance, and get active for racial justice.
For those of us who are white and have been engaged in anti-racist efforts, we need to support other white people to tap into their grief, pain, and sadness about Charleston and turn it into a commitment to the destruction and abolition of institutional racism. No calls for healing disconnected from militant resistance from white people against this brutal racist society. No messages meant to soothe white peoples souls, and ease them/us back to sleep. We need messages and leadership to help build the capacity of white people to stay in discomfort, to stay in the dis-ease to truly hear and listen to the voices and experiences of Black people, with the goal of putting raised consciousness into action against racism.
Beloved community isn’t born of white hand-wringing but white hands going to work for revolutionary racial justice change. We need white anti-racist agitation, leadership, vision, and strategy, and anger grounded in love for #BlackLivesMatter movement and collective liberation. We can do this. I believe in us.
To help us move forward, I have written this essay, To the White Anti-Racists Who are Nervous About Stepping Up Against Racism, to help address some of the fears white people are experiencing, and underneath that is a series of interviews I’ve been doing with white racial justice leaders and organizers working to engage and move white people in these Black Lives Matter movement times. Additionally, look for groups organizing racial justice demonstrations and community events and look for ways to get involved. Additionally, connect with and get involved with SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) through their website http://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/ and following them on Facebook.
Interview Series on White Racial Justice Organizing and Leadership in the Times of Black Lives Matter Movement:
An interview with DrewChristopher Joy of the Southern Maine Workers’ Center on building up anti-racist white working class leadership. – See more at: https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/together-we-will-find-the-way-white-racial-justice-organizing-in-the-time-of-black-lives-matter-movement-hesaid/#sthash.0PffLKTI.dpuf
Ending White Supremacy is in Everyone’s Interest: White Racial Justice Organizing in Kentucky – See more at: https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/unity-from-below-white-racial-justice-organizing-in-the-time-of-blacklivesmatter-hesaid/#sthash.A7SgvEvP.dpuf
Cultivating Fearless and Hopeful Racial Justice Organizing in White Communities: Jewish Voice for Peace – See more at: https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/cultivating-fearless-and-hopeful-racial-justice-organizing-in-white-communities-an-interview-with-jewish-voice-for-peace-hesaid/#sthash.PAuXP8mI.dpuf
Theology of Liberation: Unitarian Universalist Faith-based Anti-Racist Organizing in White Communities – See more at: https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/theology-of-liberation-white-racial-justice-organizing-in-black-lives-matter-movement-times-hesaid/#sthash.I0s85MDi.dpuf
An interview with national leaders of the Showing Up for Racial Justice network – See more at: https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/answering-the-call-white-people-showing-up-for-racial-justice-hesaid/#sthash.P1lyplxE.dpuf
We’re Building a Movement with Young, Gifted and Black Coalition in the Lead, an interview with Z! Hawkins. See more at: https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/were-building-a-movement-with-young-gifted-and-black-coalition-in-the-lead-hesaid/#sthash.hfOlBKe2.dpuf
An interview with Zoë Williams, on White Racial Justice Organizing in Denver in Black Lives Matter Movement Times. See More at: https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/rising-to-the-challenges-of-our-time-white-racial-justice-organizing-in-denver-in-black-lives-matter-movement-times-hesaid/