I am beginning to dread weekends. Though I work hard each week and used to look forward to some rest and recreation, I now have a really weird, queasy feeling in my gut. I dread the news that, not may, but WILL eventually come:
“X-amount of people have been shot in (Anywhere, USA). Reports indicate a high-powered weapon was used, and authorities suspect the shooter may have been ‘racially motivated.’”
Manifesto’s encouraging and anticipating “race wars,” message boards and internet sites recruiting mostly young, White and very angry men. Extremely bitter and threatened by a world that does not look like the one that seemed to be promised to them as young boys. A world that looks different than their fathers or grandfathers remember. A world minus their piece of pie they expected, their cut of the “American Dream.”
MAGA = MAWA (“Make America WHITE Again”)
So-called “Middle-America” (a code word for the still White majority of Americans) is waking up to a Brave New World. In their minds, an Orwellian dystopia that brings them face to face with the realities of our harsh capitalism on steroids — that most people of color have been living in from Day One in their American experience.
This Brave New World does not seem like a home to many White men raised here in this “land of the free, home of the brave.” It makes them feel threatened and scared. They go to a Walmart and see robots doing jobs people used to, or medical bill-bankrupt and debt-ridden grandparents doing the stocking and cashiering. The factory or lumber mill their grandparents worked at (and could support a family on) has closed. Descent working-class jobs are now overseas, in the homelands of the “other.”
They walk through a world where they have to control what they say. They cannot speak in the way they heard many adults in their home speaking as they were raised. They feel constrained, restricted, and persecuted. if they break those rules and speak what is in their minds, they are called racists, or homophobes, anti-Semites, or anti-Immigrant and basically — less than human assholes. That does not make them feel good. They get confused, perhaps a little scared. Then, they get very, very angry.
These men are trying to navigate a Brave New World where many people look different than them, sound different than them, and make them feel vaguely “uncomfortable” in their own city or town. Then, they somehow listen to someone on conservative radio/podcast, or in their church, or at the bar that expresses their same outrage at the change. Yet, does so with a little more eloquence and style.
Then (online or in 3D) they find a surrogate community of other men who resonate with their feelings, frustrations and concerns. Domestic Terrorism inevitably begins with some surrogate community acceptance, being taken into the “fold,” and bathing in that glorious feeling of simply being “heard.” Radicalization is always introduced in a “slow drip” manner — which will make the medicine taste less rancid and make sure the “cure” sticks.
Tell Your People to Stop Killing My People
Having worked professionally for many years as a male in preventing GBV (Gender-Based Violence), I learned that there are deeper levels of responsibility and accountability within specific social groups. For example, men (who perpetrate 90% of all violence) have a greater responsibility to confront the reality of male violence against women. Does not that same principle hold true within the socially-constructed groups of race identification?
The greatest threat to our nation is currently being perpetrated from groups and individuals that represent my external social identities – I am “White” (I prefer the term, “European American” since “Whiteness” has no basis in reality) and my gender is male. So, when White Supremacist acts of Domestic Terrorism take place in the land of my birth, I have a uniquely deeper responsibility to do something about that; to speak out, educate, resist, and be a bold warrior of peace in this violent and bloody environment we are stuck in today.
A few years ago, I was leaving to attend a “White Allies in Support of Black Lives Matter” meeting, when a close relative of my African-American wife, said the meeting should be short and simple. The relative, who is African-American, said only half-jokingly, “Simply tell your people to stop killing my people.” I never forgot that message.
If You Are Not Part of The Solution, You Are Part of The Problem
If you would generally be classified as a “White Male” I challenge you to think this through. What are you doing? How are you speaking out? What kind of action are you taking, besides just planting a “like” on social media posts? (That, frankly, most likely does not make a rat’s ass worth of a difference).
This is the kind of work that involves pulling up your sleeves, doing heavy lifting, facing off 3D with people who may not like you, and doing so with a righteous compassion for all of your brothers and sisters – regardless of their appearance, opinions, and origins. It involves not merely being a bystander, but standing up, and being a humble ally with people of color, immigrants, women, LGBTQ communities and whoever is on the most recent hit list of neo-fascist forces and bigotry.
We Need Real World Tools for These Real World Problems
I have been working on a project for many years, a user-friendly tool that can be used to educate people on HOW this insane fable of “White Supremacy” came into being, WHY it came into being, and what can be done to speed its much-needed demise. It is a simple book project I have been researching and writing, called “The Rise & Fall of White Supremacy.” I have been academically studying this issue for many years, and recently did firsthand research in Europe and Africa – where the origins of this horrific lie began.
A few weeks before the El Paso, Texas, shooting at Walmart (the store my son had been just a few days before — and who looks “Latino” or Asian or “Brown” of some sort) I kept waking up at night. I felt a pressing urgency to get this book project on a fast track but did not know why. Then I heard about that mass shooting, and the one in Dayton, Ohio, all on the same weekend. I felt literally sick to my stomach.
This is not just some academic exercise for me. I am a professional Violence Prevention Specialist and my Master’s Degree is in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding. I have 17 years of experience working in low-income communities of color in Los Angeles, and recently, in Europe and Africa. I designed “The Rise & Fall of White Supremacy,” to be a user-friendly violence prevention tool.
“Many Hands Make Light Work”
In Jamaica, there is a folk saying: “Many Hands Make Light Work.” In order for us to put an end to White Supremacist violence, it will indeed take “many hands.” It will involve a lot of internal work (which is the hardest), advocacy, uncomfortable interactions, and speaking out, when it would be much easier to keep our mouths shut and just walk on by.
We especially need to ally with one another to get some real work done. To speed up the release of this book project, I felt compelled to create a “Go Fund Me” Campaign. I think it is important to get this tool out as soon as possible before Election Year 2020 gets into full swing. If you want to do something about this problem, if you want to start a community of allies, if you are tired of this racist violence being doing “in your name,” check it out. Every journey begins with one small step.