Chris Crass has edited a new book! Towards the “Other America” Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter
Free pdf version: Chalice Press
Paperback: Amazon.com (Proceeds from sales of the book will go to Black Lives Matter the organization and Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ).)
The big picture goal isn’t to “not be a racist”, though that’s important. The goal is the abolition of white supremacist patriarchy and the building up of beloved community and collective liberation in the process. The question isn’t “are you a racist?” The question is “what are you doing to bring down structural inequality and end the death culture of racism?”
Towards the “Other America”: Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter is a call to action to end white silence and a manual on how to do it. In addition to his own soul-searching essays and practical organizing advice in his “notes to activists,” Chris Crass lifts up the voices of longtime white anti-racist leaders organizing in white communities for Black Lives Matter.
Julia Blount, born and raised in Washington, D.C. An alumna of Princeton University, and currently a middle school teacher wrote a great message on her facebook timeline, it appeared the otherday on Salon.com
“If you are not listening, not exposing yourself to unfamiliar perspectives, not watching videos, not engaging in conversation, then you are perpetuating white privilege and white supremacy. It is exactly your ability to not hear, to ignore the situation, that is a mark of your privilege. People of color cannot turn away. Race affects our lives every day. We must consider it all the time, not just when it is convenient.”
“I don’t need you to validate anyone’s actions, but I need you to validate what black America is feeling. If you cannot understand how experiences like mine or my students’ would lead to hopelessness, pain, anger, and internalized oppression, you are still not listening. So listen. Listen with your heart.”
Read it here (http://www.salon.com/2015/04/29/dear_white_facebook_friends_i_need_you_to_respect_what_black_america_is_feeling_right_now)
Q: “How can white media write about the oppression of black and brown communities without further exploiting those communities? I am not asking for a critique of language or a discussion on how the way frames might reflect an inherent bias or even an unconscious, underlying racism–those discussions have been had. I am concerned that I might be taking my white privilege for granted every time I write about the black/brown struggle for liberation. I’m worried that I am turning the human beings in my stories into consumable commodities, into soundbites and headlines, thus dehumanizing the people who are fighting for their lives.”
White media professionals have the obligation to give voices to communities of color to tell their stories. Often times in media, you’re right- the soundbites and headlines do steamroll the full story. Most notably recently is the image of Toya Graham, physically beating her son during the Baltimore protests. The media quickly made her a hero, and that image went viral almost instanteously. Graham’s actions were lauded as the best example of a parent during an exceptionally tense moment in the Baltimore direct actions by the majority of the (white) media. But only later did they give Graham the opportunity to tell her story, her fear of her son becoming the next Freddie Grey… or allow other parents within that community express their reactions to the direct actions of their teenagers. Instead, Graham was simply lauded for what the media read as her dissaproval of her son participating in rioting actions. It was presented as an approval or her aggressive reaction–while simultaneously shaming a communities’ aggressive reaction to police violence.
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The political goals of rioters in Baltimore are not unclear—just as they were not unclear when poor, Black people rioted in Ferguson last fall. When the free market, real estate, the elected government, the legal system have all shown you they are not going to protect you—in fact, that they are the sources of the greatest violence you face—then political action becomes about stopping the machine that is trying to kill you, even if only for a moment, getting the boot off your neck, even if it only allows you a second of air. This is exactly what blocking off streets, disrupting white consumerism, and destroying state property are designed to do. – BENJI HARTSalon.com
One of the interesting quick memes that has come up this week is about the Boston Tea Party. “They were burning their tea!” and the question of selective memory, and history as told by the victor. These are very interesting points. Sometimes when the system has oppressed you for so long one of the only options you have is to get the awareness of the system and to say, “I don’t care about my tea, I care about my life”.
When racial and economic oppression are tied together, what choices do you have?
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This “syllabus” is a great starting place if you are wanting to learn more about why what is happening in Baltimore is happening. This is a STARTING PLACE, and should keep you busy for awhile