Black Happy Birthday?

Question: Do black people sing a different version of “Happy Birthday”?

Response: Happy Birthday, is not a white people thing, folks of all races sing the song.

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New resource

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?"

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.

Fear is holding me back

Question: My fear of inadvertently being racist and hurting someone, and being on the receiving end of a PoC’s (justified) anger is hampering my ability to make friends and connect with PoC. How do I remedy this?

Response: As white folks, we will mess up. We say racist things, we have been socialized to be racist. Most of our fear is coming from white guilt. Guilt and fear hold us back from our authentic selves.

If someone calls you out on messed up stuff that you say or do, you need to process that, learn from it, and move on.  Keep learning, keep standing, keep loving folks.

A great article about this from Sincere T. Kirabo (@sinkirabo) can be found here on The Humanist.

Being a white person standing against racism is a long journey not a quick transformation.

Also, “What is White Guilt?” from Race Equality Tools might be helpful.

The impact of white cis-male privilege

Question: So, I am in a group called Dear White America. Someone posted an article saying that white men are the new terrorists. Though I question whether that is something actually new, I agreed with the premise of the article. The comments really bothered me. One woman was saying that white women are responsible for the violence of white men. I totally disagree with that! Though the privilege of benefitting from a relationship with a white male and the attendant privilege is clear, to say that white women are not simultaneously victimized by white male violence is just not borne out statistically, at all. When I brought this into the discussion, I was accused of being a typical white feminist deflecting responsibility for my privilege.  Even though I clearly stated that I see a distinction between systemic racism and personal racism. So my question is, how do I handle this? Because as of right now, I am not going to say that women bear responsibility for violence inflicted upon them by men! And though the metaphor is poor, that logic leads to saying that slaves were responsible for the violence inflicted on them by masters. No, I am not ignorant enough to think it’s exactly the same, but the logic employed leads to that conclusion. I am at a loss.

Response: So, I will start to respond to this question by saying, survivors never bare responsibility.

I think an article by Dick Bathrick and Gus Kaufman, Jr., Ph.D.  titled “Male Violence and Male Privilege” can help us a bit in this discussion. In it they talk about their research working with cis-male sexual abusers and the impact of male privilege. They say,

To understand how all men “benefit” from battering is to see something of the complicity we all share in the act. While many of us don’t rape or batter women, those of us in relationships with women find that our partners frequently make decisions based on how to avoid subjecting themselves to male violence: decisions like where and when to walk, whom to talk with and what to wear. These decisions are often powerfully influenced by whether or not a man (spouse, lover, friend) is available to accompany a woman on that walk. They have an unspoken agreement that she depends on a man to protect her from being raped or threatened by violent men. So men end up determining if women get to go out and where they go. And we don’t mind having that control. More than once, batterers in our program have noted the irony in their partners’ relying on them for protection from “those violent men out there.” This form of control never gets named. It’s classic male privilege, in all its invisibility, with all its power.

The learning I take from the article is that living in a society which privileges cis-men sets up situations where women and trans people are often not believed and thus at times may feel the desire to have a cis-man to offer protection, physical protection but also as a male witness, since maleness is privileged in our society.  Continue reading

Penis Size?

Q: Do white people really not have big dicks?!?!?

A:  So, I do a lot of sex education in my day-job and I assume that you are a troll and meant this as a joke to see if this site would really answer your troll question. However, this myth of racial groups having different penis sizes is so prevalent that I feel it is worth a couple minutes to answer your question.

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Can you recommend some reading or sources regarding current presidential candidates’ thoughts and positions relative to Black Lives Matter (both support and critiques of their platforms/ideas/etc.)?

Q: Can you recommend  some reading or sources regarding current presidential candidates’ thoughts and positions relative to Black Lives Matter (both support and critiques of their platforms/ideas/etc.)?

A: So, this is something you will just have to do on your own. This is not said to be dismissive of your question but, we are still over a year away from the election and the candidates are changing their platforms, positions, etc on an almost daily basis.

What we can do is offer some readings that folks are writing about the candidate pool, about policy and legislative changes.

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Talking to white friends about everyday racism

Q: What are useful guidelines for talking to white friends about everyday racism, when their first reaction is to shut me down for even suggesting that I and they might have said or done something racist?

A: I am sorry to say that there are no set “guidelines.” The key is to keep standing up. Everyday racism is often seen in microaggressions. Microaggressions are little pervasive things in our society that show that whiteness, christianity, able bodies, etc. are valued more than other identities.

The University of California describes microaggressions as, “the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership (from Diversity in the Classroom, UCLA Diversity & Faculty Development, 2014). The first step in addressing microaggressions is to recognize when a microaggression has occurred and what message it may be sending.”

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