Dear Well Meaning Liberals: How We’re Complicit In White Supremacy

Illustration created by @nataliepbui (Instagram).

WHEN YOU…

Make It About You

  • When someone brings to your attention that you were racist/homophobic/transphobic/anti-Black etc. and you then ask that person to tell you exactly what you did and why it hurt them, putting more labor on them to explain to you
  • Over apologizing and staying in the guilt and shame too long when you realize you messed up
  • Wanting attention or validation that you “got it right”
  • Pick apart the demands of the movement for your personal convenience or lack of understanding “Cops need to be held accountable, but defunding them isn’t going to do anything.”

Want Immediate Solutions

  • Moving in panic and reactiveness
  • Wanting to be absolved of guilt and shame immediately
  • Performative “wokeness” or “allyship” that doesn’t lead to long term commitment or sustainable actions
  • Rather than listening, always wanting step-by-steps on the how-to’s: “But how many Reparation payments need to be made?” “Will defunding the police solve racism by 2025?”

Tone Police

  • Feeling entitled to comfort in conversations around injustice when you are the one who doesn’t understand the injustice
  • Gaslighting anger and passion with statements like: “Why are you getting so angry/hostile/loud?” — “I can’t hear you when you’re yelling at me!” — “I’m just trying to have a conversation.” — “Well if you’re trying to create change, getting angry isn’t going to help.”
  • Using respectability politics to shame BIPOC who’s frustrations are valid
  • Emphasizing the way something is being communicated, rather than wanting to understand what is being communicated

Want to Be the Perfect Ally

  • Thinking that there is a destination of “perfection” in this process of racial justice
  • Doing nothing, and staying complicit, out of fear of getting it wrong
  • Shaming and distancing from other people of your race/communities who are growing in their understanding

Play Devil’s Advocate

  • Wanting others to do the intellectual labor and answer all your questions for you, for free
  • Wanting to agitate the person more than actually wanting change
  • Seeking for loopholes in an organized effort/campaign from Black Leaders or focusing on mistakes of a movement, rather than the progression
  • Shifting the conversation away from Black Lives to a “universal” or “true humanitarian” approach to instead of acknowledging the urgency to center the Black community and recognize the way white supremacy hurts ALL of us

Weaponize Your Education

  • Over intellectualizing
  • Thinking you’ve reached a place where no more work needs to be done so you probe and instigate (potentially triggering) conversations to show how much you know
  • Needing to understand “logically” and not allowing for an empathetic emotional response
  • Silencing real, lived experience and needing to be convinced with data and dates
  • Valuing your racial/social justice views over the work of another person, namely a Black person’s, just because they don’t have a degree in the field
  • Personally detaching yourself from the issues

Think in Scarcity

  • Thinking in a deficit mindset: “But what resources will we use?” “Where will the money for mental health services in schools come from?”
  • Dismissing radical or revolutionary thought as unrealistic or futile
  • Creating barriers to progress: “Who will stop crime?”
  • Refusal to engage in radical re-imagining and in an abundance mindset

Don’t Address Whiteness

  • Speaking about, or on behalf of Black people as a non-Black person, but don’t call out whiteness regularly
  • Only talking about the injustices that the Black community face but not the ways in which whiteness has caused the injustice
  • Commodifying or appropriating Blackness in an effort to distance yourself from whiteness
  • Feeling angry towards the Black community as a NBPOC about not knowing where our oppression matters in this conversation and not at white supremacy

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WOC owned and founded Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Training & Consultion Company. Visit www.shiftingculture.co.