I’m Not “Anti-White” But I am Anti-White Supremacy
Last week, I got a message from a reader who was concerned that “most” of my writing was “anti-White.” They asked if I hated White people or if I had any White friends. Troubled over the contents of my writing, they couldn’t shake the feeling that I must be motivated by hatred over anything else.
It’s such a problematic line of inquiry and reduction of my work, but it hints at why it is so important that people like me continue to resist White Supremacy in safe spaces like these.
First of all, it’s time to do some housekeeping. This web magazine is targeted at Black American millennials of color with a nerdy, artsy, and bourgie Black experience. We frequently use AAVE (African American Vernacular English). We also only cover topics which we deem important to this demographic.
This means that this site is not written with White folks or any other non-Black folks in mind. It isn’t specifically written for folks under 18 years old or over 35ish or folks outside of this country. That doesn’t mean that those folks can’t come here and enjoy themselves, but, when they start making demands of us, hijacking comment threads, or undermining the safety of this space for our target audience, we shut that mess down quickly.
You see, while this website is accessible publicly, we retain the right to limit, ban, or otherwise exclude certain voices from participation here, especially when they are harmful or violent to the very people this site is meant for. We own it. That’s our prerogative.
Point of fact, every website or product is targeted at a specific demographic. McDonald’s makes Happy Meals with children in mind just like Enterprise markets their rental cars to business people. Such is the nature of public consumption, branding, etc. We write to an audience we feel passionate about. We write about topics which pertain to other like-minded millennial Black people who are familiar with our American experience. And, us choosing not to write to anyone else doesn’t make us anti-those people. It makes us consistent, authentic, and, frankly, smart.
That gets me to my second point. Because my work exists in opposition to a White Supremacist structure created and maintained to destroy and annihilate me and other non-White folks, I may come off as “anti-White.” This is because I am pushing back against the systems which privilege whiteness (not against actual, individual White people) while simultaneously seeking to erase my experiences altogether. This site exists in direct response to the assimilation and cultural appropriation culture which is an intentional byproduct of White Supremacy. Therefore, the absence of whiteness here is not hatred, it is an act of necessary resistance.
Let me explain: In order to reproduce itself, White Supremacy must consume “others” and recreate them in ways which perpetuate and sustain the system which it has already gamed. This means that Black folks are often expected to fall in line with the existing structures of haves and have nots. We are socialized to hold whiteness in high esteem, even placing it above our own preservation. This notion is at the root of respectability politics. It animates so much of public life.
Therefore, this work that we do here is on the margins. It is the voice of the silenced. Audre Lorde explained that our silence would not protect us. Zora Neale Hurston said “If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it.” Time after time after time we are reminded that not speaking, not being seen, and not being heard only feeds the White Supremacist structure. ‘Round here, we just ain’t ’bout that life.
Third, this line of questioning once again centers whiteness, the very thing we seek to de-center here. If my academic and scholarly work can be seen as the theoretical part of me, this site is representative of my praxis. My work as a writer about Black womanhood at the intersection of politics, parenting, and pop culture is the physical and literary embodiment of my investigation of the marginalization of Black, Brown, and indigenous people in the United States. This means that in my work, whiteness must be de-centered. In order to center the varied and important experiences of people on the margins, we must actively demote whiteness from it’s perch so that other social groups may have access to liberation from the White Supremacist system.
Lastly, I find it very telling that the exclusion of White people from safe spaces like these is often seen as combative and hateful. Cisgender and, especially, transgender folk of color are systematically excluded from popular culture, public policy, employment, education, and public life daily, but that is rarely seen as hate. We are murdered by gun-wielding sociopaths who proclaim their hatred for folks of color, but that is always seen as some random “bad apple.” However, only when whiteness is de-centered – not necessarily harmed or eradicated – do many people who are invested in this system see it as hateful.
This is exactly why it is important that this space and others like it exist. By deprioritizing whiteness and prioritizing blackness, we are contributing to a narrative which undermines all the destruction White Supremacy has committed against indigenous, Black, and Brown people in this country. It is not about hate. It is about love. Loving blackness, loving brownness, loving queerness, loving transness, and loving all of these folks unconditionally. Loving folks on the margins is only seen as hating White people because they often don’t love us and can’t fathom a Universe where anyone would.
In closing, it is entirely possible to not hate White people yet hate White Supremacy. Hell, White people can (and sometimes do) hate White Supremacy without hating themselves. The point here is that conflating the work being done to dismantle oppressive systems is at best infantile and at worst intellectually lazy.
And, yes, I also have White friends.
Photo credit: Pixshark.com
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